Time for Part II of our Four Part Wellness Series ... Already! How time flies and often with it, so does our anxiety, our sleeplessness, our irritability and our hope of finding some way to get off this merry-go-round that's beginning to feel just a bit too much as though it's spinning out of control. We must admit there are times when we’d all like to yell “Somebody stop the music and let me off!" But an unattended to, stress filled existence just keeps on spinning.
Life has an uncanny ability to pick us up and take us along for the ride. A ride unfortunately, that we never intended to take. If we're driven to achieve, we may find that even with all the best intentions in the world, without balance, we can get swept along by the TWISTED DEFINITION of what the world we live in dictates, as the picture of SUCCESS. With the all encompassing influences of Hollywood surrounding us at every turn and the ideals of what the “Joneses” next door have to say on the matter, it’s no wonder we don’t all have stress-induced heart attacks by the age of 50!
So, wanting to be successful in our careers, with our family life, our acquisitions and our inner desire to keep moving UP as we are “told” we should do, our good intentions can leave us joyless, tired, ‘stressed’ and emotionally all dried up. Passionless, we keep striving for more, whatever our more may be. The more we achieve the more we acquire and the more we acquire the more stressed about our STUFF we become. The more STUFF WE HAVE the more we have to work to keep it. The harder we work, the more stressed we become and the more stuff we continue to buy to fill up the new home that we’ve afforded to house it. Once we’ve acquired a larger home to house it, we have to hire other people to help us take care of it all; the house, the stuff and us of course because now, we have no time at all. No time to cook or clean or RELAX!
Ultimately, unless we are grounded in a balanced approach to life and the TRUE MEANING OF SUCCESS, before we know it, our STUFF begins to control us and we begin to visit the doctor a little more. Not much at first, but in time and with age, our bodies will suffer the consequences of never stopping to smell the roses our gardener has planted for us. As I am writing, I am literally aware of my body tensing as these words are being formed in my spirit, falling from my inner being, to my hands and onto the keyboard ( I know this story, it’s all too familiar to me). In this picture of SUCCESS, around and around and around we go, until we just can’t take it anymore.
Often this is when many become complacent and just assume that this is life now that we’re all grown up. Ah, heck no! But a life riddled with stress and left unchecked leads to all kinds of emotional upheaval, depression and physical disease as we saw last week. Abuse of substances and food are often used as Band Aids in the hopes of curing a cancer that Band-Aids can’t fix. The cancer is called an UNBALANCED LIFE and STRESS IS ITS “ILL WILLED CHILD!"
Now, before you start yelling at me for coming off so judgmental here about the desire to achieve, working feverishly to do so, enjoying beautiful things and wanting to excel further, I’d have to say HOLD ON THERE ... I'm not judging this ... am a part of this adventure and I AGREE that there's NOTHING wrong with these desires! EVER MET ME? If you did you would know that I really enjoy my little sports car. I think Chuck, the retired gentleman that takes care of our yard, is brilliant to talk to and I so enjoy our trips to Hawaii! Trust me when I say, I’m not judging and if I start to, the finger would have to be pointed in my direction first. I have been so guilty. In fact, how is it ya think, that I am so acutely aware of this scenario? OH, I have been WAY OUT OF BALANCE and I’ve worked hard to keep it in check. It really takes dedicating oneself to consistent ‘mental and spiritual training’ to remain balanced, but it can be done and it so pays off.
There are actually many things we can do to remain centered and to remind ourselves that the THINGS we’ve been blessed with are just that … things. A good question I try to remember to ask myself daily is 'Do I have things, or do my things have me?' Put in the proper perspective, things in and of themselves can be a blessing. However, considering the world in which we live, I find that I must pull myself back to the CENTER daily, it’s not a one time thing. There is one technique that I try to do daily that helps to pull me back to being grounded, while also helping me to focus on the One who Created me, with this acute desire to achieve. It works. This little dance is a lifelong affair but it brings much peace and fulfillment and I’ll never stop doing it. Doing What? AH HA!
One of the things we can all do to bring us back to what is important, to what matters, to what we are THANKFUL FOR … Oh you’re gonna love this... JOURNALING! I kid you not. If I’m lying I’m dying … and I’m so living in the present that nothing can make me give THIS UP!
As you know, your assignment for Part I was to buy a journal that you were drawn to. Did you? If not, run out later and yank one off the shelf of your favorite book store. Ah heck, Go To TARGET. They have a bunch to choose from. What do I mean by drawn to? Well, on the front of the one I’m using right now for example, is a quote that I just love and I think that we well established on Monday that I am a bit of a quote junky. It reads, “Life is not measured by the number of "breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away!
That “drew me to it," so that’s the one that I bought (this time anyway).
Not only were you supposed to buy it, but you were also supposed to find a place in your home where you will have your quiet time. The place where you can retreat and be PRESENT. Yes, I once had little ones. At one time I ran my own home day care business so trust me when I tell you … you can always find a place to steal 10 minutes when absolutely necessary. I know one lady who uses her bathroom. Don’t laugh, it works. When that door is locked, the kids just let her be!
Today’s assignment is to get a timer. An old fashioned egg timer will do, or your cool ‘smart phone’ will work just the same. Set it for ten minutes and get settled.
Have your journal open and with pen in hand , hit the timer and put it behind your chair. Don’t look at it again until it goes off. If there is a clock in the room, turn it around or remove it. Just practice BEING … for ten minutes! Once you've conquered that … you can WRITE!
I don’t want to give you a template. Not today anyway. For today, I just want you to take a deep breath and as you exhale, let the words “Thank you” fall from your lips. Do it a few times if you need, to help you get settled and centered. IF nothing comes, that’s OK. IF you only write the words that you spoke, “Thank You," and that’s all that comes at first … that’s enough. What I want you to learn this week is just practicing the discipline (and trust me, it is one) … of being still. Of centering yourself and on focusing on being grateful for all that comes to your mind when you do. IF the timer goes off and you actually find yourself still writing … STOP! Times up. I want you ‘WANTING’ to come to this place. IF the timer goes off and the page simply says “THANK YOU," you’re also done. The key here is that in journaling, there is no right or wrong. No quotas. No agendas. No guilt for not “getting it right." It is what it is.
It’s a time to be still, be thankful and to reflect with paper and pen in hand. Do it each day. Whatever time of day you can…there is no RIGHT TIME FOR ALL OF US … putting a demand on that would make this a job instead of what it is … a pleasure and privilege. I know you want more, but that’s all you need for now. I’ll give you more guidance next time. Until then, be still, be present and be thankful.
I only can write about what I know and living out of balance, well this is something of which I know! How to improve on that and to live life being much more present … this I also know. Do I always get it right … Oh Pa-Lease! Nobody does and if they say they do, well, there you go!
OH and one last thing.
When you’re in the room … THE BLACKBERRY ISN’T!
Until Part III…