embracing the journey

The Journey

Lately I find myself yet again being consumed by responsibilities. My day job. Writing blogs. Trying to write a second book. Supporting my husband’s business. Rental property issues. Supporting others. My checklist has grown, and my happiness has diminished. I am not complaining. I have chosen to be involved with everything on my plate and, for the most part, I enjoy the things to which I have committed.  My challenge is that when the “doing” is first, foremost and only, the rest of my life begins to fade away. It is not the work that is the issue. It is making the work a priority over living which is the cause of my unhappiness.

I wake up early in the morning, not because I excited for a new day, but because a litany of problems to solve and things to do replay in my mind. I am not truly connecting with those I love, because I am distracted by trying to solve an issue. I am not in the moment because I am planning what I need to do next. I am not stopping to smell the flowers because I feel compelled to complete the next task. I am not enjoying connection with others because I am focused on the project, not their feelings. And I am unhappy.

As usual, the things I am concerned about have not happened yet, may not need to be resolved, or may not need to be resolved by me. Yet I am taking myself out of my life and concentrating on issues that are either not really issues or are not really important in the scheme of things. Somewhere, somehow I learned and believe that life is about responsibilities, accomplishments, making things happen. Over the years, I have been trying to accept and embrace a new belief.

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash

I am coming to believe and fully embrace that life is just about experiencing. Learning to accept life on life’s terms. Releasing any meaning, judgment and expectations I have. To just truly be. To release my desires and simply experience what comes to me. To see an experience for what it is, not what I interpret it to mean or what I would have preferred it to be.

Alan Watts shares this as the Chinese concept of purposelessness. Purposelessness is not a negative. Purposelessness is just being. Purposeless removes the meaning. Purposelessness removes the focus on the outcome. Purposeless is simply being. It is The Power of Now that Eckhardt Tolle talks about. It is the enlightenment Michael A. Singer writes about in The Untethered Soul. My friend Dave Werhane sums it up well, “When I accept that my life is truly a journey, then there is no reason to do anything solely as a means to an end.” Let’s stop looking for the meaning, for the result, for the conclusion. Let’s stop worrying about results, fixing things, trying to accomplish things. Let’s stop labeling things, judging them, trying to uncover their meaning.

Instead let’s be, truly – deeply – solely be, in each and every moment. Let’s experience. Let’s let colors and sounds and tastes and touch wash over us. Let’s do what we are driven to do, not what we think we have to or should do. Let’s create to create. Let’s get out of our minds and be fully in the moment experiencing with all our senses. The deepest sense of peace, well-being, and love have always been experienced when I let go of my mental monkey chatter and allow my full consciousness to be in the moment.  

When do you feel most trapped? When do you experience unhappiness? If you are like me, it is when you are trapped in your mind replaying the past or worrying about the future. Try to find time each day to be in the moment without your thoughts. Remove your regret or anger of what happened. Stop playing mental scenarios of what could be. Be. Here. Now. Enjoy the journey!

Take Back Your Work Life

When There Aren’t Enough Hours in the Day

Diane Beaulieu, Entrée Kitchen owner and B.I.G. pod leader, asks, “When you have that feeling of there just aren’t enough hours in the day, where do you suggest one starts to relieve the stress?”

Great question Diane!

Take Back Your Work LifeThere are four places to find relief when you feel there are not enough hours in the day, there is too much to get done, and the stress of your workload is too much. As a recovering Type-A, I have a tendency to think that EVERYTHING needs to get done RIGHT NOW and by ME. If you have the same struggles, take a look at priorities, best use, taking a break, and trust.

Priorities

Look over your to-do list. What is truly critical? When we get lost in the stress of our to-do’s we often don’t take a moment to determine if the task should even be on our list and if it needs to be done right now.

Create four quadrants on a sheet of paper and label the sections urgent-important, urgent-unimportant, not urgent-important, and not urgent-unimportant. Place each of your tasks in a quadrant. Now look at the urgent-important group. Is there enough time in your day to complete the tasks that are both urgent and important? Then look at not urgent-important and urgent-unimportant. Out of those items what is truly necessary to you to complete now? If you don’t have time to do it today, schedule a time to complete it. Take the not urgent-unimportant and either drop them in the trash or record them in a notebook. Look at the notebook once a month or once a quarter and determine if any of the items have moved up on the priority-importance scale.

Remember the quadrant tool and use it to prioritize any new projects before adding them to your list.

Best Use

Look at the prioritized to-do list. What are the things you need to do yourself? Entrepreneurs, parents, and caregivers often feel such a strong responsibility and love for what they are doing that they put everything on their own to-do list. When the truth is, we are sometimes not the best person to make something happen. The result is that business owners get bogged down in the minutia of office busy work leaving them no time to focus on building and improving their business. When caring for another, there are sometimes not enough time in the day or what is needed to be done is outside our skillset. No matter your situation ask yourself if you are the right person to complete the task and if it is the best use of your skills and time. If the answer is no, find or hire someone else to complete it.

Take a Break

This may seem counterintuitive, but when we are stressed we are actually very unproductive. Go for a walk, do deep breathing, meditate, exercise, watch a funny cat video. By releasing the mind from the grip of stress, even for a few moments, you can gain mental clarity and re-energize yourself for those tasks that you really want to get done.

Trust

When I feel stress overcoming me I repeat the mantra, “Everything that needs to get done today will.” Hopefully you have shortened your to-do list by prioritizing and delegating projects, but if it still feels like there are not enough hours in the day to complete what you desire, instead of worrying that it won’t get done, trust that it will. It is amazing what this little mind game does. For me it removes the tight constrictive fear of stress. When that is gone, it feels like there are more hours in the day. Albert Einstein said, “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” Time is flexible depending on how we perceive it. Expand the number of hours in the day by telling yourself there are enough.

Hope this answers your question Diane and also helps others who feel behind the eight ball.

Are there tools you use? Share your thoughts and help others reduce stress.

Looking for more help? Check out From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction.