As the calendared months of summer began to wind down, a dear friend and I relaxed into a small sunlit swing on her back porch. While it had felt like summer had just begun in Seattle, the true season – kids out of school, longer days, and warmer nights – was indeed coming to an end.
As we reflected on the summer – like we often do in life in general – we were amazed to unwrap all that had transpired. Below are three lessons we were reminded of during the summer of 2017.
Growth comes in all shapes and sizes.
If you asked me in August 2016 where I would be August 2017, I would have been way off. The truth is, we never REALLY know what will happen over the course of a year. What we do know is a lot can happen.
I was pretty comfortable in August 2016. That plush rug was plucked right out from under my feet at the end of June this year. At first, I was shocked. I had poured my heart and soul into what I thought would be a large part of my career/life path. When things happened other than I had planned, it felt like a sharp knife was wedged in between my shoulder blades. Having the air knocked out of my sails, I quickly realized that I had an opportunity to turn this into one of the best things that could have happened to me.
You see, our comfort zones are zero growth living rooms. Sometimes just beyond our walls is a world we had never imagined possible. A world including everything we could have ever wanted and more!
My friend, when life gives you lemons, squeeze them, and make some good fresh lemonade.
Focus. Focus. Then, by golly, focus some more.
Life has a way of providing all sorts of distractions. It’s easy to let a whole month get away from you. How often do you watch the clock tick away as 5:00 pm rears its head, only to realize your to do list has gotten longer?
Stay focused throughout your day by being intentional. Intention setting in the morning is extremely helpful to focus yourself on your mission for the day. Take time to sit. Be still, breathe, meditate, pray, and journal on what you need to focus on throughout this particular day.
After taking that time, write down one centering thought. Below the thought, jot down a quick list of what you want to accomplish personally & professionally for the day.
Stay focused throughout the day with little reminders. Add sticky notes to your computer at work, change the background on your cell phone to include the message, or set timers every couple hours to refocus. Ask yourself,
‘What is of the utmost importance and how can I stay focused on this today’?
Expert Tip: Be sure to not to let the lists get too long! It will just overwhelm you. Stay focused on your to do list as well.
Have fun and play WHILE being mindful of the needed balance between work and play.
If you played all the time would “play” lose its meaning? I seem to remember back in the day as a young child when the summer months began to come to a close, I was ready to go back to school. While I did enjoy the freedom of summer, there was a lack of structure and purpose in my days. It was almost as if the freedom of play had lost its glam.
Find a good balance between work and play over the next few weeks. Know that this formula may change not only with the seasons of nature but also with the seasons of life.
I encourage you to take some time to reflect on what you have learned this summer. Start with a journaling exercise using the following questions:
What has transpired in your life during the Summer of 2017?
What projects did you start?
What projects did you complete?
What surprises came your way?
What lessons have you learned?
What comfort zones have you set personally, professionally, spiritually, and emotionally?
What walls need to be confronted?
What season of life are you in?
Do you need more work or more play?
How can you cultivate the balance you need for where you are currently?
Finally, what will you take with you into the fall to move in collaboration with the season of change?
Please let me know how I can support you in this transition to September? Comment on this post to gain inspiration from your community or if you need us to hold you accountable to something you are working on! If you would like help through a one-on-one coaching session, direct message me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your complimentary consultation today.
Yoga Teacher & Life Coach
“Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” -Socrates
As I walked through the door Tuesday evening into my second story apartment building, I set down the first of four bags in my hands. After arriving home for the first time in 36 hours, my body was calling out to me – sit down! The problem – it felt like a mere whisper to the dishes in the sink and the bags on the floor below.
It was 9:00 at night and I didn’t have to be out of the house until 10:00 am the next day. There was no urgent need to clean and unpack, yet my mind told me there was. I was reminded of my sweet grandmother who ran around the house cooking and cleaning until she could no longer walk. I don’t think I ever saw her sit down.
Unnecessary busyness is a growing epidemic in our modern fast paced society. To be clear, I am not talking about the type of busyness associated with a big deadline rather doing things just to get it done.
With technology at our fingertips, we’ve been given the opportunity to consistently be “DOING” something. We’ve lost the ability to ponder situations, stare out the window, or walk down the street without ear buds blasting our new favorite hit.
Frankly, it’s gotten to the point where we are so unnecessarily busy we need to do lists for everything. We’ve got to plan out our weeks months in advance and our summers in the winter to ensure we get in all the activities we want to be a part of. This leads to us dropping into fall with the sound a sack of potatoes would make as it hits the floor.
Why are we so busy?
Busyness gives us the illusion of productivity and purpose. We have glorified this “busy life” with the idea that if we are busy, we are important. On the other end, if we have downtime we are lazy, unproductive, and a lesser person to our society.
Busyness is often just a distraction. It’s pointing us towards task-driven living rather than purpose-driven living. If we constantly have tasks in front of our face, a to do list that’s never ending, and an email inbox with 300 unread messages that need to be responded to, it becomes very difficult to consciously take downtime.
We feel guilty. We feel like we are letting others down.
But are we? Are we doing this to be busy or because we actually need to do it?
You make a priority and do what you want to do. Right now, do you want to check items off your to do list? If so, why?
Why is our society so attached to doing? How do we shift back into a place of being?
Notice where and when you are doing just to do. What REALLY needs to get done today? How can you do it to the fullest extent?
Then, ask yourself am I thinking about unnecessary busyness in other areas of my life? For example, while I am out with friends or in conversation with my loved ones, am I present or thinking about what needs to be done?
Today, focus on what’s in front of you. Ask yourself, what is really important in my life? Be there.
Need help making the shift out of your “busy” lifestyle? Message me at email@example.com to schedule a time to sit down and take the steps to just BE.
Yoga Teacher & Life Coach
Far too many times I have overworked, overscheduled, and over-committed myself to please others. In the end, it hurts not only me but also those I, less than wholeheartedly, commit to.
Because of the stigma around the word “selfish” we can be fooled into thinking self-care is a negative activity.
In order for us to serve others, love one another, and give wholeheartedly, we must cherish and respect ourselves.
The fact of the matter is, we have 24 hours in a day. In that time, there is only so much we can do. Remember that when you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else.
Below are 3 ways you can reaffirm your “self-care” practice this summer season.
Listen to your body
When you’re stiff, move your body. When you’re tired, lie down. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re full, put down the fork. Your body gives you cues as to how you’re feeling and what you need to do. Slow down and listen to these cues so you can provide the activity or nourishment your physical body needs to give it the strength to work for you in the years to come.
Allow yourself to feel emotions
It’s easy to push things off because you desire to avoid discomfort. But when we do this, we risk re-living the discomfort every day thereafter. Be with what is happening right now in your life. Enjoy the highs and experience the lows. You must feel to heal.
Give yourself downtime
Build in time in between your appointments, social events, and personal obligations. With longer days and shorter nights, it can be easy to run from one thing to the next right up until 10, 11 or even 12 pm. By creating space to reflect, think, and process what’s happening in your life, you enrich your life by learning from your experiences.
IF IT’S NOT A HECK YES- IT’S A NO.
Time is precious and limited. As you move through August and gear up for the fall months ahead take a moment to reflect on your self-care practices. Do you give yourself the grace to step back and take care of yourself?
Realigning your timing to encourage self-care will nourish your mind, body, and soul to enable you to serve your family, friends, and community to a greater capacity.
Self-care is not selfish it is self-respect.
This summer share love with yourself so you can love others.
Yoga Teacher & Life Coach