Slow Down

October 25, 2012
These anonymous words of wisdom encourage us to slow down.

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A ”Fond Farewell” Article

When I changed Support4Change to a new format, I needed to delete some articles that didn’t fit in the new site but were too good to completely throw away. So I have moved many of them here to the blog, where they will still be available and people can find them by using tags. Enjoy.

Incidentally, this piece is a good introduction to next Monday’s post on choosing what to do out of  all the possibilities that clamor for your attention.

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Bay City Oregon

 

1. Slow down. You are not responsible for doing it all yourself, right now.

2. Remember a happy, peaceful time in your past. Rest there. Each moment has richness that takes a lifetime to savor.

3. Set your own pace. When someone is pushing you, it’s OK to tell them they’re pushing.

4. Take nothing for granted: watch water flow, the corn grow, the leaves blow, your neighbor mow.

5. Taste your food. It’s meant to delight as well as to nourish.

6. Notice the sun and the moon as they rise and set. They are remarkable for their steady pattern of movement, not their speed.

7. Quit planning how you’re going to use what you know, learn, or possess. The day’s gifts just are; be grateful and their purpose will be clear.

— Unknown

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

 

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Centering Ritual to Start the Day

August 20, 2012
A life coach discovers how to slow down and to value starting the day with a centering ritual.

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A ”Fond Farewell” Article

When I changed Support4Change to a new format, I needed to delete some articles that didn’t fit in the new site but were too good to completely throw away. So I have moved many of them here to the blog, where they will still be available and people can find them by using tags. Enjoy.

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Ten Minutes, Ten Toes — No Problem!

BY LEA BRANDENBURG
Reprinted with permission

nail polishA couple of months ago, Life gave me an unusual vehicle for personal growth. And, because the Universe I live in is filled with humor and laughter, my lessons tend to show up via unusual channels. This particular opportunity presented itself in the form of painting my toenails.

The weather had just started to turn warm and my thoughts turned to wearing the new sandals I had just bought. And from the sandals, my thoughts then turned to painting my toenails. Sandals and painted toenails, bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly, hot weather and shorts — these just go together, right? The only drawback to this particular train of thought is that I got this brilliant idea — ten minutes before I was scheduled to begin my first coaching call for that day. Ten minutes, ten toes — no problem.

With fearless abandon I went to my medicine cabinet, selected a lovely shade of pink, put my foot up on the bathroom sink and started painting away. With one foot done, I moved to bring my other foot up and somehow the nail polish applicator flew out of my hand and landed deep in the bathroom sink drain . . . brush side up. Five minutes to go until my first call.

My brain is moving a 100 MPH. All I can think about is how to get the applicator out of the drain. So, I hopped into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and started poking around the drain. That doesn’t work. Then the phone rings. It’s my client calling early! It turns out it’s a friend calling for a phone number. I’m still trying to get the top of the nail polish out of the drain, talking to my friend and desperately hoping that the phone won’t fly out from under my ear and chin where I had jammed it so my hands would be free. The phone stays put, I give my friend the number and tell her I love and that I have to get off the phone. I hop back into the kitchen and get a pair of thin pliers. They do the trick and I resumed the painting process. By the way, I’m keeping an eye on the clock the whole time. And as my newly painted right foot hits the floor, the phone rings and this time it is my client.

So, what did I learn? Well, besides how important I think it is that the color of my toes match . . . I found that I was slightly off-center the rest of that day. I learned that for me to do my best work I need to be grounded. That and, of course, don’t try to paint your nails ten minutes before you are scheduled to begin working!

How do you start your day? What kind of centering rituals do you have? Are you aware of when you’ve completed one activity or project before your begin the next thing on your agenda? Do you find yourself running from one appointment to the next? Is your day an endless stream of activity?

By using some kind of centering ritual, we can condition ourselves to move into an appropriate frame of mind to begin our day, our work or our projects. A ritual can be as simple as walking around your chair once you’ve completed one activity and before beginning the next. Develop a ritual for yourself that takes you off of automatic pilot and helps to ground you in your body and the present moment. When you are grounded, with all your energies (mental, emotional, and physical) in harmonious balance, it is much easier to focus your attention. And with this focus and clarity, you can access your inner wisdom and increase your ability to produce and create.

© 2002, Lea Brandenburg

Lea Brandenburg is president of Creating Strategies in New York, NY, and has been coaching an international group of clients and businesses since 1997. Her areas of expertise and passion are interpersonal and business communication, intuitive intelligence and creativity. She is a graduate of Coach U, the coaching industry’s premiere and oldest training program, a member of the International Coach Federation, which is an association dedicated to preserving the integrity and ethics of the coaching profession, and a Founding Member of Coachville, the first on line coaching training company and portal. You can contact her at lea@creatingstrategies.com.

 Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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Viewing Time as an Ocean

September 5, 2011
Wouldn’t floating in the ocean feel more relaxing than rushing to catch a train?

Boat on a quiet ocean near New ZealandThis year has been filled with more trips than I usually take (five so far) and with each one I try to follow the standard I set back on March 14 in Maintaining Sanity While Preparing for a Trip. Haven’t always done that as well as I would like, but that’s definitely my plan this week as I get ready for two weeks in Europe starting next Wednesday.

As I approach my list of  “wouldn’t it be nice if I could also ______ before I leave, ” I am thinking of a recent blog post by David Spero called The Ocean of Time. In it he considers the very nature of time itself as a way to counter our tendency to squeeze more plans into less time than we have to do them.

First, he reminds us that we usually think of time as a “rushing river, or a speeding train,” perhaps the “bullet train that we have to chase and catch or risk being left behind, or run over.  Then the next day we will have to chase the train down and catch it again.”

He then reminds us that a farmer watches the seasons go by and recognizes that as the seasons change, he will have a change to do something next year. Finally, David suggests that we might change our idea of time if we “imagine time as a lake, or a still sea:

“And you can float on it, you can splash around in it…  You have centuries of time to the right of you, and centuries of time on your left.  And ages of time behind you, that got you to where you are, and ages of time in front of you.

“You still have things to do.  But now you have all the time you could ever want, or ever need, or ever use.  An ocean of time, spreading out in all directions to eternity.  No way to be left behind, no way to be left out, no time limits to expire…it goes on forever.”

Of course, he points out, “if you spend your whole life in the ocean of time, you will miss some appointments.  But if you spend your whole life on the bullet train of time, you get to the end far too fast, and you will miss most of the scenery along the way.”

I am trying to follow his advice and first do what must be done (like packing, which I will begin today). Then whatever time is left may or may not include writing “evergreen” posts for while I am gone.

Incidentally, I learned the term evergreen this week in a column by Meghan Daum of the Los Angeles Times. She said that “evergreen is journalist lingo for a topic that, like its namesake, is always in season (or, at least, one that won’t go stale immediately).”

Would like to find time to do a number of posts so you have material to read on the blog, but if I don’t, I hope you enjoy what you find here. And if this is my only post for September, just remember that I am floating in the ocean of time and enjoying myself immensely.

 

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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 - geograph.org.uk - 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

A Special Kind of Doodling While Waiting

February 24, 2011
Recharge your batteries by doodling instead of building up steam because you’ve been put on hold.

Doodles during a math lectureAs I mentioned in the last post, I’ve been cleaning out my office and have discovered papers and files stuffed with quotations, ideas for articles, and suggestions for blog posts. Typical collection of an author.

Tackling one specific file yielded lots of ideas for posts and I thought I would start working my way through them. That will give me more posts than I usually do when I have to think up new ideas.

So now I am using my ironing basket approach to tackling I’ll-get-to-this-later jobs in which I start with the item on the top of the pile and do whatever needs to be done with that before going to the item below. Thus this first topic comes from the paper on the top.

“Doodle” was one suggestion from a list of about thirty ideas in a pamphlet for caregivers. The idea of the list was to encourage people to take care of themselves in order to take care of others.

I could just repeat the list here, but I don’t find lists helpful in ready accomplishing anything. I will read the list, think “those are good ideas,” and then forget them. There are just too many to pick out one to work on. So instead of giving you a whole bunch of suggestions at one time, I will periodically offer you just one. Then I’ll add my own perspective on how you might do it.

I think of these as posts for recharging your batteries; either decreasing your energy drainers or increasing your energy boosters.

Here is my suggestion for today:

Get paper, pencil and colored pens and put them by the telephone. If you only use a cell phone, put them where you can reach them when you have to make a call to one of those draconian telephone trees.

Then when you are put on hold, start doodling. You may be tempted to draw a noose, but I suggest you try something more radical.

Draw a stick figure if you don’t trust your artistic talent. Place the figure in the middle of a circle and draw hearts or plus signs around it. Then imagine you are sending energy to the person you are calling and are opening your heart to do whatever you can do to help him or her help you.

After you’ve sent positive energy to the person to whom you will speak, notice if you feel better. If you don’t, continue doodling after you hang up. Then you’re free to do anything you want.

Usually doodling is a process of allowing something to arise from your subconscious to keep you awake when you have to sit and wait for something to end, like the doodles made by someone in an afternoon math lecture in the doodles above. So the idea of planning a specific concept may not seem right. But give it a try anyway.

Send me your doodles if you’d like and if they are family-friendly I will include them in the blog.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
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