Increasingly I find myself planning my days with military precision as I strive to pack more and more into each day, both professionally and personally.
It seems I am not the only one, all around me friends, family, clients, and colleagues are using their smart phones to be available 24/7, their calendars bursting at the seams with activities, meetings and engagements and their days an endless multi-tasking march.
We think ahead, plan, calculate, prepare, and when that is not enough we try to catch up, juggle and improvise. Our lives are mostly lived in the fast lane, and every day is a race against time to get everything on our 'to do' list done.
And all the while we are busy trying to keep up, we are not noticing the impact this is having on our health, lives, relationships and family.
Our focus ON achieving is actually the number one inhibitor OF achieving - achieving as it relates to our full life potential rather than to individual tasks and responsibilities.
When my own life starts getting too busy I see myself getting really tense and stressed out as I try and manage everything. I lose focus on what is really important right now and immediately de-prioritise my internal life in an effort to squeeze more time out of each day
For me, as I head down this spiral it becomes increasingly more difficult to be aware of what to let go of, when to step back, what to think or do, and how to show up or engage with the daily challenges.
I feel like I am caught in the eye of a tornado, spinning through each day in an uncontrolled way, which leaves me overwhelmed and exhausted.
If you feel just that little bit out of control of your own day, week or month then I invite you to pause for a moment and join me in an exercise of stillness.
Put your foot on the brakes and stop running. Breathe. Allow yourself to be present in this moment. Free yourself of any perceived obligations and give yourself a break from all of the things you 'should', 'must' or 'need' to do for just a few minutes.
Find a quiet space, close your eyes and let your body go still. Breathe into this moment. One slow breath at a time. Listen to that breath, Feel it flowing in and out of your still body. Notice how your body feels. Notice the tension. Where is it sitting?
Observe your thoughts as they pass through your mind - let them float away without effort or action. Let yourself simply be in this present moment. Notice your breath slowing down. Become still.
Now with your next exhale drop down a layer into yourself. Notice how much calmer your body becomes. Breathe and go deeper still. Notice the stillness and silence this place welcomes you with. Breathe into that deeper space within yourself. Notice the energy that resides here. Allow your thoughts to pass like clouds in the sky and simply be.
Then drop one more layer down into the cocoon of your silence. Feel the calm of this new place. Breathe this calm into every fiber of your being until you become one with this calm and silent place.
Let go of all the 'should’s', 'must’s' and 'need’s'. Allow yourself to just be. This place exists outside of time, appointments, or schedules.
Experience the freedom of stillness and silence. Notice what feels different here in this space of stillness and silence. As your thoughts float through your mind, notice what is really important for you right now and why. Observe what comes up.
Do things appear in a different way when observed from this quiet space? Are they clearer, has their priority shifted, have they gained a new meaning? Notice your own energy - has it changed and why?
Without judgment or expectation ask yourself simply what you want to take away from this moment of stillness – an insight, a new perspective, a different focus, a new intention or simply to re-charge and re-energise your soul.
Take as much or little time as you need to be in this quiet, still place of contemplation. When you are ready, allow your body and mind to travel slowly up through the layers of stillness and start to engage with whatever you were doing before the moment of stillness. Open your eyes slowly and allow them to focus on the place around you, feel the air on your skin and remember your intention. Use this moment to direct your attention to determining what is really important for you to focus on next.
Remember that in order to be empowering and energising, moments of stillness do not have to be long. One or two minutes can recharge your body and soul, increase your awareness and redirect your focus in the most profound way.
Moments of stillness not only give the body and soul a much-needed break from our minds and the schedules we impose on ourselves, they also bring clarity.
I encourage you to create regular moments of stillness in your daily lives and to experience the power of being fully present; connected with yourself on a deeper level and in a better place from which to choose what is really necessary and important.
From a place of inner calm mountains can be moved.