I am a recovering workaholic and busy-ness addict, which in Silicon Valley valley is not only encouraged, but lauded. To actually slow down, relax and receive the world in all its wonder at this time of my life (recent retirement from a long successful career) has been challenging to say the least. The seduction of this “disease” is powerful. But I’m learning and enjoying the process along the way.
I came across this quote from Virginia Wolff which says it all….
“If people are highly successful in their professions, they lose their senses. Sight goes. They have no time to look at pictures. Hearing goes. They have no time to listen to music. Speech goes. They have no time for conversation. They lose their sense of proportion and the relation between one thing and another. Humanity goes.”
One of the reasons I joined Nancy in our Hourglass Workshops adventure several years ago is because I wanted to regain full use of my senses—all 5 of them (plus better use of my women’s intuition). I want to share such experiences with a community of like-minded women, as well as learn to more fully appreciate and attend to the world around me. More importantly, I wanted to regain my sense of proportion, a stronger connectedness with life, family and friends, and the bigger community around me. I’m doing all those things and savoring the process.This blog and our Hourglass events reflect part of this journey, and I’m very interested in the experiences of other women during such transition points and what they’ve discovered for a book I’m writing.
Back when I was growing up, this was known as the Valley of the Heart’s Delight and I’d like to know it again as that. There is no better time than right now, today, this Summer and this lifetime to turn up your tunes and dance, try a new recipe, smell a beautiful summer rose, and really listen to the voices of those you love.
As the new year begins, there is the flush of a fresh start, the inspiring hope and excitement that things can and will be different. Unfortunately, that inspiration of change soon fades into quickly forgotten self-promises. Quickly followed by our “inner mean girl” who berates us and tells us know once again, we’ve failed. Ugh!
The Pain of Unkept Promises
We’ve all been disappointed by others when they say they are going to do something and don’t. But nothing compares to the feelings I have when I continually let myself down or break a promise to myself. It sends me right down that rabbit hole of personal criticism, self-loathing and guilt.
What is a promise? It’s a commitment to ourselves or to others to do something. We keep a promise through our actions. Interestingly, while we may keep promises to others, we frequently break promises we’ve made to ourselves. We all know how that feels—not good!
One Simple Action
Now, we could see a therapist to figure out why, sit for hours in self-reflection, or read dozens of self-help books (Yes, I’ve done all of them and yet still struggle with this.) Rather than focus on a big promise (like a New Years resolution) that I’ll achieve some far-off goal, I’ve shifted my perspective and simply promise myself to do one thing at a time. Just one simple action which moves me to the next action and the next to achieve the result I desire and keep the promise I made to myself. Simple, slow, focused and all small acts.
Continual actions form habits, good or bad, and become grooved into our brain and life. So it follows, those same habits become our life and lead to results (either what we want or what we don’t want). Consider a daily habit you no longer even think about, something like brushing your teeth. You don’t consciously debate whether or not you “feel like it”, “it doesn’t do any good anyway”, or all those other excuses you tell yourself instead of simply doing the task. That habit is simply a part of your life.
Self-care is a promise we make to ourselves, one essential for our well-being. So, we must make it a daily habit in our life based on that promise.
A Self-Care Exercise
Here’s an exercise to keep a promise to yourself–a promise of supreme self-care. Make a promise to be kind to yourself every single day. This promise requires you do something nice for yourself each day. It needs to be something that delights you, lifts your spirits, soothes your soul, or nurtures your body. (For example, it could be a luxurious bubble bath or something as simple as going to bed earlier to get enough sleep.) Such simple acts of kindness, self care and gentleness will do more to lift your spirit than you can imagine…plus its a great way to practice keeping promises to yourself.
Share your new self-care habit with our blogging community, or how you keep promises made to yourself.
Share how this exercise has worked for you to inspire others.
I was listening to a speaker this morning who said, “How you walk into a room is how you walk through life”. That’s an interesting metaphor, one that caused me to reflect on my style of moving through life. I have always admired women who make a serene entrance, seemingly gliding through life. I have to admit for years I rushed or barreled into a room. I was a mother and seemed to always be hauling kids and paraphernalia, certainly a less than elegant entry. I was always rushing somewhere. It became a pattern in my life, one I am consciously changing. That is not the way I want to be seen now. I would not have chosen to be seen that way if I had been aware of it myself.
Think about your own style. Do you plod, rush, barrel, or glide into a room? Are you happy and exuding an air of optimism or hesitant, nervous, depressed, angry, or rushed? Is that the way you move through life? Think about how you want to be seen in the world and even more important how you want to feel moving through your day. Your energy precedes you. Before starting your day become present and conscious of your energy. Think about what you are presenting to the world. Before you enter a room, stop and take a cleansing breath, as you become more present you change your personal energy. It’s palpable and the world will notice. It will also change the way you feel. Just as a smile on your face whether you are happy or not will eventually signal the body to cheer up, your consciousness of movement will affect your mood.
Join Nancy and Cherryll as they talk about how “You are the most important person in your life.”
Join Nancy and Cherryll as they discuss the importance of how you show up in the world.
Join us for inspiration to engage in the sensuality and pleasures of the world around you.
Well, it’s raining this week in northern California. I love the rain. The smell of rain–fresh and clean. The sound of rain tapping on the garden shed outside. The feel of rain as chilled wet drops hit my face. Even the taste of rain….now that’s pure and refreshing! Watching rain as its hits the ground, it seems to bounce up. All my senses are at play when it rains.
While many find rain inconvenient to our busy lives, I feel more alive. It reminds me we live in a natural world that simply ignores those previously calendared (outdoor) events. It heightens all my senses and puts me more ‘in touch” with what is around me. I notice cloud formations and where the sun is or isn’t. I am more focused on my driving and my surroundings when I’m outside during a rain storm. I feel more alive, more connected to the world and to life through my senses.
How alive and aware are you of your surroundings? When you enter your home after being gone for several hours—-how does your house smell? Look around your rooms and notice the pictures you hung years ago. Do you still like them? What about the taste of a fresh apple—-can you tell the difference between a Gala and a Braeburn?
Our senses guide us, enrich, and enliven our world, our life and our spirit.
“If you atrophy one sense you also atrophy all the others, a sensuous and physical connection with nature, with art, with food and with other human beings, “Anais Nin observed.
I encourage you to come alive and experience your day fully with your senses. If you don’t like how your home smells, buy candles, potpourri or simply open a window! Rearrange your pictures, putting them in different rooms. Wear that cuddly red scarf a friend knitted for you (and you’ve never worn) when you take a walk in the rain. Soak in a bubble bath tonight. Besides, if there was something you were saving (like those candles, nice soaps, clothing, new recipe to try), today’s the day—after all, it’s raining!