Is there one amongst us who doesn’t lament, “There’s not enough time”?!
Even if you manage to wrestle your ego out of the busybody group think, conscious movers and shakers always have more they want to do, discover, create and love. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by limited hours and energy in each day. However, when we catch ourselves speaking like this, we know that we are giving our power away.
Taking responsibility for time by framing it as priorities vs availability can feel a little harsh, but it’s honestly one of the most empowering ways to break old habits and assumptions and motivate ourselves to really take charge of what matters.
Lives aren’t created at the end, when all the things are done. And our legacies shouldn’t exclusively be made up of the moments when we took “time off”. Lives are built minute by minute, every single hour of every single day. It’s always worth stepping back to see if we are inspired, proud and in alignment with what we’re building.
On a flight home last week there was an infant in the row behind me making every amazing infant noise and expression. This was on the eve of my oldest’s 10th birthday, and my heart began to reminisce about how mothering a newborn on a plane felt both like something that happened last week and like something that happened to a different woman entirely.
Time is such a strange mystery this way. Things can feel simultaneously like they just happened and like they were a lifetime ago… because both are true. Linear time, if you believe in such a thing, does seem to move quickly, especially the older we get. And along the way, each week, month and year, new and different you’s are being born and shed, created and lost. The you that experienced that memory of a year or a decade or several decades ago was a different lifetime of sorts because it was experienced by a different you.
Given these inevitable changes, I think we’d find more fulfillment and liberation in celebrating time’s fluidity and evasiveness. Let’s respect its magic by obsessing less about controlling, managing and balancing it all and more about simply giving ourselves permission to live fully in the moment. The clichés are true: the present is all we actually have and we will never again have the opportunity to experience its unique and precious gifts.
Over thinking “right” gridlocks our lives. We sit paralyzed until the “right thing” can be done the “right way” at the “right time”. Ugh. And guess what, RIGHT never happens, because there isn’t such a thing. There’s only doing or not doing. Any interpretation of the doing is judgment, totally subjective to the individual perceiving it.
Let’s quit waiting for the stars to align and just get to starting already, whether that’s starting again, starting over, starting anew…
Think of a significant change or transition you made in your life a year or more ago. Can you remember the weather that day? How about the clothes you were wearing? Any idea what your loved ones had on their calendars?
In most cases, none of the details of the first day you started are particularly memorable, because the conditions didn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that you took a leap and began engaging with an adventure.
Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted since February. There’s several reasons for that, but the past few weeks the biggest hindrance was artificial pressure regarding this very issue… how to come back, how to re-engage… thankfully, often the answer is in the question, and so here I am, starting again writing and posting with nothing more than the honesty that the fear-based ego is a tricky bugger, and the only remedy is action in-spite of it.
Let’s stop using circumstances and perfectionism as excuses to not get vulnerable, live our passions, and create lives we are fulfilled living. What are you ready to start today?
(Part 3 of 4)
3. simply do the very next thing
Procrastination takes a toll on both your energy levels and your spirit. Negative self-talk inevitable in putting things off for tomorrow subtly erodes your self-confidence and belief in your ability to take charge of life.
Consider a handful of things you’ve been putting off. Odds are the avoidance is driven by one of three things:
1. You don’t want to—Honestly, this is the easiest dynamic to resolve. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. There’s nothing you HAVE to do. Truly. Of course there’ll be consequences for action and inaction, but you’re in charge of what you take on or let go. If giving yourself permission to say no and delete it from the list feels liberating, do it! If you feel it still needs to be addressed but preferably not by you, outsource it. You don’t have to navigate this journey of life by yourself. Call on your friends and family or hire someone. Often there’ll be something someone you know doesn’t want to do either, and you can share your skillsets and trade energy in a win-win.
2. You don’t believe it’s worth being a priority—If something is “important enough” to write down as a to-do, goal or dream but never enough to get around to, it’s time to get real. Talk is cheap. Actions tell the truth. Dig in to determine whether this actually isn’t a priority (in which case, you have permission to move on) or if it IS a true priority but gets lost in other competing calls for your time and energy (in which case, it’s time for soul searching on who/what you want driving your life (see step 2)).
3. You’re too scared —The biggest beast for sure, when you finally grasp your heart and soul’s true priorities, but your fear-based ego paralyzes you with what-if’s and who-do-you-think-you-are’s. Ugh. There’s so much to say about this. I probably write about the soul-ego tug-of-war more than anything else, but here’s a quick tool to have at the ready: The ego is most scared of the BIG picture, goal, change, thing. If you just limit your focus to the next baby step, ego won’t roar as loud or squeeze as hard. You can always do one small next thing.
Refocus your mind on your power and capacity by promising that today you’ll do one tiny-itty-bitty thing you’ve been putting off: make that naturopath/chiropractor/doctor’s appointment you’ve been thinking about, send a text to that long lost friend that’s been on your mind, google how to travel to your dream destination, unsubscribe to junk mail that overwhelms you, cook that recipe you saved on Pinterest… whatever the THING, don’t think about it for one more minute, just do it and watch it build confidence and momentum for the next step.
(Part 1 of 4) For all the rejuvenation inferred in a “new year” (which is mostly nonsense), I for one felt like I dragged myself through January as sluggishly as ever. There were many contributing factors, not the least of which included turbulent national times and a relentlessly cold and gray Montana winter.
Here’s the shorthand guide I’m using to try to grab the helm once again:
However, whatever the reasons, when the course of life starts to feel more like bracing against a crashing tide and less like steering a course deliberately, it’s time to regroup.
1. Accept the limitations of your influence and remember the mind’s default is to focus on dynamics that exacerbate the feeling of struggle.
In the primitive brain’s endeavor to keep us safe, it’s on high alert for what feels dangerous (note: not necessarily what IS dangerous). Therefore, the things that are beyond our control will be what the mind wants to perseverate on the most, including what’s to come personally or professionally, what the people we love do or don’t do, or what others say or think about us or our lives.
Despite our mind’s preoccupation with these, we can’t control ANY of them. We can attempt to INFLUENCE them, but we cannot control them. This distinction is imperative to understand.
Attempts to control are premised on the attachment to a conclusion… on others’ interpretations and perceptions or on how end results play out or are assessed, but these outcomes are affected by influences well beyond what we as individuals can impact.
Before getting frustrated with the futility of this fear-based thinking, remember that fear exists as a guide, waking you up to realize that happiness, freedom and peace only come from within and never from trying to control a single thing outside of yourself.
You’re an adult now, which means you’re the boss of you, and while you can’t dictate all the details of how life unfolds, you’re absolutely empowered to decide how you perceive it and what you make of it. Once the focus shifts from rigidly believing it’s your need or responsibility to figure out how to MAKE things outside of you turn out a specific way, you instantly release yourself from gridlock of the ego and liberate your soul for greater truths and action.