Posted in Discover Your Purpose, Healthy Living, Take Time to Reflect

Out of Time: Rushing Through Life

Is time on your side?

Do you feel like this: too much to do, too many places to be, too little time to do it all?

On the job, in school, at home, even in retirement, we are increasingly imprisoned by the perception that time is a scarce and limited resource. We rush from one commitment or activity to another and believe that we haven’t a minute to spare. We yearn for more time, yet we often feel anxious and guilty when idle.

Until we change our relationship to time, our lives will continue to speed away from us—at enormous cost to our health and to direct experience of ourselves and the world around us. “There is no issue, no aspect of human life, that exceeds this in importance,” says Jacob Needleman, author of Time and the Soul. “The destruction of time is literally the destruction of life.”

When we learn to shift time, our relationships become more rewarding, our time spent alone is richer, our aging is more satisfying, our work is more fruitful and our stress and anxiety are less paralyzing, or even nonexistent. To allow time to “breathe” more in your life, try some or all of the following suggestions from Stephan Rechtschaffen, author of Timeshifting, as well as others. See if your reservoir of time starts to refill.

  • Pause. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Han suggests taking a deep breath before answering the phone. Other conscious pauses throughout the day—a moment of silence before each meal, sitting in the car a few minutes before entering the house after work—help us to “come home” to ourselves.
  • Carve out idle time alone. Greek philosopher Aristotle noted that “nature requires us not only to be able to work well but also to idle well.” Just because you’re not doing anything doesn’t mean that nothing’s getting done! Don’t be tempted to “fill” every moment with a task. When you find a moment try concentrating on taking deep breaths to let go of the anxiety of being ‘idle’.
  • Live as fully as possible in the present moment. When we leave behind thoughts of the past or future, we can experience time more peacefully, says Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. Release the past and surrender that you cannot know the future, but you can live in the present.
  • Toss your schedule whenever you can. Even better, schedule spontaneous time and then surprise yourself. Have you driven by a park on the way to or from work? Why not stop and take a stroll around it?
  • Examine underlying reasons for your busyness. What emotions would you experience if you weren’t so busy? What emotions are you trying to run from? Emotional work is challenging but essential if we are to stop running from our hearts.
  • Play. Whether you sing, play the ukulele, paint, shake your bootie—whatever—play helps us to step outside of ordinary time. Try something you always wanted to do, play an instrument, buy a dance video and dance just for fun!
  • Create time retreats. Once a year or so, choose to do something for a week or more that allows you to shift into a different rhythm—something where you can just “be” without the need for doing anything. Don’t be that person that won’t take their vacation time, saving it until they were forced to use it as if it were a punishment. If you can’t take a week, try an art class, a museum visit, a lecture at the local university something that can expand your horizons and give you a new perspective.
  • Spend time in nature. We can’t help but slow down in nature’s unhurried pace. Watching a soaring bird or admiring a flower garden can seem to stretch a minute into an hour. Try carrying a sketchbook and take a few moments to sketch outdoors.

We can learn to experience time more purposefully and meaningfully—so that it’s not an enemy robbing us of the joy of life. We needn’t be at time’s mercy. When we change our awareness, we can actually experience the gifts of time.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Posted in Discover Your Purpose, Do What You Love

Are you a risk-taker? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does every decision involve endless debates with the ‘committee’ inside your head?
  • Do you accept less than what you should because you’re afraid to speak up?
  • Do you have difficulty making emotional commitments to others? 
  • Do you think if I don’t commit I can’t be disappointed or disappoint others?
  • Do you make up excuses that stop you from taking advantage of opportunities for self-improvement?
  • Does fear of disapproval keep you from doing what you’d really like to do?

A “yes” answer to these questions indicates a reluctance to take risks, which may mean you tend to play it safe and reject change.

Consider this: to fulfill your potential, to discover your real self and live an authentic life, you must take control, don’t let your fear of change keep you trapped in a cage.  The cage is the absence of change and while it may appear to be security, it’s not personally rewarding if you feel trapped.  The only genuine security lies in stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a risk on change.

Learn how I overcame physical pain and changed my life to follow my passion for creating beautiful kimono robes!

Posted in Discover Your Purpose, Do What You Love, Take Time to Reflect

The Courage to be Authentic

What could be riskier than diving out of an airplane or climbing a glacier-covered peak or accelerating a race car into a curve at the Indy 500?  While these examples are pulse raising and risk filled, what about life decisions that we face almost daily? For me it was quitting a secure, well-paying job to start a business, 3 Graces Design Studio.  For another person, it could be deciding to leave a marriage after 18 years or reporting that the company they work for is endangering the environment or people’s lives.

At first glance, psychological risks that summon us to put our personal values and beliefs on the line may ultimately feel more dangerous than those of physical challenges. Yet these fundamental challenges that we face time and again are the essential sources of growth as individuals. Each time we take a risk that contributes to our personal growth or enhances our self-esteem or enriches our lives, we make the choice to stretch ourselves, knowing there are no guarantees and chancing possible failure.

Growth-producing risks generally fall into three categories.

Self-Improvement Risks

These are the risks you take when you want to get ahead, learn something new or make a distant dream a reality. You take on the venture with hopes of enriching your life. Maybe you want to change careers, or take ukulele lessons, or learn a language. On one side of the risk is the person you are and, on the other, the person you want to become.

Commitment Risks

Commitment risks have emotional stakes whether you pledge yourself to a person or a relationship or to a cause, a career, or a value. Joseph Ilardo, author of Risk-Taking for Personal Growth, advises that if you avoid making emotional commitments, you all but guarantee that personal emotional growth will be stunted.

Self-Disclosure Risks

Communication risks fall into the category of self-disclosure. Anytime you tell someone how you really feel you’re taking the chance of self-disclosure. When you open up to others and reveal who you really are, how you feel and what you want and need, you make yourself vulnerable. It is impossible to be assertive without doing so.

All risks carry with them the possibility of failure. Often you have to surrender being in your ‘comfort zone’ before any real benefits are realized.  Routines may have to change; the familiar may have to be released.  What are the benefits then, why take a risk? Challenging yourself is the key to personal growth and development.  It also allows you to let go of expectations or roles that don’t fit who you are or who you want to be. Tomorrow we will post a quiz for you to ask yourself some questions about your level of risk taking.


Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications