Member Spotlight: Sue Skelton
By Leo Babauta
Sue Skelton is 57, and works 3 days a week as an IT technician in a secondary school in Cornwall, UK. Her husband of 31 years is a self-employed farmer and an electrical contractor, and they have two grown-up daughters.
I seem to have a lot of things going on in my life… visiting my Dad, my brother and my daughters, who all live about 300 miles away but all in different directions! designing and maintaining a local community website… being involved in a local renewable energy/sustainability group… reading and writing (but not talking)… keeping my house and garden nice… growing some of our own food in the garden… taking courses (the current one is about Writing Fiction)… walking for exercise and pleasure… visiting places of historic interest… I could go on! (Feel free to edit)
I joined Sea Change in January 2013, and have found all of the modules interesting though not all have led to new habits. Early on I established habits of exercise, meditation, and setting MITs most days to try and avoid procrastination. The ones I found more difficult were the non-practical ones involving mindfulness. Mindful productivity was good last month, but tossing my expectations into the ocean escaped me completely! Decluttering is progressing slowly. I’m quite good at simplifying things, but not so good with commitments and relationships. The daily gratitude journal that I started back in 2013 is excellent – I don’t do it every day now, but get back to it when I start to feel sorry for myself.
Before the program I was not exercising regularly, I had dabbled with meditation on several occasions but never established a habit. Procrastination was quite a feature in my life. But I was eating quite healthily, and I get up between 6.30 and 8am most days. My lifestyle might seem quite simple to some people, but to me it often seems far to complicated. As I said before, there is quite a lot going on all the time.
“Starting small” has been the best strategy without a doubt as it helps me to prevent procrastination over all the other changes that I want to make. For example, I still don’t really like the idea of exercising, but if I can get myself out of the door I really enjoy a good walk, or a session in the garden. 10 minutes of anything is do-able. Setting MITs is also a great strategy, helping me to focus on what is actually important and why.
Changes in routine make habits difficult to maintain. I don’t feel I can do my normal morning routine of floor exercises and meditation when I’m away from home, so I try to substitute other kinds of exercise, or a quiet few moments in the bathroom! I also shy away from the less tangible aspects such as self-compassion, and awareness of expectations. I feel it’s been useful to try these things out, but it’s hard to say whether they have become habits or not.
I don’t think I’ve made any big changes as a result of the program, but I do feel that I cope better with life in general. I’m also considering a couple of larger changes, like passing on the management of the community website to someone else, and maybe retiring from my part time job next year. Fear is still causing me to procrastinate.
I really like the Open discussions that Cat starts each month. A few of the same friends participate in most of them, while others drop in and out when it’s relevant to them. That way we get to exchange ideas with people we know and also have the benefit of hearing what new people think.
I started a couple of Groups when it seemed that there were a few people who wanted to try a challenge that I was interested in (like giving up alcohol for October – the members there really boosted my will-power!) Also I’m a member of Team Well-Being which has fallen out of use, and Spirit-Walkers, where I participate occasionally.