Tag Archives: awareness acceptance action

Baby-stepping with your Stuff

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I had a recent session with a writer who was feeling down….the inkwell of imagination dried up….feeling unaccomplished.

She needed to go to her files, her drawers, her closets to pull out all her printed drafts of all the work she’d done and leave them out for a while to “see” her work.

Gratifying, validating for a time, seeing all the paper piled high, she then felt a need to “see” further – She called me in and we began discerning the drafts – we separated – 1st play: version 1-8, 1st screenplay versions 1-6, etc.

At this point, she began to feel ready to purge the old drafts….a feeling of completion took over the need to see her work. In order to move on, she now needed the clarity of an empty space…a new beginning.

This process of interacting with her drafts was part of her artistic process – She was not sure if she was “done” with her plays yet —

Without throwing them out, the exercise of taking inventory re-positioned her. With clarity, she was in a new space to make decisions.

She stood in a place of readiness to be open to the next “direction” form the muse/god/ psyche….

There’s a notion in feng shui – If you’re feeling stuck with your stuff, move 20 objects…..just shift them slightly – move one pile from the left corner of your desk to the right, shift the angle of objects on a mantle piece, move the soap dish to a shelf. Shake up the energy of your environment. Sometimes it’s enough to shift your internal landscape so you can “see” what’s next

Baby steps are effective. Remember when you were learning to walk? You’ve come a long way, baby. Keep stepping.

Overwhelmed by your day?

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I often advocate to clients they plan out their day. It asserts ourselves as the creator, rather than the slave to our circumstances.

Set a clear intention of purpose, then schedule the actions that support that purpose with a responsibility to estimating accurately how much time you’ll need for these actions.

 Life will happen. Circumstances will assert themselves — an unexpected phone call, a traffic jam, a mistake in an appointment time — brings a need to shift your plans. That sense of purpose for your day can help you remain steady, as you recalibrate and recommit to your intention.

And sometimes, even with or circumstances handled, we find internal obstacles to living our purpose in a day. We need to open to something bigger than ourselves to guide us to our purpose and allow our creativity to to find the tangible actions to support that purpose.

I love this quote from artist, Jen Gray. Practicing spiritual time management is sometimes just what’s needed to cut through the overwhelm of deadlines, obligations, conflicts, vagueness, lack of motivation, or procrastination.

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“…the only thing i had to be concerned with was
doing the next single thing that would align myself
with love and spirit.”
jen gray

If you find yourself on a rainy day, whether it’s external or internal weather, ask yourself, “What is the one single thing I could do now that would align myself with love and spirit?”

If you can go outside and be in nature, when you ask the question, see if it doesn’t deepen the response you get back.

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Trust the answer, even if you can’t see beyond the next action. Sometimes we baby-step our way with faith back into clarity.

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.

Compassionate Workplace #2: Declutter- It’s not just for Oprah!

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Often it’s the “getting started” that’s the hardest barrier to cross in organizing. I love hearing how different people ease there way into the process…

the yoga rebel

It appears that Oprah has made decluttering her mission in every Spring. And why not? It’s a great thing.

photo-5I have discovered (rather too late) that my productivity is directly related to how clean my desk is. (Surprise!)

I think what’s important is not not my realization but why. My productivity equals to my creativity. When I am not being productive, I am not creating anything. I’m not producing anything new, fun, useful or loving. What’s also important is that when I’m not feeling creative, it’s because I often feel anxious. Not all the time. But certainly a lot of the times. I think about unpaid bills, Emails I have not replied, issues I have not dealt with, taxes I have not sorted out etc etc. Cluttering is a way of avoiding and numbing. There are certain things I don’t want to deal with so I pile them up…

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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

Hidden Dreams

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The Gift of Desperation March 2013

by Billy Sparkle – reprinted with permission

I just finished watching 127 Hours, the movie starring James Franco wherein he plays Aaron Ralston – a man who got stuck between a rock and a hard place… literally.

Now if you haven’t seen the movie you may want to skip this article until you do because I’m about to spoil the ending.  The movie chronicles a five-day journey during which Aaron fell down a narrow opening between two walls after some rocks loosened causing him to slip.  One of these rocks, a small boulder, wedged his arm between itself and the wall.  After being stuck there for five days, in a remarkable display of courage and commitment, he freed himself by cutting off his arm.

In order to free himself and go on with his life, he was willing to cut off his arm.

Would you be willing to cut off your arm to save your life?

A friend just sent me a text message saying that life is NOT the opposite of death.  BIRTH is the opposite of DEATH.  So what, then, is the opposite of LIFE?

I believe the opposite of life is NOT living our Dreams.

While there are many ways a person can get stuck, the worst kind of stuck is not knowing one is stuck.  At least, when you know you’re stuck, you’re ‘armed’ with the possibility of doing something about it.  If you’re stuck and you don’t even know it, it would never occur to you to do anything to get yourself unstuck, much less something as remarkable as cutting off your arm.

A woman I once met had died in a car accident.  She lost all vital signs, was pronounced dead, and ended up in the city morgue.  But then a remarkable thing happened: she woke up.  Right there lying on the table in the morgue, she woke up and returned to her life.  She once told me that during the moments before she died, as she contemplated her life, she didn’t regret a single thing she had done during her life.  What she regretted were all the things she had wanted to do but didn’t.

I sometimes hear a person who admits to having a problem but doesn’t do anything about it because they aren’t taking it seriously.  Yet when that same person recognizes the grave nature of their problem, they tend to *wake up* enabling them to perform tremendous feats that weren’t possible prior to their awakening (like Aaron Ralston cutting off his arm).  It’s as though the ability to perform the activity was there all along, but until they took it seriously, they couldn’t pull it off.  The gift of desperation, it seems, is that it provides us with the courage to take the actions that previously were ‘un-take-able.’

Which leaves me with a different question: are we not taking the actions that will fulfill our Goals and Dreams because we aren’t taking them seriously?

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Perhaps we haven’t experienced our capacity to be extraordinary because we’ve never had a GOAL that was worth cutting our arm off for.  Maybe our problem hasn’t been that we don’t know how (or aren’t able) to fulfill our goals; perhaps our problem is that we haven’t created any goals that were LARGE enough to be WORTHY of our effort.

Maybe that’s the problem.  And maybe the only reason we haven’t done anything about that particular problem is that we haven’t been taking it seriously. Maybe before this moment, we haven’t even been aware of it.  That’s okay though, because we’re aware of it now.  And now that we’re aware, we are empowered to take some actions.  By getting present to the value of our Dreams, the way Aaron (while stuck) got present to the value of his life, we empower ourselves to do what they require. This, I believe, is the GIFT of desperation: it compels us to do the things we never could have done so we can have the experiences we’ve always wanted to have.

Which brings me back to my earlier question:  What, then, is the opposite of LIFE?  I believe that the opposite of LIFE is living one’s life without going after one’s Dreams, or in the words of Thoreau, “living a life of quiet desperation.”  To be truly alive, one must be willing to end that silence, embrace one’s Dreams, and use that desperation as the gift it actually is: a driving force that compels one to act in accordance with one’s Dreams.  Even if that includes cutting off one’s arm.

Coach Billy works with highly committed men & women to produce unprecedented results in their businesses and their lives.  Learn more at www.billysparkle.com or contact Billy directly at billy@billysparkle.com


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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