Here is a simple truth: while rushing through our daily struggles, we can often end up spending a lot of effort heading towards the wrong direction, wasting time and taking actions that we will ultimately regret. When this happens, we are not exactly making time count.
This often comes about because we are not giving ourselves the necessary time to reflect on things. Taking time out to think and/or just be is vastly undervalued nowadays as the pressure to get more done seems constant. The irony is that achieving whilst feeling tired and stressed is as doable as looking at two things at once.
Rest is essential.
“A habit of finding pleasure in thought rather than action is a safeguard against unwisdom, a means of preserving serenity in misfortune and peace of mind among worries.’’
– Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness
Does your life, as it is, brings you joy?
Each of us experiences stress, frustration, and occasional confusion. We all know what it feels like to be flat out tired. This is part of being human. But, sometimes the relentless cycle of goal pursuit, constant efforting, heavy workload, and endless chasing seems soulless and is pointless.
- Do you hardly ever feel on top of things even though you’re working hard?
- Is your mind full of worries and awake thinking when it’s time to sleep?
- Does your life resemble a hamster running around on a wheel?
- Maybe things feel a bit stuck in the mud?
- And, do you wish you could break out of these patterns?
That is why taking time out is important.
Every once in a while you should make space for taking stock, considering what truly matters and reflecting on how you can reorganize your approach to life so things flow more. Clarity, focus, organisation, a sense of calm and a collected self, are the perfect antidote to overwhelm and, at times despair.
Today’s busy lifestyles demand it.
Positive Psychology and Neuroscience of Brilliance and Flow
What science tells us is that true brilliance is actually effortless. Work on flow from positive psychology shows that those who perform in an inspired state do not effort. Why? When one is in flow, the mind, heart, body, as well as the whole spirit work together. In fact, the brain works less hard, as flow is a mental state reminiscent of being in a trance whilst also having your mind flooded with a feel-good cocktail of powerful neurochemicals. So how do we get there?
Many believe that pressure of deadlines forces productivity. And they are right! Fear demands we rise up to the challenge to avoid failure.
In reality, studies in creativity and peak performance show that we are far more inspired, creative and resourceful when we’re not working in fear mode. Healthy, prosperous and effective lives cannot be created by simply working harder, sleeping less and feeling drained so we can avoid the deeper fear of not being and/or having enough. Under such conditions my clients exhibit lack of self-love and even obvious signs of self-harm. It is a recipe for burnout. Their bodies protest, they miss sleep and our 1:1 session shows their results are far from ideal. Time to rest, self-care and introspect is vital.
Hot tip – the magic of 1 minute
If you have yet to attempt meditation, I highly recommend that you do. Whether you are a naturally serene individual or a headless chicken, meditation offers many benefits such as reduced stress, emotional stability, better concentration, and memory. But many people still find it difficult to give it a try. So here’s something simpler. 1min of simply breathing. Everyone has a minute.
- Close your eyes or soften your focus looking ahead.
- Relax your muscles by allowing your body to ease into itself.
- Direct your attention to your breath, becoming aware of how it travels from the outside in and back out.
- Notice what happens to your body as you breathe.
- Aim for 7-10 deep, slow breaths.
This simple practice can clear your mind, soften your heart and muscles as more oxygen gets delivered into your body and profoundly change how you feel. A new space is made within you just by aligning yourself with your breath.
Meditation practice has been shown in many research cases to help combat mental illnesses, most notably anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. As we learn to return to a calmer, more centered self, being able to deal with our emotions from a more resourceful place can create a myriad of positive changes in our life. How we relate to others and also how we relate to ourselves shifts from frantic, stressed and all over the place towards gentler, calmer and more soothing. It is undeniable that in this state we are more effective. As I like to say in my workshops, the main difference between me and you and the likes of Buddha, Jesus or the Dalai Lama is that they have found a way to be integrated more often. Neurobiology of early attachment which focuses on how the brain develops in early years confirms this view. It shows us that feeling grounded in safety and loving attention creates the most ideal conditions for learning, promotes healing and helps us and all living species thrive.
Finding a New Perspective
Humans are creatures of habits. We’re often too busy to examine things with depth and not fall prey to habitual thinking and faulty assumptions. It is easy to lose perspective by getting caught up in the bubble of a routine, fire-fighting and a fast-paced lifestyle. This is why I’m a big advocate for regular journal practice and making time for reflection.
During my retreats, we adopt a series of perspectives that help pinpoint areas of imbalance as well as true sources of joy and fulfillment. We learn to align for power, resilience, and wisdom. We help the mind find its right place within the larger family of the heart, the body and the larger spirit of the individual. And, we teach how to facilitate healthy dialogue across these parts so that no one is denied, omitted or left behind.
Join one of our events to see why sometimes the best way to move forward in life is to pause and see what’s really happening and why. Learn to work with your thoughts and feelings from a grounded, wise and composed center. Feel yourself become aligned so that your nervous system becomes trained in this new embodied way of being. And leave ready to apply the power of your integrated self towards creating what you truly want.
My retreats help ensure that what’s moving forward is not some fractal – but your integrated whole.
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