Life Has A Crush On You

Falling in love with Life one day at a time…

Tag: techniques

Time Affluence – Developing a Practice of Experiencing Awe

Drew picked up on it this morning.

“Are you ok?… Are you happy?”

I had to face the question with honesty. In truth, the underlying current of my being really wasn’t happy. It was muddled. Overwhelmed. Being beaten up by my own self-criticism. By looking at myself honestly, I knew exactly what he felt- I had lost a sense of myself.

We took some time to describe what exactly it was – why wasn’t I happy. I went through a laundry list of tasks at work and we talked of chunking it down and making it manageable. And, as always, when you continue to talk and really look at the issue, the superficial reasons began to peel away and the heart of the issue emerged.

“I haven’t written.” I finally realized a deeper issue. “I haven’t written because I don’t feel connected to God.”

And that’s the truth. The laundry list of tasks has become a tool of the ego to keep me from living in the present, from dwelling in awe, from trusting in someone and something greater than myself.

Could I flip this around? Could I look to the directives of “my tasks” as coming from the Divine, even if they are presented in a secular world?

The truth is that I knew when I accepted and took this job that it was aligned with a Divine plan. There were signs and perfections scattered throughout the days. Now that it has revved up, I seem to have forgotten the tremendously powerful perspective that it is Divinely Perfect. I seemed to have forgotten how to remain alert, assiduous and diligent – and happy, carefree, and joyous.

The solution, for today, suggested by Drew was to have a happy day. A day dedicated to finding and living in that balance again. I couldn’t agree with him more.

But the tool that really helped me begin this day was an article posted by a friend entitled, “How to make time expand”. Everything within me knew that this was really the issue. It wasn’t the work, the tasks, the job, my overwhelm (I am excited to finally be doing so many things that I love to do) – it’s that I had lost my sense of having abundant time.

When I was intensely practicing yoga last year, I remember the message being delivered that there was more than enough time to do everything. There was more than enough time to accomplish your dreams and your goals. To love those that you love. To transform your mind, body and spirit to be its best. There was so much freedom in this idea. I swam in it. I drank it up. And remarkably, by living in this place of abundant time, I accomplished more. I was more productive, happy, aligned than ever before. The article calls this “time affluence”, a recent term that directly corrects the other aspect of “time famine”. It is rare when you are looking for a term, a phrase to encapsulate what you are struggling with, and then it comes in the most unusual channels to you, but that is exactly what happen today.

Time affluence, and what creates it, is being studied now and I look forward to hearing their research and trying it in practice. But the two things they suggest to create more “time affluence” in the article are giving time away and experiencing awe.  Not only do we have the satisfaction of helping others, of feeling useful and productive when we give our time away to others, but there is also a sense of definitive ending. The tasks we see for ourselves can drag on forever, and this creates more time famine than time affluence.

Then the idea of experiencing more awe is fascinating. Awe brings us to the present moment. Awe creates a sense of time loss – expanding time to be eons within a moment. We lose ourselves (including our “to-do” lists) and we feel happy. But can we do that without going to a waterfall, or meeting a baby for the first time?

Yes, we can. It’s all a matter of perspective, and stopping to see what really is around and within you.

When looking at this concept of awe, this morning, I realize the real reason I write. I write because each day there are hidden pockets of awe waiting to be dwelled in, discovered, played with and lived. I experience loss of time when I write because here I am truly in awe. I am in awe of the workings and perfection around me. I am in awe of the emotions I experience, the thoughts that I have, the ideas I am exposed to.  Writing is my practice of experiencing awe.

I had been pushing writing away for the past few weeks, so no wonder I have been feeling pressed for time and not connected with God. The short 20 minutes I take to write on something remarkable, on some Divine aspect of life that is around me seeps into all other aspects of life. By expanding time just once a day, in one way – I can expand it in everything.  Writing takes me out of living in the future and puts me immediately engaging with the present. This, the present moment, is the only dwelling place of endless possibilities, love, grace and joy.

I can see now that I am not a writer. I am a discoverer. I am an observer. I am a lover. I write because I cannot help but to share what I discover and observe. I write because this is my processing tool. Writing enables me to play and interact with the Divine that is all around me and within me. It is in writing,  in these moments of expanse, that I catch the most wonderful, awe-inspiring, True Life I can ever imagine. And it is in writing that I hope to share, to give this to you, too.

 

 

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Monday Morning Prep

If you have the luxury, I suggest time and time again, that Monday be your prep day. Perhaps you can only take an hour, or maybe even a morning, but one of the most productive things you can do is to start off the day, and the week, by looking, cleaning and preparing yourself and work space for what is to come.

It is easy sometimes to get bogged down in the to-dos right away. It is too common to jump right in and be in reaction to all that is being asked of you. Yet, I can tell the difference in my productivity, mood and effectiveness, when I pause, I direct my attention to my mission and purpose of work, and then look to the details. Everything that comes up, every “to-do” that rushes into your mind, can have their space on a piece of paper – just not your mental or emotional self. You owe it to yourself and to whatever and whomever you are working for, to start, even if metaphorically, from this place of purpose.

Set your weekly goals. Visualize your week and the best it could possibly be. Breathe deeply as you enter into the ocean of needs and abundance that lays before you.

You will never be given a task, where you also aren’t given the tools to accomplish it.

But first, you must go to your toolkit, take each one out and make sure they are ready and prepped for the job. You must look at your self and your life and design your week and your days to fit your strengths and needs. While it sounds indulgent to us who are “pleasers”, consistently focused on the needs around us, it may be the only way to truly do our job to the best of our ability.

It’s riskier to be yourself but it’s the only way you’ll win

The truth is that the only chance you have at winning anything- especially the the desires of your heart- is by being fully and totally yourself. The gift you can give to the world is a gift because no one else can bring it to creation. Its development, its birth, its distribution is dependent upon nothing but you being you.
The hiccup in this overly simple process is that for you to be you is actually one of the riskiest things we feel we can do. The ego argues that if we are fully ourselves and the world rejects it then we are worthless. It even goes to the extreme of having us think of the death of our dreams and inspiration. It’s ironic that the ego’s argument involves us hoarding our greatest gifts, instead of sharing them. Yet the reality is, as we have discussed before, that the only chance of something surviving and thriving is giving it away. While the ego argues the risks of giving ourselves completely, while it whispers strongly that vulnerability is weakness, Life knows the Truth which is directly opposite. If you aren’t fully yourself, if your gifts to the world aren’t all that you are, then the gifts back from Life won’t be exact matches for your soul. Life gives in direct proportion to your own giving. The risk is not found in being and sharing ourselves fully. The risk lies in not doing so.

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Mind the Gap

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An essential aspect, I have found, to moving into the space where you want to be from where you are now is minding the gap between the two. If you aren’t living it yet then there is space between you and your dream. The question is how can you use your mind and emotions, along with your resources, to close the gap.

I have realized this today as I have begun mentally preparing to buckle down and write a proposal for a book I am planning on writing. As I sit with this, finding the place where I can write genuinely, I see that there is space between me and a successful writing career. This is a powerful recognition since for the first time I am not shying away from this. I am not beating myself up or becoming depressed at the thought I’m not there yet. No, I acknowledge the gap and respect it. It is not harmful or impenetrable. It’s just there. As a soul and human I have every tool to cross this divide in my decisions right now and in the days to come.

My technique to do this, which has helped in both love and career numerous times before is to make a list of the ideal. What is the “too good to be true”. What does it look, taste, sound, feel like? What are the actions a person in that place takes? What are the choices they make? The mindset they have and therefore the emotional well being they display in life? Essentially, I start at the end. What does it feel like an look like when I have attained this goal?

I make this list as exhaustive as possible. I am a writer so I write. But some people like pictures or music or foods that trigger this. Perhaps perfumes trigger it too. All can be used most effectively.

Then I write a list of where I am now in this place. Without being too judgmental or unrealistic, I’m simply honest with myself.

Almost immediately I can see the difference between the lists. This is the gap.

The beauty then is that you can clearly see where you can change. As Mastin Kipp put it eloquently @thedailylove “Who do I have to become to attain this goal?”.

This might be the only question we ever have to ask ourselves as we embark on personal change. From this place we not only know what we need to do, but what and who we need to be. This is the only thing within our control and the key to lasting and meaningful achievement. So here I go, one more step into the gap.

20% Days!

There is a successful business practice that allows you to take 1/5 (or 20%) of your time to pursue what you want to pursue. This is complete and total autonomy, except for one typically requirements –  to show what project you worked on in a meeting later (yet even the meeting later might be fun perhaps serving cake and beer!). Other than that it is you, creating.

This is a beautiful thing.

What they have found that this 20% time is actually vital to the production and advancement of companies – and it makes employees happy!

I am not one to learn something and not try it out in my own life. Miraculously, in the past few weeks, I have allowed myself a “20% day” (usually on these glorious Wednesdays) and it has proven to be tremendously useful in producing not only results at work, but within my own positive psychology. No one (before this post) knew I was taking it. I still showed up to work. I still answered emails and attacked what was absolutely necessary, but… if something came up, if I wanted to look into something, if lunch lingered longer… This is my 20% day! Pursue it!

What I have found is twofold.

1. I still get just as much done at work, except am able to “check” the stress at the door, since I don’t actually have to “do” anything (I have two more days to pursue that later).

2. Life supports this! What do I mean by that? In the past few weeks, as I have approached my Wednesday as a 20% day amazingly fun things have come my way – sushi making (“makin’ maki!”) parties come to my office  or free health screenings are given where I get to discuss and perform tests I would have done in my free time anyway.

What I find is that I am happy. I get through this transitional day pleased since I have given myself permission to do and be as I hope, not as I am expected to be. This is incredibly freeing and productive.

So can you take a 20% day (or perhaps apply it to 1/5 of your workday if you don’t want to take a whole day)? Can you give yourself permission to be “on” but “off” for a certain allotted amount of time? Can you pursue what you want to pursue joyously, without the restraints of guilt?

I hope so!

Your greatest weapon against stress

Next time you feel stress, realize the choices you have.

The only thing that is forever in our control is how we react to things, and therefore the subsequent meanings we give things.

When things start to feel overwhelming. Stop. Breath. Recognize that you have the choice to proactively do something, instead of re-actively fret.

One of the best cures for stress is action. It doesn’t matter if you initially think the action you are taking is too small. Everyone can only eat, do, think, be so much at one time. Get the momentum going. This is not only the movement of accomplishment and completion, but the movement of proactively.

Being proactive is your greatest weapon. This will make all the difference.

Don’t dare use stress as an excuse to not do something. Never let it be your disability. Instead, make it the fire that burns away all that in unnecessary – including, perhaps most importantly, the stress itself.

May the overwhelming situation be a Divinely Ordained lesson designed for you to claim your own power and to put that into action.

Your Only Problem

You may think you have a myriad of problems, all unrelated, all weighing you down, bumming you out, holding you back.

Yet you only have one problem…

Your one problem is a lack of connection with the Divine.

You address this one problem, all others will fall away of their own weight.

Nurture, address, give time to this Solution. Seek the Light. Seek the Love. Be the Light. Be the Love.

You can seek the solution to this one problem in this very moment.

How do you get rid of darkness?

You turn on the light. 

You don’t grab a bat and swing at it.

You don’t wish it wasn’t there.

You don’t complain about it.

You don’t worry about it.

You turn on the light. 

Wherever you might feel, see or be in darkness, turn on the light. Flip the switch of faith. Welcome in the Divine.

The darkness will cease and can never exist in that space as long as you are bringing in the Light.

To Do More, First Do Less

It has occurred to me that this is one of my favorite topics to write about. Most likely it is because it is “creating space” is my actual job right now, not planning events, or being a wife, or being a friend, sister, writer, yogini…The real work is carving out space in your mind, heart, body, physical space, schedule, so that each of those roles has not only time to do what is tasked to them, but to roll around in the grass, to muse and dwell in the space of what it means to be in that role.

It is counter-intuitive to think that to do more, you first has to do less, yet this is the truth I have found.

As more responsibilities and projects come to me, I find I have to first make space, to separate myself from the tasks and rolls and just be. Sure there is the tightening in the chest that says, “whoa… how are you going to do that too?” but that is exactly what the space addresses. I figure that I have a choice. I can be overwhelmed and controlled by the tight chest, or I can say “stop!”- to my mind, my body, my thoughts, my chest, my emotions and tell them to chill out. It is an interesting conversation I have with these parts of my physical and emotional body, but it’s vital. I usually then think expansive thoughts about  “how other people do it”. I think -“Oh, well! Imagine if you had a kid!” Then I think about the President of the country, or people who own 13 companies! Yea, I can address this new thing as my responsibility. I can handle this!

In addition to this self-talk, I have a few other methods that I would love to share, for you and as a nice reminder for myself as I continue to make way into being a more contributive, responsible, organized and joyous being!

* Start with the breath!

When the chest tightens or the head starts to ache, or perhaps you just feel tired at the thought of what you have to do, stop everything and breath deeply. You don’t have to know any breathing exercises, just count while you inhale, count while you exhale. Add a mantra or simply keep your focus on your breath. You are creating space physically, emotionally, schedully, mentally! (For those of us who have had the habit of eating when stressed, breathing deeply will help you get the same effect that food does without the regret and tummy ache later)

*Organize something!

I know, but there  are so many other things to do! I don’t care. You will be a more effective, efficient, useful and happy person if you clean up the pile you have been “meaning” to get to. This now is your priority. Clean it up! it will help you gain momentum, as well as, give you space away from your “to-do” list. This time is actually a time your sub and super conscious will order your other tasks, making them easier and manageable when you get to them.

* Move your body!

I am not talking something strenuous, if you don’t want (kill the “shoulds” that are controlling you!). But get outside. Walk. Stretch. Do yoga. Laugh. While you might think you don’t “have time” to do something like that, it is actually your priority! It creates space for you, on a cellular, spiritual, mental and emotional level.

With love,

Elizabeth

Approaching the To Do list with Peace

 

I find it hard sometimes to separate myself from my “to-do”list.

 

Perhaps there are some of you out there too, that go to sleep thinking of it, then wake up and quickly jot down the new things you are thinking of. There comes a time too, after weeks of the list getting longer, of the to-dos coming in hoards that I lose myself, enslaved by the daunting to do list.

 

The question is where is the line, or what is it about the “to-do” list that has the power to kill joy and/or your peace. What is it that pushes you into a land of unbalance, when it is suppose to be a tool to find balance and ease. How can I remain master and not slave to the list?

 

I think the answer lies in semantics. We are not human “doings” we are human “beings”. It is not a matter of how long or what is on your list, it is about who the person is that approaches the list. What is the mindset, the psyche, the heart of the human being. Essentially – where are you anchored?

 

I lose my power, my strength, my joy, when my identity and worth is tied up with what I “do” in a day – especially all the things I think I “should” be doing (oh that dreaded word!). My real worth is who am I being? What state of heart and mind do I approach the day with? What confidence in Life do I move from? Am I linked to my direct Power, Life, as I approach the list or any task I am presented with?

 

While there are things to be done, can it be your Soul that greets them dancing?

 

While there are emails and phone calls and planning and doing, can you objectively see them from the temple that you dwell within in your expansive and universal heart?

 

Can you create, look, approach a list with an indescribable peace emanating from your Soul, where you see it just as it is,words on paper.

 

Your true reminders don’t come from your notepads or phones. They come from within.

 

The true “doing” comes in the spaces that you leave in your schedule. The spaces in your “to-dos” and in your mind. For this is the space that the Divine has to come and manage all the details you might think are your responsibility.

 

No offense, but this is the Divine that arranges planets and tides and photosynthesis and birth.

Don’t you think it could manage the details of your day too?

Perhaps its time I turn over the reigns and greet the Divine in all the unknown it is shrouded in.