The month of January is often a time of contemplation and planning for many people. The cold weather in many locations can limit your activities and bring you indoors to a quieter pace. Today’s Life Adventure Notes is meant to inspire you to use that time well – take a pause in your life and be enriched because of it.
The theme of taking a pause has been very evident to me for the past week as I have taken an unscheduled pause from being online. My business was attacked by hackers recently and nine of my websites and my personal computer were all infected with malware. If you have tried to access the Life Adventure Coaching website recently, you haven’t been able to – all nine websites have been off line. I hope by the time you read this, all my sites will be successfully online again and pause over.
Regardless of the cause of a pause in your life, it can be very beneficial. Without my websites functioning, I have taken extra time to read, study and plan for the year ahead. Whether your pauses happen at your own choice or those of circumstance, one of the most powerful ways to deal with them is through acceptance and flexibility. Allow yourself to slow and to breathe. You’ll know what needs to come next if you do.
As a matter of fact, pausing is so helpful to all of us that the feature article this month is about how to create a variety of pauses in your life. The inspiration for this topic may have come from those hackers, but I’m still not ready to say I’m glad it happened!
I hope you enjoy thinking more about putting space into your life.
When I think about taking a pause, I always think about a conversation with a coaching client about music. We discussed a beautiful analogy between music and life. Music is composed of notes that create movement as the notes unfold from one to the next; in the same way, life is composed of events that flow in your day or in your life. Less obvious though, is the fact that the spaces between the notes are an essential part of the music – and of your life.
Try to imagine music with no spaces between notes, no rests or pauses. My mind creates a terrible blare of noise in a frenetic rush when I imagine this. Those spaces have a value and a purpose in music. The spaces have a volume that is designated by the composer. The mood, tone, melody and rhythm of the music are all dependent upon those spaces.
What a powerful analogy about life. The quiet times in your life, the spaces between the notes of tasks and events, are what give you your structure and meaning. Contemplation and planning require you to slow down enough to see the patterns around you and to consciously decide the direction to move next. Is it time to repeat the melody or does the music flow on now to another movement?
In today’s world, you face pressure to do more and to do it faster. Perhaps you have fallen into the busyness trap that always leads to operating in survival mode. When your best effort is not enough and you must strive continuously do more and do it faster, it’s easy to lose perspective. Every little thing becomes of importance because it could throw off the schedule. You have lost connection to the silence between the notes.
Those pauses in your day are especially important in two places. First, in order to keep yourself healthy, you must have both times of energy and times of calm. Your brain functioning requires this for optimal functioning. Secondly, your relationships need you to be thoughtful and spacious in how you interact that means you must have pauses.
Think about adding small pauses in your everyday life to catch your breath, stay calm and remind yourself of your priorities. Many religious traditions use a bell or gong as the symbol for a call to prayer. This is actually a reminder to the faithful to stop what they are doing, to slow down their lives in order to pray, to take the quiet time that is needed in order to live richly.
Try this experiment yourself – whenever the phone rings, instead of grabbing it quickly, use the sound as a reminder to momentarily slow down. Take a deep breath or two while it rings and feel your feet firmly planted on the floor. Then turn your curiosity and attention to the caller – the next note in today’s melody. Use the same idea to ground yourself and become fully present at other routine times in your day, perhaps before you start your car or eat a meal.
The second area you need space is in dealing with others. Space is vital to your relationships in many ways. No matter how much you love someone, you need space away from them. This gives each of you the experiences and vitality to make your relationship richer when you are together.
When you are in conversation, learn to add pauses. When someone finishes speaking, don’t rush to jump in. Instead let the other’s words sink in for a moment. Look for the meaning behind the words as well. You’ll be surprised at how this shifts conversations favorably. Using pauses in this way is especially important when emotions are high in the conversation.
When it’s more than a simple conversation or when it’s become an argument, slow things down. Many times if one person can stop the quick back and forth of a disagreement, the conversation will end on a better note. Let there be tiny spaces in the flow. If you can’t get a hold of your emotions enough to do this then it is probably time to get a real pause by stopping the entire conversation until later.
Use the spaces of your life wisely and let the flow become the lovely melody that only you can produce.
What can you do to get more rest (think sleep, play time, quiet time, thinking time)?
In what areas of your life have you been operating in survival mode? How can you slow down in that area and get a better handle on what really is important?
How can you improve your relationships with space, rest or pauses?
“Thinning” From Sabbath
~ By Wayne Muller
“I’ve been noticing what has to be simplified in the abundance of my life – all the opportunity. The metaphor for this is my garden. We have an abundance of growing vegetables – we planted turnips, carrots, daikon radishes, lettuce, herbs, tomatillos, eggplant – they started growing riotously- I couldn’t believe how you could plant seeds and then all this stuff would just come up with abandon. I knew I needed to thin those turnips and carrots – but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I though maybe they’ll grow anyway. So I never did prune or thin those turnips and carrots. They also never did grow. Not one turnip did I get – although there were tons of greens. So I’ve been reflecting on why I don’t want to thin the things in my life that I need to – I just keep holding on for dear life, but those turnips are telling me what will happen if I don’t create space for growth, space for life, space for spirit.
Thinning is, as France says, making space for life. We plant so many seeds, and they seem so small, so benign, they hardly take up any space at all. But everything, as it grows, needs space. Children, a home, a career, a project, a hobby, a spiritual practice, everything needs space, and everything needs time. And as each grows, each one takes from the other, until nothing grows beneath the surface, it is all foliage and greenery aboveground, and no nutrition beneath. Sooner or later, it all withers from lack of nourishment.
INDIVIDUAL COACHING BY PHONE
Want to stop that feeling that life is passing you by?
Would you like to able to experience your life as an exciting series of adventures?
Would you like to feel more joy and achieve more success?
That is what I help my clients develop in their own lives. Working with a coach helps you overcome the challenges that can keep you from a successful life. Coaching gives you a companion on the journey; someone with whom to discuss events as they unfold and to help you move toward joy in the adventure. Developing clear goals, focusing intently and staying committed become possible.
If you aren’t sure and would like to explore whether coaching is right for you, please send an email to Janet@lifeadventurecoaching.com or call me at 828-691-4655 for a complimentary consultation.