When I feel really strung out it’s usually because I’m doing TOO MUCH and not focusing on ANYTHING.
You know that feeling when you are pulled in every direction and instead of stopping to stand still for a moment, you take responsibility for EVERYTHING including Global Warming — which you totally created with all those backyard barbecues.
That’s usually when I get just a teeny bit sarcastic and say things – with a big sigh of course – like “Apparently I HAVE to do IT ALL around here.”
Only I don’t and I can’t and when I try I just get freaked out and spacey and I don’t do a good job anyhow. I’m being pushed and pulled by external circumstance and I’m trying to keep up.
The antidote is to stop. To slow it down a little bit and to live to deliberately. To notice what you are doing. To be conscious when you are doing it. And when you do this, you realize real quick that most of that stuff you’ve been doing, isn’t all that important.
Three Ways to Live Deliberately
1. Slow. It. Down. I have a bell that rings on my phone every hour. The chime is my reminder to slow down, and move my body. I can get so caught up in work at my desk, or so focused on “getting it all done” that I don’t even notice what I’m doing. So, I use an app to remind myself not to buy into that unconscious pattern. When the chime rings, wherever I am, I pause. Make a deliberate movement – mindfully walk to the coffee pot or stand up and stretch – and give a quick thanks for something I’m grateful for. Then I get back to it. The pause feels good and reminds me that my best work comes when I am conscious and aware.
2. Savor. When we are living by default it feels like we’ve been swept up in a moving crowd that nudges us toward a door we never wanted to go through. We just do what we think we ought to, pushed along by external influences — without giving them any thought. By the end of the day we are tired. We feel like we worked hard yet, have nothing to show for it. Instead, pause throughout the day to savor the little things.
Savoring helps you notice the amazing that is all around — a sleeping cat, a beautiful tree, the smell of a fresh soup in the kitchen — and that helps you tune in and be more deliberate with your actions.
3. Act with intention. When we set the intention for the experience we want to create, we more mindfully go about creating it. Set an intention for the day when you first wake up in the morning. I usually go to mood. I intend to have peaceful interactions, today. Or, I intend to be loving, or productive, or mindful as I go through the day.
Then, throughout the day, when unique circumstances arise, use other intentions to root you in the experience. Before a phone call, set the intention for the kind of communication or outcome you’d like to create. Before cooking dinner, set an intention. Do it before you pick your daughter up after school.
With deliberate action you’ll create a day that is satisfying and meaningful rather than one that is a flurry of frantic, stressful, mindless activity.