Routine is lovely and keeps us on track. It creates efficiency and paves way for productivity.
If you are like me, your life is full.
Mine is abundant with mom duties, wife duties, work duties, service duties and girlfriend duties (amongst other things). Did I mention that self-care, healthy and exercise is part of my routine?
Productive & Efficient Living
Even though I don’t live in a big city per se, the pace of life for me seems incredibly fast. Fluid, but fast, nonetheless. I've got a system and it is clockwork.
One activity is followed by another: after a client meeting, I’m scheduled for an interview, then a midday workout and lunch. In the afternoon, I'm writing, coaching and alas, marketing my business. After work, my evenings are filled with dinner, family, chores, and my favorite, the bedtime routine.
When my head hits the pillow, I exhale with relief: another day, full and well lived.
Even though I am fine, and everything appears to be in order, there is something amiss underneath.
There are days when I want to take a walk in the park or paint, or even have more time to meditate. Yet, my days, directed by schedule and filled with activity doesn’t seem to have space for that sort of thing.
So I keep plugging along. I’ve got goals and deadlines to meet. I’m on a schedule after all and accomplishing what I’ve set out, is what I’ve prided myself on all my life.
Completion & follow through. Eyes on the prize. Focus. Determination. SMART goals and accomplishment.
Signals of Sacrifice
As I will myself to press on, I feel myself agitated and increasingly aggravated.
I want to spend more time with my son and his homework, but I’ve got to finish writing my blog post. My daughter asked me to paint with her and I am in the middle of a deadline to complete a radio show. So, I cannot. My husband invited me to watch his favorite show with him, but I’ve got to finish up on completing a graphic design project.
Did I mention that before the day ends, I’ve still got shopping, dishes, and laundry to do?
I would have managed just fine as I make it to bed, like any other night, except, that the light bulb comes on: life is too short.
Not spending my precious life in the way I really want is too much of a sacrifice for me.
What I want is actually what I need: more downtime.
As I tend to what I consider I “have to do" to succeed in business, I am not giving what I actually need the most to feel successful.
What I personally need is space to inhale, to create without inhibition, or a deadline. To be at ease without condition, assignment or task. What I need and want is a life of faith - not necessarily religious faith, although I do believe in a higher power. Yet, my actions that are dictated by schedule and goals and must do’s feels a bit faithless.
I needed to redefine success so it fits my definition of living faith.
How we define success is relative and personal to each individual. In the role of mom, my definition of success is to raise happy, grounded and integrated children so they are equipped to live up to their highest potential. This definition precedes any other goals for me, except for one.
What supersedes my role as mom is my commitment to live aligned with my soul’s calling.
If I am not acting in harmony with my heart’s call, I would feel I’ve betrayed myself in one way or another. As I learn anything new in life, my conviction to live a life I can be proud of.
What would I truly say about whatever it is that I am going through if I look back on this period of life with my last dying breathe? Would I say I was learning? Would I say I was trying something on? Would I say I embraced my experience or rejected it with disdain?
Everything I do serves this definition of success in one way or another. If I am wildly successful at everything, but I betray my heart or my children (eg by failing to support them in some way), I would have missed the mark.
RELATED: Come Home to Worth
What’s Truely important NOW
You see, somewhere along the way, I realize that what was once important to me, is no longer as important now.
My life, and where I am in this phase of life, is drastically different from my early adult years, and even in the last 5 years. It's not about making a buck, or gaining followers or increasing my email size. What takes priority is no longer about the statistics, the money, the numbers, facts, and figures.
What really matters in my life now are all the non-quantifiable things that make life worth loving: the juicy, warm, tender hugs I am privileged to receive when my child greets me; the tender gaze of my lovers eyes, with whom I share my life and children before I fall asleep; the glorious sunset I see as a kaleidoscope of color that is nature’s splendor. These are examples of bliss to me. To be present to the everyday, ordinary experiences is my bliss.
My favorite is to savor the sounds and noises my kids make as they play in the other room. It is music to my ears and this music blesses me with the palpable feeling of sheer, magnificent, uninhibited love. The pregnancy, the birth, the challenges and all the difficulties that have come with motherhood (and life!) is worth every second for the joy of listening to my children play.
Real Change Comes From the Inside Out
A shift in behavior requires a shift in attitude.
At that moment, I realize that in order for things to change on the outside, I must make the change about what I think.
The gem in this lesson is that if I wanted to make real change in my life if I do not want to be dictated by the schedule, or to-dos, I have got to do the work from the inside out. What I think of what is, how I hold an idea in mind, must change before I can have actionable change.
Yup, just like losing weight or improving self-esteem, changing my perspective and attitude is the first step.
Stop The Insanity
There is one definition of insanity that states, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”
At my wit's end, I realize that what I need to do (again and again) is to stop. Stop the madness. Stop the insanity. Give up my routine.
I've got to stop whatever busyness is going on. If I were a computer, I'd basically need a hard reboot.
My routine, as efficient as it seems on the outside, must stop. I was unhappy on the inside, with the pace of my life, and so what is mine to do is to shift my routine by interrupting my own pattern.
Rather than investing time in methodically working, or on step-by-step functional things I need to do, I decided that the investment I am committed to is to allow myself to bliss out.
With intention and mindfulness, I am going to engage in things that allow me to get happy, grounded and aligned with my energetic vibration. From here on out, I aim to savor each precious moment by being awake and present.
No more mind-numbing items I need to “get through” In order to survive the day. No more have to's or must's. Away with should haves, could haves and would haves!
I want and deserve a richer, more vibrant, peace-filled daily experience of my life.
Slowing Down to Be Me
Life is too short to be doing doing doing. What I yearn is to slow down the pace, to live every moment: not rushed, less stress, no pressure. What I want is also what I need the most: to savor life.
The quantity of items completed off my checklist is less important than the quality of time I get to spend doing what I love to do and to be with people I love to be with.
So as the weekend approaches, I clear my schedule. For two days straight, I put off any activities that must be done. I reschedule the “must do’s” and “have to’s” from my weekend and let it be. I simply allow and mentally prepare myself to allow everything to shift forward a day or two. Whether I want to believe it or not, my tasks CAN wait!
I implement a radical practice of no planning. I allow my day to unfold. Like a flower blooming, in the pace of nature, I allow my day to bloom. As my marvelous weekend was unplanned, there was nothing on my agenda.
Settling Down to Remember
For the first few hours, I was a wreck. Emptying the mind was a challenge as thoughts of what I need to be doing kept hijacking my brain.
To stop the chatter, I practice moving meditation: I took a walk in nature. Simply and mindfully listening to every crack of the earth as I place each foot down to the ground. I did not multi-task. I had no mp3 going on, I was simply present to each breath and movement of my body, and my monkey mind. I felt the air on my skin, the crinkle of my clothes with each movement, and I smelt the aroma of fresh high dessert. I even got to witness a pack of wild wolves run across the field at one point, and remember the palpitation in my heart, and exhilaration of this surprise.
Relaxing Into Myself
For the rest of the weekend, I relaxed into my unstructured days. I got to go the park and the movies with the family. We dropped in at the local mall and shopped. We had ice cream at our favorite parlor. When I got home, I picked up my knitting project again. I got to catch up with girlfriends that lived afar, who thought I had fallen off the face of the earth.
It was good. I was enjoying my life. I felt again: alive, in rhythm and sync with the unfolding that life is.
I realized that my desire for space is not lazy. It is, rather, a plea for balance. I need more space, time that is unplanned, to feel me again - to be me and not be the automaton that crosses things off a to-do list.
Too much of a good thing, and not enough of another, creates an imbalance.
Your Pace of Life is Your Experience of Life
I have come to realize that the pace of life itself is part of the experience of life. And so, as I practice slowing down, I am practicing presence. I am awake, I am alive and I notice the miracle of my body, as well as all the blessings around me.
Being present is to be awake to life, each moment, savored. Mindful, conscious. Like a fine wine, I taste and savor each mouthful.
In this consciousness of life, there is space. The practice of slowing down is against the grain. Yet, in the space between the space is where I find my bliss. I get the opportunity to truly live: present and awake.
As I slow down to be present, I realize the breath that breathes me. I feel the hum and the joy that arises from within. Bliss bubbles up and I remember joy.
An unplanned two days was my reboot and pattern interrupt. This was my triumphant practice of blissing out. The experience of these two magnificent days allows me to really think deeply about what is important, what I want to fill my days with and what truly makes me feel alive.
In stepping away from activity, I got the opportunity to be still and really hear myself. As I am still, I become present to the rewards of the blessings that surround me. ❤️
* * * * *