Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moments of Stillness

Before I get going, here's a little funny for you. After a busy morning, I came home to find this on my MSN page:

And it tickled me. Yeah, what is UP with all you English cows!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blogging:

Moments of Stillness

It's that time of year when everything feels faster, busier, crazier. And though you try not to get caught up in the madness, there are bound to be times when you feel overwhelmed. Commitments, activities, social events, extra shopping, family obligations - they all seem to start taking up more of your life than ever.

When I start feeling overwhelmed - and this is, of course, a super-busy time of year for my business as well as our personal lives - I make it a point to take what I call "moments of stillness". These moments, which are often only be five minutes long, help me slow down and be more centered. If I can quiet my mind and my body, I'm calmer, more focused, and - surprisingly! - more productive.

How can you put these moments in *your* life? Here are some suggestions:

- Meditate. Pick an open spot against the wall and sit down. Use a regular household timer and set it for five minutes. You'd be surprised how long five minutes is when your eyes are closed and you're focused on clearing your mind. It takes me at least a couple of minutes to really push thoughts out of my head and just let my mind be. But once I'm in that zone, I'm always shocked when the timer goes off, because I have completely forgotten about it (and everything else, which is the whole point).

- Live in the moment. It might be your morning shower, it might be sitting in the pick-up line waiting for the kids, it might be anytime you have a small block of quietude. Really focus on how your body feels. Stretch. Sing, if you're in the shower. Don't worry about anything else. Put your energy into something personal that allows you to shut out the rest of the world.

- Connect with nature. Sit on the front steps (or back deck). Really notice the trees, the grass, the falling leaves, the color of the sky. Have a cup of tea, coffee, cider - whatever you like - and watch the birds. There's so much going on in the natural world, just outside your door. Get in touch with nature and you'll feel calm and renewed when you have to go back to your regular tasks.

- Journal. Early in the morning, or at night just before you go to bed. It's amazing how much flits by us every day. Taking some "slow time" to capture a special thought or memory is important. Did the kids do something touching or funny today? Journal it. Did you achieve something wonderful? Write it down. Did you have a horrible day? Write about what you're looking forward to tomorrow, or on the upcoming weekend. Chronicle those bits and pieces of your life as they happen.

It's five minutes - surely you can spare that once a day? Or at least once a week. Try to put these personal moments into your life regularly and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel.

What do YOU do for you? I'd love to hear about it!

As ever,

Original post date: 10/02/07

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