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Revving Up Intimacy in Your Relationship

 

One of the definitions of intimacy is a close familiarity or friendship, closeness. Intimacy is not simply about sex, although that can certainly help. But sex alone does not always lead to intimacy. There are several small but powerful things you can do to increase closeness between you and your partner.

Be communicative, talk to each other on a regular basis. Have conversations without agendas attached to them. Listen to your partner simply for listening sake. Practice opening up to each other without judgement or trying to solve a problem. When neither of you are trying to persuade or convince the other, it is easier to listen and communicate. These kinds of conversations do wonders for the relationship, it teaches you to enjoy talking simply for conversation’s sake. It builds on the friendship aspect of your relationship as well. Talk about whatever it is you feel like, a childhood memory, an idea you have for a movie, a book you just read and loved. Enjoy conversating with each other as if you were still getting to know each other.

Rather than planning grandiose get-a-ways, fold intimacy into the fabric of your day to day lives. For example, one day a week you dedicate spending time together at your favorite restaurant or cocktail bar. No friends, no family, and no kids, just the two of you. Or on Sunday afternoons you take a hike together, or ride bikes. The point is to do something enjoyable that gives you both time to let go and have fun together. Sure weekend get-a-ways and vacations are wonderful and build a temporary intimacy, but once they are over, it can leave you feeling empty emotionally. By doing little things more often you sustain the intimacy and build on it.

Laugh as often as you can, taking yourselves too seriously sabotages intimacy. Humor not only helps both of your moods, it also helps thwart off arguments. Laughter is healthy and a positive way to create intimacy because it makes both of you feel good! It diffuses differences and has a positive effect on your mind and body. Watch a comedy together, share funny incidentals that happened throughout your day. Research has shown that Couples who laugh together build stronger bonds and cope better with stresses and conflicts in their relationship.

Celebrate your history together, the good and bad memories that helped shape your relationship. Take time to appreciate all that you have been through and to remember those wonderful memories that warm your heart. Memories can be a hilarious source of humor, recalling those funny moments when you didn’t know each other well.

Get physical, not just in bed but in other nonsexual ways. When you’re sitting on the couch together watching a movie, snuggle in. Hold hands while you’re strolling the boulevard or walking the beach. Touch is a powerful tool for intimacy, make it part of your relationship. Take a couples yoga class, give each other massages.

And then of course there is sex! Pleasing your partner builds intimacy. Maybe try having a sex session in the middle of the day, be playful and let yourselves enjoy each other’s bodies. As I said earlier, sex alone is not the end all be all to intimacy, especially if the only time you feel close is in bed. Examine all the other wonderful ways you can explore and enjoy each other while you create that sweet closeness that is irreplaceable.


How to Keep Your Relationship Alive – Working from Home 

With more and more people working from home – tension can creep in, you may feel the spark in your relationship has fizzled as you struggle for space and alone time. Do you find you and your partner quarreling over minor concerns, or maybe just the sight of your partner is beginning to annoy you? When there’s too much imposed togetherness, this can happen.
Here are a few ideas to help you cope with cramped quarters and finding that sweet spot of balance in your work and personal relationship.

Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss your needs and work out a schedule that accommodates both of you. For example, you want to join a yoga class at 7 am, ask your partner to handle the kids while you attend every Monday and Wednesday, in the living room. The other days, he/she gets the space at a time that works for both of you. In other words, negotiate your space. We all need alone time; some need it more than others. When you talk about schedules, avoid being vague, it will help. Tell your partner exactly what you want, “I need time to work on my project alone for four hours a week.” No one is a mind reader, so be specific to avoid confusion and frustration.

Make having fun together a priority – Working side by side or in the same house doesn’t count as quality time together. Schedule time spent together doing things you enjoy, walking, dancing, bike riding, or even cooking together while music is playing on your phone. Rekindle on a regular basis, if schedules are tight, even every other week will work. Think of your time and energy as an investment in your relationship. Relationships need attention, like a bank account you can’t keep taking money out and expect to thrive. Imagine your life without your partner and be grateful for their gifts; remember to laugh together.

Give each other space – everyone needs that, maybe one of you needs it more than the other. It is the flip side of spending quality time together so honor it and get creative with alone time. Go for a drive, go to the store by yourself, take turns with letting each other have the place to themselves. All relationships, even great ones, revolve around space and togetherness, both are essential. If your partner says they need alone time, recognize that it has nothing to do with you. Part of giving each other space also means not phoning, not texting. When someone needs space, they need time to allow their minds to wander and imagine, texting interrupts that process and can make your partner feel as if they didn’t get the quality alone time they craved, which may cause resentment. No calls, no text, no interrupting the space time matrix.

Stay connected with friends – give them a call, plan a Zoom coffee or happy hour. Keep reaching out to people that you love and who are part of your life. They are precious to you, let your partner do the same when it comes to staying in touch with friends and family. A pandemic is a great time to rediscover letter writing or sending emails to those you miss, let them know you’re thinking of them. Continuing to have meaningful relationships outside of your primary one will allow you to feel as if there is more space in it.

Keep the romance alive, make house dates. Maybe dinner and a movie, or dinner and a lovemaking session. Or have a night where you reminisce and share memories. This pandemic won’t last forever, but your relationships can.


Living with Unresolved Conflicts

                       
There are times in life when a disagreement is so raw and dividing, there is no immediate resolution.  You may feel that all you want to do is run in the opposite direction, bury your head in the proverbial sand, or never see the person again. Your anger and pain are deep and uncomfortable. Whether the conflict stemmed from a colleague, a friend, or a close family member, learning how to deal with unresolved conflicts will help you regain your inner peace and perhaps a sense of resolution.

Here are a few suggestions that may help.
For many people, having a disagreement is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and for some traumatizing. Avoiding conflicts with others does not mean you are living without inner conflict thoughStifling your emotions or sidestepping the truth about your feelings is as unhealthy as perpetual hothead behavior. Truth is, everyone has the right to their opinions, feelings, and decisions. It is how you express yourself that matters. As you begin to deconstruct a conflict, look at your responsibility. Take a sincere and truthful gaze inward to see where you may have contributed to the discord. Conflict management involves both parties being honest with themselves and each other; exploring what has blocked them from finding common ground.

For example, you have a colleague at work that infuriates you. They nitpick about everything, and never acknowledge your contributions. And to top it off, you may not like the person because they remind you of someone that you had a bad experience with in your past.  Part of being honest with yourself is teasing out the real issue(s). You don’t have to like everyone, however, you can learn to understand where your actions are creating conflict and how better to deal with them. Talk with the person, point out that you appreciate their point of view, however you also need to be recognized for the work you do. Expand the thread of agreement, continue to look for common ground no matter how slight.

When you know that you have done what you can to resolve a conflict and it persists despite your good faith efforts, it’s time to let go. You have that choice. To let the anger, the resentment, the hurt go, because you know in your heart you have done your due diligence. Letting go takes time. Be patient with yourself. Use the tools of visualization, and meditation to see yourself moving on. Letting go and avoidance feel very different. Avoidance is inaction, denial of what has happened. Surrendering is an action, a conscious choice and one you have decided on after you have tried your best to resolve the conflict.

Empathy for yourself and others plays a huge role in conflict resolution. Both parties will want to actively engage in a solution. When people have empathy, they can put themselves in the others’ shoes. They can use understanding to put things in perspective. That is not always the case. The good news is you can end the struggle for yourself. If the other person wants to carry a grudge after you have made an earnest attempt, It’s not your issue any longer.

If it is a close family member or lover, that you’re in conflict with, it may take a bit longer to let go and move on. You can limit your time spent with that person and set boundaries of what you will and will not tolerate. You can’t control anyone’s behavior except your own. 

Releasing an unresolved conflict will help lighten your load, free up your emotions, and allow you to move forward. You have the choice.


Changing Your LifeStyle

 

Changing your lifestyle can bring a sense of excitement, like moving to Florence Italy, or some other place you’ve fantasized about. Or it can be as subtle as deciding to cook vegetarian meals. Regardless, switching things up takes concerted effort to make it real.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the changes your passionate about.

Be clear with your vision, what is it that you want to change? Detail it, color it in, avoid vague ambiguous goals. Being specific will help you visualize and embolden your plan. Oh, and yes, have a Plan! Flopping about willy-nilly without some kind of road map will get you nowhere.

Set realistic goals that you can achieve and that will encourage your tenacity. For example, you want to move to a new location. Decide when (in two months, a year), be realistic with the cost, then start setting aside your move money.

Whenever you do something new, out of the ordinary (big or small) you are going feel that pang only change can bring. Change is often hard, even when it’s fun. Let’s face it, It takes effort to do something different. Shake hands with this, and soon enough that discomfort disappears. Changing your life may be the most challenging and uncomfortable thing you’ll ever do butin the end, it’s worth it. Marriage, children, opening a new business, taking on a new job, going back to college, relocating are all wonderfully exciting. They are what you’ve dreamed of…but they still take some adjusting to.

Think about what it is that has held you back, then move onward. Pull out those negative tapes from the past and toss them in the trash. You ARE capable of change, of achieving dreams, of becoming a new you.

Set timelines that will keep you on track. Be diligent about them and again be clear. Rather than saying, “sometime in the spring I’ll get more work” rephrase it to a specific positive: “In one month I’ll have a side job that will move me towards my goal of making more money.” Make concrete time frames and stick to them. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Be prepared to adjust when a wrench is tossed in the mix. When you get tired or derailed, instead of drowning yourself in negativity, go with the flow. Acknowledge the hiccup, the slow down, the block and keep going. Read stories of empowerment, talk to others who have overhauled their lifestyle, listen to how they got through the storms of doubt.

Keep reminders, pictures, mantras, anything that roots you onward to your new location, your new life. If traveling more is the goal, post pictures of the places you plan to go. Listen to cultural music that inspires you for the journey. Read and educate yourself on whatever it is you are embarking on. Whether it is changing your diet or learning how to sail, learn as much as you can.

Get your spouse, your friends, your family on board. Remember though, silence the naysayers, do not ask their advice, they are all too eager to impose their fear and trepidation. But it is not yours.

Reward yourself when you’ve climbed a wrung, gotten closer to the finish line. Celebrating the small victories along the way, gives you incentive to keep going. Tony Robbins has said, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” Continue creating the life you want. No one can do it for you, and you have what it takes, just do it!


Keeping Open to Love

 

Have you ever met one of those people that no matter what life tosses their way they remain loving and kind while you find yourself getting annoyed?  Admit it, there are times in our day-to-day life when obstacles or challenges get the better or us. You may be exhausted from a newborn keeping you up all night or upset over an incident at work, or sad about a recent loss.  Whatever the cause, during these times, it’s easy to shut the security gate to your heart and retreat from feeling. Life holds many promises and disappointments, how then do you navigate through the ups and downs while keeping an open loving heart. Is it even possible?  Yes, but for most of us who don’t float about with angel wings, it’s a process, a choice, and it doesn’t come without work and a lot of practice.

First, begin to notice what is your go to emotion when challenges present themselves; fear, anger, jealousy, or perhaps you simply pick up the rug, sweep it under, and don’t deal with the issue at all.  Bringing awareness to how you react (in other words your patterns) is essential to redirecting them.  For example, if you get bad news about a promotion or plans change, or your partner is cranky do you immediately get mad or do you lapse into a panic?  Make no judgement on how you respond, however if you want to change, taking an honest look is the first step.

Treat yourself as if you were your own best friend. When you reflect on the “whys” of your behavior, be kind to yourself. Why do I always react with anger or fear? Perhaps that was the model you got as a child, or perhaps you were oblivious to your emotional patterns.  Then say to yourself, I am afraid or angry or hurt or jealous, but I don’t have to be.  After all, we have a choice in how we want to move through life.  Remind yourself that you have the right to be forgiving and loving towards yourself.  Being kinder to yourself will help you be kinder and more loving to others.  Knowing you are as worthy as anyone of love, allows you to release fear that in turn allows you to let go of anger (which largely comes from being afraid).

Communicate your emotions, say “I feel angry, I feel afraid,” get them out on the table rather than holding them where they wreak havoc on your relationship with yourself and others. Being truthful creates an atmosphere that leaves room for dialog. Which prevents us from making up a false reality (such as why does that person hate me, when they don’t).   If there has been a misunderstanding, dealing with it will open the channels for reconciliation. Yes, you want to be a loving person, but sometimes you immediate reaction is just the opposite.  You fail.  Mistakes are lessons in humility.  Admit when you’re wrong and give a sincere heartfelt, sorry.

Practice, practice, practice, life will give you ample opportunity for this.  Use each one to shift your choice of emotions and take your time.  Try counting to ten before you react, then learn to come from a place of love and understanding.  Once you begin doing this, it becomes habit forming and will not go unnoticed by those around you.  Love will flourish in your friendships, in yourself, and have a profound effect on the way you live your life.  There will be less frazzled angry moments because you have become a person that lives with an open heart and chooses to lead with love.

 


Active Listening Is the Key to Communication

Do not listen with the intent to reply, but with the intent to understand. —Anonymous

 Listening is somewhat like an art form, and as in music or dance you only become proficient with practice. There are countless meanings assigned to the act of listening. You can listen with your heart, you can listen to your intuition, you can listen to mantras of religion or stories you’ve been told since childhood. The listening I am referring to is about how we listen to ourselves and others, which all of the above influence. Without sincere listening, communication breaks down, misunderstandings flare, and a sense of dread and loneliness can cause you to feel frustrated or anxious.

To lessen the problems non listening creates, here a few ways to develop and enhance your ability to listen. When you are truly listening to another person, find the takeaway. In other words, look to understand what that person is trying to say? Avoid reading into or interpreting, tease away your own biases. If what they are saying is ambiguous, murky or makes no sense to you, simply ask for clarification, or mirror to them what you feel their message is.

When you are actively listening, you will more than likely have questions, hold them until the person is finished. Often many of us are too eager to spew out our response, or wisdom, or opinion that we forget to fully hear what the other person is saying. If you find yourself preoccupied with focusing and crafting what you think, you are not listening. Or if you realize that your reply has nothing to do with what the other person is saying, you were not paying attention. Watch professional interviews, you can always spot an interviewer who is not listening by their response, it will be in left field regardless that the statement was right and center.

Naturally it is easier to listen to people you share common ground with, it is difficult and challenging to listen to those you don’t. Let’s put this in the realm of relationships. Your partner may have been raised with strict rules and there was little wiggle room for self exploration. You on the other hand had a family that encouraged independent thinking. You fall in love, but after the honeymoon phase, you find you are arguing over just about everything. More than likely, it is a lack of listening to each other…listening without hearing. Whew, that is a tough one. However, when you begin to practice real listening, you can not only muddle through tough conversations, you may actually begin to see resolutions. When you let down the defenses and say to yourself, this isn’t about me, it is about the other you can learn to listen with love, empathy, and a deeper understanding that leads to connection.

Spiritual leader Ram Dass has a plethora of quotes that remind us that listening requires going beyond our ego. “We are fascinated by the words, but where we meet is in the silence behind them.” It is in the quiet recess of your consciousness that the truth or impact of words reverberates. Words themselves are simply nouns, verbs, adverbs, tools with which to communicate. yet somehow, they can cut us deeply or be profoundly motivating. When you think about how people without hearing communicate it is interesting because they still use language just not necessarily words. If you have ever traveled to a country where English or your mother tongue is not spoken, you find that you can still communicate through gestures, although the risk for misconstruing someone’s intentions is much higher. The fact is, words are only part of communicating with another.

A huge part of learning to listen to others is listening to yourself. If you are constantly filling your mind and energy with some diversion, you cannot hear your inner thoughts or desires or spiritual guidance. Think about a time that a teacher, a friend, a mentor said something that resonated with you so deeply it changed your life forever. It was that time you spent meditating or pondering the words or intentions of the person that shared them with you that allowed you to see the truth and significance to them.

Learning active listening will change the way you communicate forever, and it will enhance your relationships and confidence


Creating a Consciously Aware Life

 

How do you define consciousness? The medical definition of consciousness is the state of being awake and aware of your surroundings. But there is a deeper more symbolic definition of consciousness that transcends the physical and the mental.  The ninety-three-year-old Buddhist Monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh describes consciousness like a stream or river, it is always continuing and evolving. And like running water there is the shallow surface to the still silence in the depths below. Like many who have studied consciousness in the physical (brain/mind) and its effect on the body and perception, they all have found that you can shift your consciousness once you raise your awareness and focus.

If you think of consciousness as layers imagine the first being that which is more primal or automatic and connects the brain to the body; your physical needs; hunger, pain, pleasure. You are aware if a room is hot and stuffy, if you are nauseated, or feeling relaxed from a massage. This is surface consciousness.

Let’s think of the next layer as your thoughts and perceptions, how you evaluate your experiences and how they impact your decision making. Here lies what you have learned from both a formal education, absorbed from your culture, as well your past experiences and how these affect your emotions. Your emotions and feelings though are liable to be subject to moods of others unless you learn to listen within.

There is another layer. Learning to listen to the awakening of that layer, that transcends all the other layers, this deeper level of consciousness that can elevate your awareness, heal your mind and your body, and bring you a greater sense of peace and joy. Ah, this is what we all want, right? So how do we get there?

For a moment, create in your mind’s eye your favorite place in nature. Whether it is at the ocean hearing gulls and the sounds of waves crashing on the sand, or in the mountains with the scent of pine trees and the moist dirt of a mossy forest, breathe and be there for a moment. Open your eyes and notice how you feel. By bringing your awareness inward, you can choose what it is you want to focus on. This is a step in the direction of creating consciousness. Being aware. If you are meandering through a beautiful park, with the fall leaves surrounding you, yet rather than admiring their beauty you worry about an upcoming business meeting, your mind is not engaged, you’re distracted. Creating consciousness is letting go of those distractions and reconnecting to the quiet within.

Living consciously helps you with negative emotions. It gives you the ability to deal with negative feelings differently, to not be rote with reactions. Creating consciousness builds empathy towards yourself and others, because you have a deeper understanding. Think about when you were four or five, learning to count, then learning to add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc. As your awareness grew, so did your understanding and appreciation for numbers. It is the same with cultivating an expanded life that is fully alive and conscious. And like learning math, it takes practice.

When you are feeling angry, rather than lashing out, notice the anger, shake hands with it, acknowledge it. Then breathe, long slow steady breaths. Make a conscious choice to handle your anger differently, not allowing it to consume you.

Spending time in silence, bringing your awareness to your breath or meditating is a powerful way to increase your consciousness. By withdrawing from outside stimuli on a regular basis you can begin to create a calm interior. Physiologically, when you slow your breath, your body relaxes. Rapid breathing is associated with fear and anxiety. Consciously, focusing on breath, allows you to relax.  When you practice this, eventually you learn to quiet your thinking mind, the one that makes assumptions and passes judgements.

Living with purpose or living fully, is the same as living consciously. Bringing awareness to yourself helps you to be a more loving human being as you begin to see that you are interconnected to all living things. You need the warmth of the sun, the shade of trees, the oxygen from the plants, the love of another. By raising your awareness and centering on the self that is beyond definitions (mother/father, employee/employer) you can tap into the truest essence of you. That spirit or energy that is kind and loving can grow, once you bring your consciousness there and spend time stripped of pretense.

Opening your awareness liberates you from patterns of thought. Thoughts that have biases towards yourself and others. It gives you new perspectives, like wearing a pair of glasses that help you see better. You may not be aware that you treat certain people with disdain, like wait staff at a restaurant or the janitor at your children’s school. When you awaken your consciousness, you may see the humanity in all people. You may get to know that janitor and realize he is an artist or a single father working several jobs to provide for his children. Awakening removes veils allowing you to see the beauty in all things, a flower, an old man, a cloud. It gives you a sense of appreciation for the life that is all around you.

Lastly, living a conscious life is indeed like the stream that flows into the river that eventually finds freedom and flows into the ocean where all embankments and confines are removed. You don’t have to go on long extended or expensive retreats to create an expanded consciousness. You simply have to practice, be fully aware of the beauty around you, take time to notice your child’s sweet chubby hand that brought you a fistful of daisies, or the stranger that offered you a smile. Know that the sweet place of consciousness dwells within you. Listen to Podcasts, read books, find a favorite poet or philosopher, try guided meditations, nourish your consciousness, and then watch it, like the one seed of a sunflower, grow and bloom.


Coach Yourself to Freedom by Letting Go

What does letting go mean to you?

To me it means not allowing events from the past to influence your life today. When you let go, you learn to be in the moment, and experience what is happening right now. Buddhists refer to this as mindfulness or being fully immersed in what you’re doing. Mindfulness allows you to let go of everything going on around you and concentrate on your own actions. Mindfulness lets you to be free from passing judgment or expecting a certain outcome.

Your beliefs and attitudes may be keeping you from letting go and being present in the here and now. When you coach yourself to identify the beliefs that are holding you back, so you can let go of them and your emotional attachment to them. As you let go of the past you will be in the present. If you stop trying to control what happens, you may notice that you also stop criticizing and judging others. It’s simple, coach your mind to shift your words to view the world as the cup is half full and you will not only accept what is, but you will enjoy life more.

Life is a series of choices, many of which we make automatically, unaware of what we choose or why. When we are afraid of criticism or judgment, we are unable to learn from our choices. To be able to simply be, by learning to let go of judgment and ideas of what should be. Replacing your judgments with a sense of self-worth will allow you to develop the emotional intelligence to live in the present instead of dwelling on the past.

Our expectations also cause us to hold on to the past instead of letting it go. You may be disappointed, based on what you feel ‘should’ have happened, or what you think someone else ‘should’ have done. But when you free yourself from your expectations, you will heal yourself and those around you. Just think about how differently you respond when you feel judged, versus when you feel accepted as you are.

An exercise to practice when learning to let go is to ask yourself if you will feel stressed about a situation in the future, whether it be tomorrow, next week, next year, or in five years. The answer, if your honest with yourself will be no; because we do not really know how we will feel when the future becomes the present.

When you allow yourself to be in the moment, you can live your life simply because it gives you joy. Experiencing joy in your life is its own reward.


Coach Yourself Free from Blame & Shame

“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame.  Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.”    …Ralph Marston

 

Blame can render you powerless; wreak havoc in relationships, and eat away at your ability to change, to let go, and to get on with life.  So, what makes us fall into the blame trap and how can we free ourselves from it?

By answering these questions, you will better understand blame’s role in your life…Allowing you to eliminate blame from your feelings.

Like any new discovery, raising your awareness of where blame is at play is the first step in ridding yourself of it.  Do you blame your partner or others…do you repeatedly blame yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned?  Are you fearful of making mistakes?  Did your parents routinely use blame to shame you as a way of manipulating your behavior? 

Often the reasons we feel blame are unconscious. Have you gotten into a pattern of blaming everyone for failures, mistakes, or disappointments in life? Blame can become a way to vent anger and frustration; it can help you skirt around the truth, while dumping responsibility away from yourself when the burden feels too heavy.

The good news is you can escape the blame cycle with the following three steps.

Get in touch with your inner feelings and responses. If anger and then blame are your reaction in a relationship or in a challenging situation, take a moment and breathe.  Look at other options – identify your feelings first – (hurt, sadness, disappointment, fear, guilt) and remember most people are muddling through with their own set of challenges.

Make a plan – “Today I am not going to judge or blame others.”  When you establish a new pattern response, a positive one, you are teaching your mind to untangle its thinking from the trap of blaming and shaming.

Begin to love all of yourself, even the imperfect, for it teaches us humility, empathy, and inner beauty.  Author Sonya Parker once said, “Stop comparing yourself to other people, you’re supposed to be unique.”  Learn to love what you consider to be your shortcomings and find ways to navigate through them.

Having compassion for your limitations allows you to see the silver lining in the lesson learned and gives you permission to move on.  Use humor and put your imperfections into a positive perspective.  Trying to be perfect is exhausting and accomplishes nothing more than anxiety over making a mistake, which can lead to a fear of trying anything at all.  As babies we learn to walk by bumbling around like drunken soldiers, so it is in life, stop being afraid to fall.  It is the getting back up that counts.

Take ownership of your life and let blame fall by the wayside.  Often the faults we see in people around us are mirror images of our own.   Rather than harboring anger over your spouse, your parents, your boss, take action, free up your energy with positive affirmations and move onward.  If you feel yourself sliding back into the judging and blaming trap, simply stop and gently remind yourself, “I don’t need to that any longer.”  Celebrate your successes, no matter how large or small they are. If there is something in your life you want to accomplish, rather than brooding over why opportunity has not knocked on your door yet, explore ways to begin the new journey towards what you want.  Go back to school, spend time with people who honor your dreams, read inspirational books, let go of toxic relationships.

As you treat yourself with kindness, and take ownership of your life, blame will disappear.


Slowing Down

 

 

If you are always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”     ~ Nanette Matthews

 

Do you find yourself in a perpetual panic, chronically hurrying, feeling as if there’s never enough time? You’re not alone. The fervor of modern life can make it very challenging to slow down However it is possible to learn to temper your pace, while still achieving goals and checking off that ever revolving to do list. Slowing down doesn’t mean giving up, in fact, it is just the opposite! It is about investing in yourself, renegotiating your time, affording you more opportunity to be present, to be happy, less stressed and in the end, more efficient.

When you flit from one task to another, you deprive your spirit of soaking up the moment, and you rob yourself of the joy of the journey. Take a second to reflect on how many times you have been walking the dog, helping the kids, driving in your car, yet your mind is on a business meeting, a bill you have to pay, next week’s appointments. You miss the smells of nature, or the funny face your child made, or the beauty of the trees you are passing. So how can you learn to slow down, to notice, and to be more present?

Consciously learn to raise your awareness –Take small awareness breaks throughout the day. Look out of the window, notice how you are feeling, breathe fully for five or ten minutes. Turn away from your computer, your phone, your whatever and feel rather than do. Let go of day-to-day work and home demands for a few minutes every day.

Practice starting conversations with strangers – people in line, or the store clerk you see at your favorite grocery store. Acknowledge them; listen with interest to other people’s responses. By taking time to connect with others on a human level you open yourself up to new experience. Let go of the idea that you are too busy to listen to others. You will be astounded how often your assumptions of others prove to be wrong. You may get a little nugget of knowledge you hadn’t anticipated. Carving out time for others, even if it’s only a few moments of conversation, can renew your spirit and give you a sense of connection with others.

Connection lessens feelings of being overwhelmed and isolation – Think about when you talk to someone you barely know, maybe about something trivial, annoying or stress inducing, like traffic and realize, I’m not the only one who feels like this. If you never take the time to engage with others, you deprive yourself of giving and receiving acknowledgement.

Stop cramming your day with an impossible list of things to accomplish – Allow time for reflection, for exercise, for conversation with your family, for a relaxed meal. Be realistic about the number of minutes in a day. Prioritize, what is really feasible today? Ask for help, delegate responsibilities at work and home. When you try to be a superhero too often you find yourself depleted and resentful. Dodge those pitfalls by creating time for yourself.

Pay attention to your body, it is very wise – When you are tired, take a short nap. Like a car without gas or oil, your body needs fuel. Take the time to eat, not in the car or at your desk, but to eat with presence. Exercise, this can be a wonderful way to get out of your head. Breathe some fresh air, take a walk, a jog, a bike ride and focus on your breath.

Cultivate a small-town mentality – even if you are living in the center of a bustling city. What is small town mentality? It is slowing down long enough to say hi to the mail carrier, to notice the afternoon breeze or the soft tapping of rain on the window. It is bringing over cookies or flowers to a neighbor or simply saying hello to people. It is being part of the community you live in, acknowledging others.

Once you slow down, you’ll notice a new awareness settling in. You will have more energy, life will feel fuller and more rewarding. Gifting yourself with a slower pace will cultivate clarity, and garner new perspectives on life.