Sometimes life just piles it on, you know? You’re not expecting to be on this speeding train for very long and then before you realize, its been 4 months of non-stopness.
What keeps rattling around in my head is –
How do I get off this train?
How do I get back into balance?
By the way – is there *anyone* you know that is actually balanced? Like for more than a day?!
Immediately following those two questions are the litany of “shoulds”.
I SHOULD get back to Crossfit.
I SHOULD start drumming again.
I SHOULD just say “NO!” more often…to myself!
I SHOULD plan my meals and eat earlier!
I SHOULD stop wasting time on Twitter!!!!!
Let me just say that NONE of the SHOULDing makes anything any better. But damn those SHOULDS still show up trying to push me back into balance, and then hopefully, happiness.
Who can blame a girl for trying though right? All I want to do is steer myself back to SELF-CARE. And frankly, that can be just as elusive as BALANCE.
But that is what we are all striving for, even if striving isn’t the best way to get there. We are told that SELF-CARE is the schiznit. The cu-de-gras.
THE THING we SHOULD be doing A L L T H E T I M E.
I’m going to share a term I stole from someone that helped me relax the strain and stress of achieving SELF-CARE.
Right? Nice huh? A little bit sexy huh? Okay, forget that last one. But I mean, really, this is kinda spot on. Its about being SMART about:
What we take on – so that we aren’t on autopilot filling our calendars and escaping in busyness.
How we plan our time – so that we have time for turn arounds and transitions.
Inserting more “bumpers” or padding in our scheduled day – so that we can handle last minute snafus better.
Most of us run through our days, (which become weeks and then months), with a tight grip on DOING shit.
GO-GO-GO!!! That’s our motto!
Even if it’s not a fast-paced lifestyle of a Wall Street broker, most of us feel rushed and cramped trying to hustle to get things done. It seems like what we are doing is never enough.
And wouldn’t it feel a little bit better to be SMART about how you MAINTAIN your life? So that you could actually feel the sensation of relaxation and that what you’re doing is enough.
I’m having flashbacks of the movie When Harry Met Sally and the woman in the diner saying, “I’ll have what she’s having!”
I WANT THAT.
I WANT THAT SENSATION OF RELAXATION.
I WANT THAT LIKE REALLY BADLY.
It has taken me a while to figure myself out. One thing I have come up with is that I like to have TIME. Time to process things and digest what has happened in my day.
And I like S P A C E. Ahhh…. its one of my most valuable values.
With Smart Maintenance I create times that I don’t have to be strategizing and planning and reviewing and rehearsing and constantly up in my mind working.
With less speed and intensity, I have time to assimilate what has happened that day.
If it is a stressful exchange with someone, I have that buffer of time in between clients or tasks to just exhale a few times and release the tight grip on the heightened feelings I am experiencing.
Then I can bring some wisdom into the mix. Some clarity, some calm, and some care for myself in that tense moment.
The rest of the day goes soooo much better when I have TIME and S P A C E to work through where I could easily get stuck.
I create time and space to work through the edgy stuff so it doesn’t accumulate and there isn’t as much residue of the stressful encounter stuck to me as I go into the next thing.
Let the idea of Smart Maintenance roll around in your noggin for a bit. Maybe ask yourself some questions like
What can I put down for a minute?
What can I do less of?
What can I release my grip on?
Really, all we are asking of ourselves is to pause and reflect on how we have been feeling inside.
How is the GO-GO-GO approach working for me?
How do I want to *BE* in my life?
How can I un-complicate things?
How can I be present for things that mean the most to me?
In order to make our lives better, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions.
Well, maybe they aren’t hard.
Maybe they are simple.
Answering these questions will inherently make you pause. And that is a good thing.
But the answers might seem impossible to implement. Don’t worry. Its just small decisions, over and over that accumulate into building the life that aligns with what you value most.
And those SMART choices will create a life that you can MAINTAIN. And with that traction, you will find yourself happier.
*Special thanks to Jeff Warren, meditation teacher extraordinaire and the 10% Happier app, who inspired this musing. Good stuff! Check them out!