Saturday, December 30, 2017

10-days of silence

On Wednesday, January 17, I will arrive in Jesup, Georgia for a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation course.

You read that right. Ten days of silence. I turn over my phone at the door. There will be 59 other people there that I cannot speak to, including a roommate that I do not know. I cannot bring books or anything to write. (Complete rules here.)

I'm lucky to not be going into this completely blind. My boss has taken this course three times. I've also been practicing meditation for roughly five years now and have done a lot of research. I feel like I know what I'm getting into (even if I'm still worried and overwhelmed by the task).

Meditation for me is a way to calm the "monkey mind," the spiraling, non-stop chatter that happens in my head. Not only is it exhausting, but it raises your cortisol to an unhealthy, constant level. I don't like the person I am when I'm dealing with that level of anxiety. I don't like how I treat people and I want to be better.

I've seen the benefits of meditation on my life. I've been able to stop taking my anxiety medication for the first time in 8 years. I see stressful situation unfold around me, but I don't ride the wave of emotion that I used to. I'm able to respond, instead of react.

But I could be better. I struggle to stay present in the moment. My reliance on my smartphone scares me. I see myself withdrawing in large groups. I'm hoping this course helps me continue my journey.

If you would like resources: I started with Susan Piver's newsletter once a week, graduated to Calm and now use a mix of Tara Brach podcasts and the 10% Happier App.

If you want to learn more about meditation, I highly suggest Dan Harris' book 10% Happier. Like the great journalist he is, he did all the research on meditation for you and his journey has given me the insight and courage to begin and continue.

Friday, June 5, 2015

You hold the future.

There's a few things I have to do on every trip to New Orleans: shop at Fleurty Girl, Marie Laveau's and all around the Quarter; treat myself to a hurricane and a hang grenade (or maybe a few); and have my palm read in front of St. Louis Cathedral.

Usually, it's a comical mix of generic truths, terrible advice and things that are just dead wrong. On our trip over Memorial Day, my reading really struck home.

  • My work is (finally) going to calm down in July.
  • I need to stop worrying. I'll always have money. I'll never need a hand out. And I have a great body. (Why, thank you.)
  • I'm a great budgeter but could cut back more. So true.
  • I'm stubborn. Steve is 10x more stubborn.
  • I take after my mom, but I got my dad's brains.
  • I'm going to have a baby in a 1.5 years. When I told her we didn't want kids, she said birth control doesn't really work well in my family. (Yikes!)
The whole trip was a much needed escape for me and Steve. It's so nice to have a home away from home in this majestic city.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Mixed Media 5/21/15

  • Politics: Any student of history can tell you the rate at which Americans are changing their minds about major social issues is unprecedented. I love the graphical retelling of change on issues.
  • Books: Creativity, Inc. is the smartest business book I've ever read. Some lessons felt like pure therapy.
  • Music: My family is obsessed with Bob Seger and this article is just fantastic. Creating Bob Seger's Night Moves
  • I love this list of things blogger Jamie Meares knows about herself on her birthday. Part of growing up is learning to accept the part of you that you can't change and love the parts of you that you should change but don't want to. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mixed Media 4/17/15

  • TV: The cable industry shake-up is really getting underway with more TV channel announcing subscription models that are independent of cable companies. HBO is reaching out to consumers who have tweeted that they would pay for HBO. And they're going deep. Some of the tweets are from 2012. 
  • Commerce: There is definitely a trend toward marketplaces that promote the goods of survivors. I've seen a couple on Shark Tank. Another example is To the Market
  • Girl Power: A few body image quotes to cheer us all up. 
  • Mental Health: Therapy gets a bad wrap but Kristen Bell* and Dax Shepherd have been in therapy since they started dating as a proactive measure. Appreciate their effort to break the stereotype. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mixed Media 3/30/15

  • Books: I'm almost ashamed to share because I should have read this years ago. All The King's Men is all the things I love. Southern, politics, scandal. Fantastic read.
  • TV: I should be giddy because baseball is almost here. The truth is the Braves are going to be awful this year and it's pretty hard to get excited. Now, Tom Hart, the best Braves personality around, is leaving the team, too. It's too much to handle. 
  • Blogs: So perhaps there is a bit of snark in me after all. For hilarious take on celebrity kids, you have to read Suri's Burn Book
  • Videos: There's been a lotta news lately about people filming/taking pictures of themselves doing really stupid things. For a while, I've said the biggest thing my generation has to learn is that just because you can videotape something, doesn't mean you should. Also, this
Obsessed with something new and cool? Let's chat. @WhitneyGibbs

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mixed Media 3/26/15

  • Blogs: Trying to revive the blog a bit with a format I really like from my favorite style blog Capitol Hill Style. Her "Workday Reading" format has become a favorite of mine, a great punch list on her thoughts, style suggestions and current events. I always feel better when I write. Maybe this will lead to a better cadence.
  • Twitter: I attended a great Social Media Club Atlanta meeting last night with great insight from companies across the southeast. As could be expected, the tweet stream was very active. Shout out to my boss for knocking one of the park.
  • Podcasts: If you haven't listened to Jonathon Fields' The Good Life Project you are missing out on a weekly dose of insight, intelligence and inspiration. I've been listening for probably two years and recommend it so often to family and friends. This interview with Gretchen Rubin on habits is by far my favorite. I'm an obliger and an abstainer, which does not make me crazy.
  • TV: Are you watching Kimmy Schmidt?! The new Tina Fey show on Netflix has me hooked. Stop what you're doing right now and watch. Report back. 
  • Apps: Layout is pretty cool.
  • The News: My dad lives in a small sleepy town of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Imagine my shock when I see them trending on Facebook yesterday. Yikes.
Obsessed with something new and cool? Let's chat. @WhitneyGibbs

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kimberly-Clark's Push for Women in Leadership

I enjoyed this article about the tactics Kimberly-Clark employed to make their senior leadership look more like their customers, make them women. Through generous maternity leave, flex schedules and a later start time, the company increased their staff retention rates and have seen an increase in female directors.

While these changes were enacted to gain more female leaders, I think we can all agree that it would improve work life for both genders, whether or not you have kids. I'm very blessed with a flexible team environment that values hard work and achievement over hours spent in house. Because of that, we probably spend more time in house than we intend, because we enjoy our team and our time there.