The Sticker Method: Creating a Habit of Practice

Available now from Etsy!

This fall I published my latest zine, The Sticker Method: Creating a Habit of Practice. This is a method for taking a lot of the stress that can come with being a learner/do-er out of our lives. I’ve developed the method over my lifetime as both a teacher and a student.

I am a user of The Sticker Method and one of my favorite aspects of it is that the method can be used for anything. If you’ve heard my music, seen my drawings, watched my skateboard videos, or if we’ve talked about developing a habit of going to the gym, then you’ve seen The Sticker Method in action.

What are you going to practice? I’d love to know. Drop me a note at jasonplaystunes@gmail.com.

Evening Session at Fargo Skateboarding

Fargo Skateboarding January 2020 from Jason McInnes on Vimeo.

 

It was a packed session tonight at Fargo Skateboarding. These photos are from later in the evening when it was starting to slow down. Something interesting happened that I wasn’t anticipating. Because I was so full I had to make the most of my opportunities. When I went to drop in for the first time (my first drop in since spring 2019), I just had to do it. I didn’t have time to talk myself out of it. I found that I could just GO and I didn’t need to psych myself up nearly as much. Cool!

This was my first long session since I broke my elbow. It felt a little strange to be the only one in full protective gear, but I’ve decided that I’d rather look a little out of character and be safe, than look cool and either break something, or be too nervous to really skate.

Last year I dropped in 100 times, which was a big accomplishment because I was so scared. Today, I dropped in countless times, and I think I can kind of do it now, at least on the medium size half pipe.

Still trying to get my kick turns to be more compact. I don’t have video of it, but I can feel that I kind of bail out of a full 180 turn when I’m going fast, and end up doing two 90 degree turns. Just got to keep working.

Check out this video. I feel very accomplished!

(It’s hilarious to watch the video because it seems so slow, but when it is happening, it is terrifyingly fast!)

#workinprogress
#workandprogress

Tackling Marquette Mountain – First Snowboarding Lesson

Life has been so full of upheaval that I feel like I haven’t really been able to take advantage of the natural wonders I’m living among. I made an “artist date” with myself today to go snowboarding at Marquette Mountain. I’m REALLY missing skateboarding, and I figured that this might quench some of that thirst. It didn’t 🤷🏼‍♂️, but I still enjoyed the experience.

I am super sore! The first pic is from the top of Tyro, the “bunny hill”, which kicked my butt all day. The clouds are the beautiful scenery you see when your backside smashes into snow that a moderate speed. It’s just that the snow is harder than it appears. Ouch! I’m going to feel that one for at least a week.

Snowboarding is a more “all-around” physical activity than I had anticipated. It’s different than skiing because there are no poles to aid with keeping still and standing up after getting strapped into the board. My arms are exhausted from picking myself up from the ground, and my neck is sore from the two times I fell trying to figure out how to use the tow-rope. Hilarious!

The video is at the end of a lesson that I took. It’s supposed to be an “S” curve, but dang, that is difficult to do. I did it earlier, I just need to practice.

Then, I went to the bar for an après-snowboard of Two-Hearted Ale, which is on tap everywhere here. You could say I was relaxing, but really I was so exhausted I could barely get the money out of my wallet to pay for the beer. I could not move at all. You’ll notice . . . no coaster (why?).

No photo of the bottle of ibuprofen I bought, or the salt water bath I took the second I got home.

#workinprogress
#workandprogress

Stuff I Keep Track Of – Totals for 2019

I keep track of several things during the year.  Here are the final numbers.  A brief description of what these numbers mean and their relationship to last year follows.

The Chalkboards

I keep track of this stuff on a chalkboard.  In the past, I’ve used a HUGE chalkboard which took up most of one of the walls in my apartment.  Now, I’m couch surfing for the foreseeable future, so I’m using a much, much smaller chalkboard.

About 50% of what is on the board is inspired by Being Boss and they’re Chalk Board Method and podcast.  Check it out.

The Numbers

Drawing Days* = 303 days = 83% of possible days (a 32% increase from last year)

Workouts** = 170 days = 47% of possible days (4% decrease from last year)

Skateboarding Days*** = 56 = 15% of possible days (First year of data collection)

Some Background

Drawing Days – This was a HUGE increase over last year.  The feels great.  In particular, I was pushed forward in the last quarter of the month by a former student who had a concert when he reached 1,000 straight days of practicing his violin.  I’m currently on 74 straight days of drawing.

Workouts – This is the first thing I ever kept track of my workouts since November of 2014.  This year was really tough for two reasons; 1) I quit my job and moved out of state and 2) I broke my elbow in a skateboard accident.

The job quitting and moving things threw me off my gameplan in a major way that I was not expecting.  I just didn’t have the mental energy to get myself to the gym.  There was one month were I didn’t go to the gym almost at all.  But, I needed to find a way to steady my mind.  So, I started counting meditation sessions as “workouts.”  This is not a solution that I want to maintain for the long-term, but in the short term, I’m satisfied with this solution.

Another thing that made the workouts category interesting is that I broke my elbow on July 31.  My workouts, which we already in trouble, took a big hit with that.  I did go to physical therapy three times a week and I had about 12 exercises that I needed to do six times a day, so I did count each physical therapy day as a workout and each day I did my elbow exercises as a workout.  That really saved my totals in the fall.

Skateboarding Days – I was already well behind in my skateboarding goals for the year, but the broken elbow REALLY destroyed my yearly total.  I’m only been back on the board 3 times since it happened.

Now that I’ve moved to a part of the country with so much snow (Marquette, MI) I wonder how I can get those numbers back up.  There is a skate park here, but it’s covered by a 1 1/2 feet of snow at the moment and my understanding is that it will stay that way for the next three to four months.  I had an advantage in Chicago in that, while it may have been cold, in February I could usually find a tennis court or stretch of blacktop in Winnemac Park that didn’t have snow or ice on it.  In that way I could skate most of the winter.

Goals for 2020

Drawing Days – I will be very disappointed if I don’t make it 365 days this year.  I have expanded the range of “drawing” a little bit.  I’ve decided to include painting and what I’m going to call “intentional photography”.  That is photos that I take during an intentional trip to make art.  Not photography that I happen to take while I am doing something else.  Those can be art, too, but I want to make a discussion between the two so I don’t get lazy.

Goal – 365 days

Worksout Days – I’m not sure what to do about this yet.  I no longer belong to a gym, which is disappointing, but I’m still too unsettled by this move.  Hoping to get back to a gym, soon.  I don’t NEED a gym, but I find it very helpful to stay motivated.

Goal – 365 workouts with 100 of them needing me to go to a gym or some similar place

Stakeboarding Days – this is trashed right now.  My board is in storage and there is no indoor skateboard less that an 6-hour drive away.  I’m not sure what to do about that.

Goal – 24 days?  That’s one day a week, every week during the warm months.  I think that’s a good goal.  

 

* Drawing day = any day that I draw.  It can be for as little as 30 seconds.

** Workout day = any day that I workout.  It can include meditation, physical therapy or yoga.  As little as 30 counts

***Skateboarding = any day that I get on the board.  Time at the gym working specifically on balance, on a balance board or the flat part of a half-Bosu Ball counts as a skateboarding day.  In that way, a workout day and a skateboarding day can be the result of the same activity.

A New Understanding of Fear

“If you go ahead, if you keep on running, wherever you run you will meet danger and evil, for it drives you, it chooses your way.  You must choose. You must seek what seeks you. You must hunt the hunter.” – Ogion the mage to Geb from Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea

I have a new understanding of fear.  A new fear of mortality. It’s happened because of a few aspects of my life have come together over the past month or so

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Last week I was in the hospital for a prolonged bout of atrial fibrillation (a-fib); a heart condition I’ve had since I was about 16.  I have grown up with a-fib and I thought I knew how to manage it.  I was wrong. Basically, for 28 hours, my heart was beating at a pace like I was jogging the whole time.  I spent two nights in the hospital which was a new experience for me. I’d like to never go back. Now, I’m living with the fact that I could have an a-fib episode at any moment, and that if it did happen again, it could lead to a stroke, or it could damage my heart to be beating that quickly for that long.  Maybe I would end up back in the hospital.

In addition, about a month ago I went to spend the weekend at Fargo Skate Park in De Kalb, IL. for what I called “Skateboard Immersion Camp.”  I had two days of nothing to do but skate for eight hours a day. I was pushing myself way past the limits of my ability and While I was doing that I crashed A LOT.  Over and over and over.

It was what I was there to do. But then, after returning to Chicago, I kind of couldn’t skate for about a month. I had some busted up ribs. I was bloodied and bruised and my legs were weak from strained muscles that had never worked this hard.  

That was in late April.  I just got back on the board this week.

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I got on my board for the first time and I immediately stepped off.  I was scared. I had never been scared this scared. This 9 months of learning to skateboard I’ve had some falls, but never like I did at Fargo Skate park.  And, before my time in the hospital I had no idea what it would be like in the hospital. I had an attitude of, “Well, if I have to go to the hospital, then that’s life.  I’ll manage.”

Now, when I get on my board I think, “Now be careful.  You don’t want to end up with busted up ribs, struggling to breath, like you did after Fargo,” and “Be careful.  If you really hurt yourself you’re going back to the hospital. And you know what you think of that.”

It’s fear of pain.  Fear of missing work.  Fear of hospital bills.  Fear of looking foolish; of seeming reckless.  Now I know about the pain; when it hurts to take a breath, sneeze or get up from bed.  I know about being in the hospital, connected to a million tubes, unable to go to the bathroom without asking someone to help me, lying there alone, too much energy to sleep, but too tired to do much of thing else.  I do not want to go back.

The first time I got back on my board, I returned to the tennis court where I practice my drag stops and basic pushing, I actually had a small panic attack.  I couldn’t do it. My body was ready to skate but my mind wouldn’t allow it. I went home almost immediately.

It’s been four days since I’ve gotten back on my board.  I broke down and bought some new pads and I’ve been wearing my helmet more.  I’ve gone to the skatepark three times. I’ve working on my ollie, my drag stop and my kick turn to fakie.  I bit it hard for the first time since Fargo today; crashing as I was practicing my drag stop. The hesitation I was hoping to lose over the spring has actually gained power, but I’d dedicated.  I want to skate this thing.

I have a new fear.  I’m learning to hold it and be honest, “You are correct.  This is scary and things could go badly.” But, I’m not going to let that fear overtake me.  I’m going to learn to move past it.