Dance At Your Own Pace

July 8, 2011
Do you listen to the beat of your own drum or feel you have to keep up with the activities of others?

File:Relaxing row in the park - - 1370417.jpgWhat did you do on July 4th? Did you have a big event with lots of friends, food and fireworks? Or did you spend it pretty much with yourself — as I mostly did — creating a blog post in your home office, taking breaks by reading a chapter of an enjoyable book, watering plants on your deck, and not feeling compelled to spend time with anyone else?

Of course, my husband was here for part of the day, but he went a hike I could not have kept up with, and the rest of the time he was napping or  playing computer games.

I was thinking of this when I came across a poem apparently written by a little girl with cancer in which she (or he) expresses the idea that you can miss an awfully lot of life if you aren’t paying attention to the little things, like “rain slapping on the ground or watching a butterfly’s flight.” Life is over far too soon.

But I would add that only you know whether you are going too fast or too slow.  Only you know whether a holiday spent very peaceably by yourself is just what you need, or whether you should push yourself to attend a picnic with lots of people you don’t know. Both have their own rewards.

You have often heard about someone “marching to the beat of his own drum.” Well, I think that we all have a drum with a rhythm just for us. If we pay attention and listen to the beat, we will know whether we need to slow down or speed up.

Some people prefer a jitterbug and others a waltz. Whatever dance you choose, make certain you will enjoy doing it.

As you read this poem, which is called Slow Dance, notice whether it speaks to you.

Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round
Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Do you run through each day on the fly
When you ask “How are you?”
do you hear the reply?

When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
running through your head?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow
And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
to call and say “Hi”?

You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift,
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

How does this poem resonate with you?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Today Anything Goes

September 12, 2010
What would you choose to do if you set aside a day to do nothing that was scheduled?

I am glad to report that I am almost recovered from the shingles that broke out on my behind in July. As I said, sitting in front of the computer wasn’t easy. However, I must confess that I took advantage of the situation in the hope that readers who came to the blog and learned of my situation wouldn’t expect too much from me. (Nothing like playing the “poor me” card to get out of work.)

Now, however, I’ve stretched out the recovery time as far as I dare and am feeling a bit guilty for not posting for more than a month.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting that I have decided to write today, since this is an “anything” day. That’s when I do anything I feel like doing, and nothing else. Used to call it a “nothing” day, but “anything” sounds a bit more positive and the results are the same. I wake up and nothing is planned. Interestingly, I often get more done than when I have scheduled chores.

And in case you’re interested, “anything” days are different than “something” days when I do plan activities in advance; but the rule there is that nothing I plan can have anything to do with “work.” Actually, I enjoy everything I do, but no matter what I call it, it’s nice to have a day when I don’t feel I have to pay attention to the usual to-do list. Free choice is a wonderful elixir.

Consequently, here I am writing in the blog even though it’s not on my list of things to do today — after all, today I don’t even have a to-do list. But getting this done feels good and that makes it worth my doing it.

When I sat down to write (it being easier to sit than it was a couple weeks ago), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. Did I really have something worth writing about that people would want to read? Then I thought about my reaction to other blogs and realize that I enjoy a wide variety of posts even though most of them probably wouldn’t win the best-post-of-the-day award. I just like discovering what other people are thinking and learning new ideas for making my life better.

So with this post I offer you the idea of an “anything day” because I suspect your calendar is filled with almost as many things to do as mine is. I suspect your health and mental stamina will improve if you allow one day (or more) a week for a little serendipity. Having choice is a wonderful elixir.

Since this blog is about “enriching your life” and “enriching your relationships,” ask yourself this question:

  • How would giving myself a day in which I have nothing planned improve my relationships?

Would love to hear what you think about anything days, something days, and even half-and-half days when you have a little of something planned together with nothing specific.

Photo from Wikimedia


Did you enjoy this post?
Here are a some related posts from this blog, and articles from the Support4Change website:


Do You Need Advice on Relieving Stress?

June 13, 2010
How much do you need to know about reducing stress before you take the advice you already know is right?

Music soothes the soulYesterday I wrote about my sense of feeling pressured to do more than I had time to do. Of course, I know that I am not alone in this do-more-than-you-have-to-do mode.

I know this because I’ve just read an email from Marci Shimoff, author of the best-selling book Happiness for No Reason. The subject line of the email says, “Overworked? Overwhelmed? Over it? Let’s talk.” In the email she told about a free 75 minutes tele-call for “21st century super women who are all so tired of working so hard and never feeling like it’s enough.” The call is being created by her and two other successful women and will be tomorrow.

They decided to start a “modern-day revolution” called the Summer of Self Love and ask, “Why are we all so overwhelmed and overworked and what can you do about it?” If you don’t know the answer to that question, I suggest you listen to the live call, or the recording.

However, I already know the answer and I feel as though listening to one more person tell me what to do (even if it’s in the name of stress-reduction) only adds to everything I already have on my plate. Feeling we don’t know enough, and that there is an expert “out there” who does, is one of the contributing factors in the drive for success.

In fact, the point of my second book, Ask Yourself Questions and Change Your Life, is that if we quietly listen to what our own hearts are saying, and put the advice we hear into action, we will be the best we can be and know that that is enough.

So I know that when I feel overwhelmed and overworked, what I can do about it is to listen to what I preach — and then follow my advice.

Now, please be aware that I’m not denying the need of those who feel unsure of themselves and want advice; after all, I’m in the advice business. However, Part of what feeds our need for someone else to tell us what to do  is the idea that we aren’t good enough by ourselves.

So if you wish, listen to Marci Shimoff’s tele-call on Saturday, which will probably be great and even if you know a lot, you will likely learn more. Or you may just decide not to listen to it. My advice on the matter is to do what your heart is telling you and that will make all the difference in the world in creating a summer that is less-stressful, and filled with more self-care.

What my heart is telling me right now is that I need to stop writing and go to dinner with my husband. He is taking me out for my 75th birthday. I wouldn’t mention that except that I am glad to have made it this far and hope life will only get better in the future.

A Picture That Invites You to Enter

August 30, 2008
 Learn how to step inside a picture to resolve old problems.

Green Island off Australia's great barrier reef

My Visual Viewpoint perfect picture for stepping into

As I began writing a few notes to tell you about this photo, I was reminded of a feature on Support4Change called Stepping Into a Picture. This technique uses pictures and paintings to help you see an unresolved issue between you and another person in a different light. Choose a picture, such as this one, and do the following:

Think about a situation you want resolved between you and another person.

Imagine you step into the picture, with or without that person.

What would you say?

What would you do?

Let your mind be open to what might happen.

When you come here during the next several months and see the pictures I’ve chosen to share as I recover from my operation, I hope you will choose to use the stepping-into-a-picture technique to discover a new approach to an old problem.

Now, let me tell you about the photo above.

Along the eastern coast of Australia lies the Great Barrier Reef. To reach the reef and swim with the fish, we first took a boat to Green Island and, after an hour exploring this coral cay, took another boat and headed out to the reef. There we donned wet suits and had a fabulous time snorkeling. I highly recommend doing this at least once in your lifetime!

Situated on Australia’s beautiful Great Barrier Reef just 45 minutes from Cairns, Green Island is one of Australia’s premier environmental heritage sites, acclaimed for its balance between visitors and protection of a unique environment. On our walk around the island we came upon these willow-like trees kissed by the breeze and offering a frame for a look back to the mainland. I hope you agree that it would be a lovely place to try and resolve an old issue. All the gentle breezes and light air offer a different perspective on life than our ordinary every-day perspective.