For the next several weeks we will explore the topic of authenticity. I will be sharing tidbits of my upcoming 10-week workshop series: Journey to Authenticity. Did you miss last weeks article? View it – here.
When I get together with friends, family and colleagues I hear many of us express similar challenges in our lives.
Here are some common themes:
• the ‘not being good enough’ feeling
• having a strong inner critic (the negative inner voice that chatters away)
• being a perfectionist holds us back from moving forward with many projects
• having way too much on our plates
• feeling as though life is speeding up, as much as we try to slow it all down
• often feeling behind with no chance of catching up
Do any of these statements resonate? Yep – it seems to be a fairly common list of concerns these days. I am not certain that the so-called modern conveniences help us – but instead make things go even faster. We have more to do now – not less. Everything is expected immediately – there is no more saying things, such as, ‘the cheque in the mail.’ We really need to regain a more humane pace in life and take time to breathe.
Most mornings I spend time in a gorgeous conservation area nearby and all too I often observe people talking on their cell phones or wearing headphones. Taking a break and letting nature’s music soothe us would make more sense right? There is enough clutter and noise invading our space all day.
How does all of this affect us? When we are trying to do everything just right (or keeping up) we create stress in the mind and the body. This affects our posture, our breathing, blood flow in the body and emotionally drains us. We laugh and smile less frequently, and life can get wayyyy too serious. If we stop and notice our physical bodies – we are likely clenching internally – gripping from the inside, scrunching up our foreheads and facial muscles, clenching our teeth (awake and while we sleep) and maybe our fingers are even curled into fists without noticing.
Stop for a moment right now…turn your focus inward to your stomach and internal organs? Do you detect softness or tightness? Notice your jaw, forehead and fingers. Are they soft or tight? Try to view this observation as information only – let go of any judgment around what you discover. Taking a few deep belly breaths right now can help everything let go in your mind and body. Let everything soften, and deepen your breath just a little more.
Here is what I do – the busier I find my life getting – I more I know I need to take myself out for a walk, enjoy a long bath, do some Yoga or take the time to sit and meditate. Every time I do this I feel refreshed and more productive. We feel we don’t have the time – we simply must take the time out of our day. Taking just five minutes can make all the difference. I tell myself this: “I have MORE than enough time to complete the list of tasks” – and I often find myself with an extra 15 minutes before an appointment…woo hoo! Time to sip a cup of tea and breath! Try it – it works like magic.
What else can we do about our busy lives and tendencies toward perfectionism? We can get quiet and ask ourselves where the tendency may have originated. Are we trying to live up to expectations set for us by our parents, teachers, family, church, or society? Getting to know the voices from the past can help us understand the why, and where it may have stemmed from. With self-knowledge and awareness we can begin to let go of old thoughts and begin to move forward imperfectly.
For example, when I began sharing my thoughts in my weekly ezines (newsletters) I was so afraid of making a mistake it held me back for awhile. I was worried about typos, grammar, mistakes and blunders. I wondered if I would be judged by what I shared with you. I had to work on letting all that go – knowing that it would occur – I would make mistakes. Falling is the way we learn to pick ourselves back up right? I asked myself – what was the worst thing that could happen. I recognized the critical voice (from past criticism) that chattered away in the background and I eventually said to myself: “That is not true for me anymore and I let it go.” So I continue to forge again with my imperfect ezines each week hoping they make a difference somehow somewhere. I encourage you to be brave and do the same. Take those guitar lessons, go for a walk, and share your true feelings with those around you. Be you. And stop wasting any time worrying about it.
Slow things down for yourself, taste all of the flavours of life – breath and allow there to be more ease!
Does this serve as an enticing tidbit for you?…please join me on January 24 for the Journey to Authenticity 10-week life changing series.
Each week we have deep conversations as we explore the topic. We practice authenticity with amazing handouts that provide step by step support and guidance.