Category Archives: Mind

Take a Break, for Goodness Sake

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“I learned … that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.”   -Brenda Ueland
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Many of us don’t know HOW to take breaks, and some of us, have a compulsion to avoid breaks all together. This is a sign that something is off — our relationship to using time to “do” is actually unhealthy. Here are some ways we can “fill” our time that are out of alignment with our well-being:

  • Shoulds– a compelling sense of obligation to someone or something outside ourselves, often motivated by fear rather than genuine need or desire.
  • Time sink holes – draining situations and commitments that don’t nourish or reward us.
  • Over commitment – not being able to say “No”,  or deriving self-worth and definition by how much one can do.
  • Distractions – time spent motivated by avoidance of what’s important.
  • Preoccupations, Obsessions or Active Resentment – planning retaliation, complaining, gossiping.
  • Non-Selectivity – wanting everything, now. Refusing to prioritize.
  • Pushing the Edge/One More-Thing-Itis: –  and getting a high off how much can be squeezed into a day and beating the clock: almost missing deadlines, important appointments, obligations to children, etc.

These behaviors can come from a poor sense of self-esteem and a need to prove oneself through accomplishment, or paradoxically, by sabotaging accomplishment.

Like may issues of esteem and worthiness, a spiritual approach can be an effective remedy.

 Here are a few ways to cultivate a healing relationship to time:

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  • Set aside a half hour a day (use a timer) for spiritual reflection – meditation, a walk in nature, reading spiritual literature, journaling.
  • Put yourself first in your day – Start your day by asking: “What do I absolutely need today to enjoy a peaceful, joyous time? What’s my self-care bottom-line? To whom and how do I effectively communicate my needs to today? What support do I have to stay on track? – Then make sure you take action on your answers.
  • One-in/One-out rule for commitments – make it a standard, for every new commitment you take on, you must complete or let go of a current one of equal scope and time commitment first.
  • Practice a pause before saying “Yes”. – When asked to do something you’re not sure you want to do – Say, “I’d love to think about this. Let me do that tonight, an I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”
  • Make a list of lovely ways you’d like to take a break – I.e., putting on headphones and dancing around the room, making a cup of tea, walking in a nearby park, etc. Then, wen you find yourself in unhealthy distraction territory, allow yourself to take a legitimate break doing something that’s truly restorative.
  • Get enough sleep, nutrition, exercise and water – self care is SO important for our brains to make good decisions and our ability to focus – suss out if any of these could be the root of your non productivity.
  • Work with a professional organizer to help set up structures for your time, get accountability and ongoing support.
  • For negative thoughts, obsessions, and resentments, or any other compulsive, destructive time-filling  – consider the support of a therapist or Clutters Anonymous, Underearners Anonymous or Workaholics Anonymous. Many people have found they get tremendous support in changing these patterns with the support of a group.
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changepeale“I have always believed that change is possible and I know without doubt that the desire to change has to be intrinsically motivated. Yielding to the pressure from outside sources may produce some evidence of change for a limited period of time, but the brain has to follow the heart on this for change to be lasting. And “by the heart” here I mean that inner desire, passion, and conviction to make things different; there has to be a compelling reason to do the work of change.” Lynne Johnson, CPO-CD, COC.

Thoughts on Change

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One way to go through the day is to focus exclusively on what we have to get done. Another is to pay attention to what’s motivating the doing.

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“How Would Love Respond in This Moment?

Every single moment we have the choice between the thought systems of Love or fear. Our focus today is to pay attention to what we are choosing all through the day. Love brings peace, gentleness and happiness; fear brings tension, conflict and efforting. If we don’t pay attention to where our mind is, we can easily be led by the fearful thought system of the ego. But we can always choose differently.

Our prayer today is for help in strengthening our awareness of Love’s Answer in each moment. Love will lead us to the happy joining with Love and release us from the guilt of judgment. We choose freedom from judgment today. We listen to Love’s healing guidance. And we give thanks that what we ask for we receive. As we are willing to let go of the past, we receive the gift of Love that fits perfectly in the present moment.”

© 2013, Pathways of Light. www.pathwaysoflight.org

 

Spiritual Time Management

Be Your Own Muse

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When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Happily I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
from sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

–William Shakespeare Sonnet XXIX

Shakespeare’s sonnets are punctuated by un-named, often remote-seeming lovers who supply the narrator strength, courage and depression-lifting qualities. The muses, in Greek mythology, were the divine daughters of Zeus who presided over the arts. Writers and and artists of all stripes credit the muses with the inspiration needed to create. “Musing”on their beauty, perfection and ethereal un-attainability is credited in lifting artists to a higher realm of creation, flow and access to strength, love, articulation and expression.

We are all creators, narrators of our own lives. We are creating what exists moment to moment. I believe there are divine principles, that when followed allow us to experience the higher realms of creativity, flow, articulation and expression. This elevation is available to us at all times. Often, we look outside ourselves for sources of strength and inspiration, but what if we woke up every morning deciding, “we’re” the one we’ve been waiting for? What if we choose to find love by BEING love, choose to find inspiration by BEING inspiration? We can elevate ourselves to that higher realm of creative living we all aspire to, and become the muse, not only for ourselves, but for all we meet.

PFA124418 Lassitude, 1910 (oil on canvas) by Godward, John William (1861-1922)
oil on canvas
105.5×60
Private Collection
© Bonhams, London, UK
English, out of copyright

Living by Control…

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…has not worked for me.

There is a difference between the order we strive for in our environments that allows us to accomplish what we intend, and the control we desire to make sure things go our way.

I’ve found my desire to control comes from a place of not wanting to look bad,fear of being overtaken by circumstances or overpowered by other people. Living by control has had the paradoxical effect of my life becoming unmanageable and out of control.

If you can conceive, as I believe, that we author our own lives, which means we are responsible for manifesting all around, and you don’t like what you see around you, ask, “What am I not accepting within?”

For me, bringing love and shifting the focus inward, even if scary, has been a much more fruitful practice than trying to control what going on around me —even if it’s just my own clutter. It may mean there’s some inner housekeeping that needs to be done: an apology to someone, a re-commitment to my word, a letting go of a belief that’s holding me back, or a stepping up to esteem- able actions. Forgiveness and love are crucial. This is the inner organizing that matters most. When I shift, my world tends to shift. The outer always reflects the inner. Who will I be in all this chaos?

fall inlove