Are you living or being lived? Going within is an often missed key to successful living. Without knowing what really matters to us, without the clarity that comes from self-knowledge, without the peace of knowing our actions are in harmony with who we are deep down, we often find ourselves flitting from action to action. Our focus centers on the "doing" of our lives and not the "being" of our lives.
In our world today, we seem to measure the quality and efficiency of many things by their speed. Computers, microwave ovens, one-hour photo processing, and pain relievers that promise fast, fast relief. We eat fast food. We opt for the 5-minute news digest. We've even changed the spelling of the word quick to kwik - apparently to spell it faster.
Slow is often associated with old, outdated, or aggravating (remember the last time you found yourself behind someone actually driving the speed limit in the left lane?) It seems the only time many of us stop to smell the roses is when we light up the aromatherapy candle we rushed to the mall to buy to help combat our stress.
How then can we stem the ever-quickening pace of our busy lives while still maintaining a healthy balance between where we want to be in life and how fast we are trying to get there?
As we embarked on our one year trip to "see America" we had strong ambitions as to what to see and where to be at various stages of our trip. The first few weeks were very stressful, because we kept putting ourselves under pressure to achieve the goals we had set and this produced a feeling of being overwhelmed.
(For details please visit: www.CoachKarl.com/road_tour.html )
The more overwhelmed we feel the less well are we likely to deal with the problem. Often we get into a state of mind in which we are convinced that nothing will help. Once you start being a victim you adopt a role of helplessness in which you can do nothing to get yourself out. Remember, there is no knight in shining armor to rescue you. It is your situation, and you, more than anyone else, have responsibility for changing it.
Over time we stopped the frantic doing and started the artful being. We operated with intentions instead of goals. We changed our attitude and changed our way of travel from planning to flowing and just being in the moment. Only in this very moment do you have your largest potential and the choices you make right here and now will define how your future unfolds.
Most people are vibrating back and forth between guilt of the past and fear of the future and are therefore seldom in the present. But in the moment lies a very valuable gift, that is why it is called the present. It is the gift of connecting with ourselves and with a higher power of source that provides peace, clarity, simplicity and serenity that can only be found in the here an now.
Connecting with ourselves and with a higher power (regardless of your affiliation or what you call that higher power) can transform your life. Your ability to recognize that the answers are all within, coupled with your ability to trust those answers, can move you from feeling like a victim to claiming the power to create your life.
I have coached thousands of people and most of my clients are fully aware of the concepts described above. In today's Information Age most people have acquired a large amount of book smarts. The issue is that more isn't always better and many are struggling to figure out which of the memorized concepts to chose and focus on. After a faint hearted try they give up and move on to the next fade.
My clients use me to support them to stay focused and actually implement the proper approach for their specific situation until the issue is resolved and we move on to the next level. By now you might be asking what are those simple and proven concepts that can help you come back into the moment? Here are some of my favorites:
Follow your breathing
This is something that you can do anywhere, anytime. You can do this with your eyes open or closed. In less than a minute, you can be in a calm, centered space. All you have to do is start paying attention to your breathing. That's it! I'm not clear why it works, but an automatic response to actually focusing on your breathing is for your breathing -- and you -- to slow down. Try it now. Two long deep breaths that you really pay attention to usually does the trick. If you tend to race through life, it might take 3. I've never seen it take more than that!
Stay in the moment
Back in my corporate executive days my mind would be racing 100 miles per hour ahead into the future as to what the day would bring and my heart was pounding away at a similar pace too. Not the way you want to start the day while taking a shower! I started to force myself to stay in the moment. The way I did it was to become a TV reporter and start explaining to myself what I was seeing and doing. For example: "I am opening the lid of the green shampoo bottle and pouring about one teaspoon of shampoo into my hand. Now I am closing the shampoo bottle and ..."
Do not get caught in the trap of thinking about all the other things that will need doing when you finish what you are doing at that moment. We finish each task much more quickly and easily if we focus solely on it, instead of at the same time worrying about what else we need to do, about the situation in general, and about whose fault it all is.
Listen to something soothing
Listen to classical music or even better listen to the Holosync CD's. Really listen. Follow the music and allow yourself to move with it. This will work with any music, but if the goal is to refresh and revitalize your inner spirit, classical music works best. Try Pachelbel's 'Canon' or Albinoni's 'Adagio.' However for a life changing and sustainable impact you might want to use the Holosync program from the Center Pointe Institute. My clients, my family and I have been utilizing this program for many years with absolutely fantastic results. For more information visit www.CenterPointe.com and/or read the book "Thresholds of the Mind" by Bill Harris.
Sit by the water or under a tree
Just sit. Watch the ebb and flow or movement of your body of water. This works just as well with fountains as it does next to the ocean or a lake, with or without the fishing rod. At night I put a bowl of fresh clear tap water on my nightstand. Trees contain large amounts of water flowing through the roots, trunk, branches and leaves. Sit with your back right up against the tree. Let yourself really feel the power of the tree. Get in touch with the root system and feel the connection to the earth. Powerful energy here.
Turn off all electric appliances. This includes the TV, radio, computer and video games, anything that takes your attention away from going within. If you're a noise junkie, this may be difficult the first couple of times, but stick with it. Pretend you're living in another period of time, one that always fascinated you. They led rich, full lives without being bombarded with all that input. Candlelight immediately puts us in a quiet mood. It is a great signal that it's time to slow down and relax. If you absolutely just can't sit still and reflect for a while, find an inspiring object to focus on. This can be a work of art, the flame of a candle, anything that you find beauty and simplicity in. Just keep your attention on it and 'really' notice it. Follow its lines, curved or straight. Stare at its form and color until you can truly feel it. One way to turn off all appliances and reduce the negative impact of electro-smog is to flip the circuit breaker on the RV hookup post.
Get your priority straight
Take time to list all the tasks on which you spend time and decide which ones are not essential. Your first impulse will be that every one of them is absolutely essential. Move past that to decide which tasks are not. There will probably be some that you decided to do because that was the ideal way to do it. Remember that every task serves an end result. In most work situations it is the result that must be achieved, not the process. The process can often be shortened without damage to the result. How much of the pressure you are feeling really comes from outside, and how much is actually from you? Decide if there is anything that can be delegated, or that more fairly belongs to someone else's work load. Do not just dump it on them, but discuss with those involved how work may be redistributed more fairly. Keep in mind that work loads are often cyclical. The fact that you are rushed off your feet this week does not mean the situation is permanent. What can you legitimately put aside to catch up on when things slow down a bit? This is NOT the same thing as procrastinating.
Take your breaks
Five minutes away from the situation will do far more to clear your head and your attitude than the work you would achieve in that five minutes if you did not leave your desk. Lunch-breaks exist not just so that we can eat, but so that we may take a mental break. Put something in your office or work situation to remind you of pleasant things and take you out of your frantic mind-set. Read or listen to something that will inspire you or bring you peace. When you leave work, leave your work behind. Do not let your work problems rent space in your head during the time when you are not supposed to be working. Some people find it even helps to develop a mental ritual, a metaphorical shaking of the dust from one's feet, somewhere between leaving work and getting home. I know of one counselor who, as she drives across a bridge, mentally tells her clients good-bye. As she drives back the next morning she greets them again.
Remind yourself why
Maybe you've got a project that really interested you when you started it, yet you now find it unimportant. If your busyness is created by a handful of projects that you just don't seem to get around to, stop and look for the source of your malaise. Are you really committed to what you're doing or is it simply something you believe you have to do? Has your situation now become something different from what it was? Do you still choose it? If not, start thinking of making a change. If you choose to stay, remember that you are there by choice, which must mean that in some way the positives still outweigh the negatives. Try to focus on the positives. Go on a rampage of appreciation and get really excited about all the good stuff that is in your life but you just do not see anymore.
No is a complete sentence
If you tend to automatically say "yes" to requests made of you, you're likely to end up with a chronic case of busyness. Certainly, the activities you say "yes" to may enrich your life or make it interesting. Unless you say "yes" because YOU want to, however, you're living for someone else's agenda. "No" is a great tonic for yes-induced busyness. "No" can help you set boundaries and establish your own priorities. Start a gentle practice of saying "no" to some of the requests that come into your life and see if some of your busyness begins to disappear. At times keeping busy is our excuse for not handling something else in our lives. Notice if you're avoiding a conversation with your spouse by working long hours, or managing to get out of attending a family gathering by being tied up or on the go. While issues do sometimes resolve themselves without much effort on our part, using busyness to sidestep them is a cop-out, and a temporary remedy at best. Take action to resolve those nagging issues and give up the busyness excuse at the same time.
Stop being a hero
When you rely solely on yourself to be the doer of all things, busyness is almost sure to be part of your life. While you may be a Jill of all trades or a modern-day superman, scattering your attention tends to dilute your effectiveness and may leave you worn out. If you have high expectations of yourself, it's likely that you overload your plate with responsibilities, and leave yourself susceptible to the busyness thing that's going around. Or perhaps you tend to rescue people by doing their work for them or offer yourself and your services to everyone. Whatever your reasons, taking on too much responsibility may set you up for a nasty case of busyness and even an accompanying bout of martyrdom.
Going within is an often missed key to successful living. Without knowing what really matters to us, without the clarity that comes from self-knowledge, without the peace of knowing our actions are in harmony with who we are deep down, we often find ourselves flitting from action to action. Our focus centers on the "doing" of our lives and not the "being" of our lives. You are the creator of your own reality and have the power to change it by shifting your attitude from chasing wants on the outside to fulfilling needs on the inside. The choice as always is yours and yours only.
Your business, career and life success is my passion!
Coach Karl, MBA
Phone: (361) 549-3790