Are you using your time wisely?
Think about how you spend your time and your life – Having had the luxury of seven weeks away in New Zealand launching my book over there and taking a holiday, it has given me time to ponder life and, in particular, how we live our lives in the UK. Coming back I have resisted the urge to slip back into the old ways and instead have been thinking about how I want to be spending my time and my life.
Speaking to someone today about how so many people have such manic lives I thought that the topic might be of interest to others.
Like many people there are many different aspects of my life where I want to, and do, spend my time but sometimes these can get out of kilter. I can end up saying yes to things my wise self would have politely declined. To avoid this I am making sure that I stay in touch with my vision for my life, what I really want to be doing, and then translating that into actions.
What vision do you have for your own life? Do you know what vision, dreams or goals your colleagues or family have? Are you acting in accordance with this vision?
Are you living a graceful or manic life? – In New Zealand I bought and read (twice) a wonderful, slim book called ‘Gift From The Sea' by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It was first published in the US in 1955, but is so relevant to us today. The book came about from Anne's musings when she took two weeks out from her family of five, her writing career and other responsibilities to spend time in a basic cottage on an island somewhere in Florida. It chronicles her thoughts on modern life in 1950s America. However, it resonates with many modern day difficulties, especially as the complexity of the 1950s ‘modern life' has increased perhaps a 100 fold in the 21st Century. One particular quote struck a chord:
‘This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warned us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.'
I see and hear from so many people who feel fragmented and pulled in different directions. Instead, I like the idea of having a graceful life, moving through life in a graceful manner, rather than rushing manically from one activity to another, even if they are enjoyable ones of my choice. I think most of us would agree that our lives are far from simple and we can all relate to the idea of fragmentation.
What would a graceful life be like for you? Do you have moments of grace? What creates grace in your life?
What are you missing out on when you are so busy? I read the following quote a few days ago from Jack Kornfield:
‘To see the preciousness of all things, we must bring our full attention to life.'
This made me think about my time in New Zealand. Having time out to enjoy nature, time to stop and watch waves crash against the shore and explore the wonderful array of shells upon the beach, observe the sea lions, watch the clouds racing across the sky, gaze up at the amazing milky way. As well as listen to the birds, bees and cicadas, and savour delicious food. I was also able to bring my full attention to myself, and those around me, whether they were strangers I came across in the course of my day, friends I was visiting or phone calls home to support my family through a difficult time.
I had the space, time and inclination to pay full attention to all aspects of life – and to fully relish and enjoy them.
So how do we do this back home in our day to day life? How can we pay full attention to our whole life, those things and people around us, nature or whatever else appeals to you?
Have you noticed how verdant this spring has been, heard the changes in the bird song, spent time playing with your children, or listening and really being with friends and family?
What drives our behaviour and our lives? Perhaps we would all like to have a slightly quieter, less manic life, but often this is not achieved. So what gets in our way? From my own and my clients' experiences it is often the ‘shoulds' and ‘oughts' that drive our behaviour linked to the old inner critic and also our Fearful Child (for more information about this see pages 61-72 in my book - see right hand column for more information).
Some of my inner dialogue this last week has gone along the lines of:
‘You've had 7 weeks off, you should be raring to go/you should be ready to help out those who did not have 7 weeks off' (courtesy of the inner critic)'
‘There is a worldwide recession, what if my clients cancel projects, what if it all goes pear shaped, I should be doing more' (fearful child)'
So I've taken extra care to tap into my wise self so that I take wise action that will create value and outcomes that are in line with my vision for my life. By tapping into my wise self I am able to choose when to offer support and volunteer for things rather than feel I ‘should' do.
What is your inner critic or Fearful Child saying that is influencing your behaviour?
Release your inner wisdom, live more wisely – there are many things you can do to make sure that you are using your wisdom to manage yourself, your time and your life:
- Listen to your inner dialogue – I would say it is almost impossible to tap into your inner wisdom if you are not aware of your inner dialogue. Pay attention to what you say to yourself. If you keep a journal write down what the different parts of yourself are saying (see pages 61 - 72 of my book for an exercise to assist with this – see right hand column for book details).
- Listen to a wise mentor – talking to someone today I realised how much I miss talking to my dad who died a year ago. He had run a very successful consultancy and had survived many recessions – and, of course, my wise self reminds me that I set up my business in 1991 during a recession and have survived many ups and downs. A year before he died he told me about a time (probably in the 70s) when his business went 9 months without any work. He and his partner hung on, wrote educational pamphlets they sent to clients and eventually the work came in. I would love to get his views on the current world situation. Who can you turn to who will give you some wise insights or advice into the challenges that you are facing in your life?
- Step into virtual mentors' shoes – if you don't have a real life person to act as a mentor, then there is a wonderful exercise to tap into the wisdom of virtual mentors. Again, this exercise is in my book on pages 47 – 49, or email me for a handout of the exercise.
Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.' M Scott Peck
Grovelands Associates provides consultancy advice, training and coaching in the following areas:
- Coaching and performance management
- Stress management and working well under pressure
- Effective team working
- Communication (assertiveness, presentation skills, etc.)
- Developing people's learning skills
- Understanding and working with different personality types
For more information or to discuss anything in confidence please call Melanie on 01865 377334 or click here to email. For more information about Grovelands visit our website by clicking here.