Responsibility- Is this Mine?

When did I first learn that I was responsible?  Some where in the lesson of responsibility – I twisted up what I was responsible for. I took on the belief that I was responsible for all others first, that I was responsible for other people. That I was responsible for happiness, feelings, outcomes, being perfect, doing it all.

That other people’s feelings and needs came before mine. I used to think that doing things for others was important and I was not important.  Now I reject that belief and have let go of my idea of being responsible for the entire universe.  Are you really in charge of the universe today? Only when I ask myself that out loud does it sound silly.

Responsibility is a habit that is difficult to sort out at times. I am at heart a responsible person. It is the order of my belief that has changed. I cannot be helpful, compassionate or caring when I am overwhelmed or carrying the weight of all responsibility around with me. What happens if you pick up every task or problem that you see? How many of these problems or rocks can you carry and still keep moving without impacting your own health?

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On good days, I will gently hand you back the responsibility you attempt to pass over to me. On bad days, I will say yes to anything asked of me, and then get angry or upset when I realize I have taken on too much responsibility again. When I carry around things for other people, there is no space in my life for me. I am important. I need to be responsible to me before you.  Another lesson to be learned.

When I do forget and slip back into that outdated idea of what is mine, I am able to remind myself by asking better questions.  Is this really mine? Pause. Say no before yes. Who does this belong to? Why would you ask me that? Is this mine?

I am responsible.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

I am responsible for self -care, honoring my feelings, being kind to myself.

I believe that self- care is critical to self- development and growth.

I am responsible for me.

Just Hang on

Have you ever had a week or a series of weeks where your schedule was so packed full that you had to keep moving between events without thinking or pausing to wonder how it got this way?

I am in the second week of such a schedule with 4 days left of jam packed commitments.  I have stopped long enough to figure out who did this to me?  Me. Why did I think it was a good idea to have only one day off a week for two weeks in a row and then schedule that day with activities that had to be done. How did this happen? You might understand, another clinic was shorthanded so I offered to pick up a few extra days.  Who hasn’t offered to fill in when needed to help out another person who needed to be off? So how do you survive a schedule that gives little or no time for rest or recovery? How do you get through it? I had time to prepare. I cooked ahead and froze healthy meals. I still make time for exercise even if it is a 15 minute walk. I hold myself to shutting down by brain and computer by a set time at night. I find I need some decompression time before going to sleep, so my brain can wind down from a busy schedule. The good things that come from a busy schedule:

  • I get absolutely clear on what is important or critical to get done
  • It becomes easy to say no to anything extra
  • I have asked for help more often
  • I hold my sleep time as essential
  • I resolve to not allow this packed schedule to happen again

What have you done to hang on when your schedule gets crazy? Do you recognize when you have too much going? How much time to you have to just to nothing? If you have something scheduled for every minute of the day- it might be time to step back and readjust. Just hang on- is a good motto for survival weeks. I prefer to have a daily motto reflects a healthy balance of work, fun and play. What can you do to hold your schedule to reflect what you need in life?

Try blocking out times for you. Amazing things happen when you hold open space for your own life to unfold.

Why Solitude is Important

Have you ever just craved some quiet alone time?

Little girl with a book

I have had two clients last week who brought up the issue of needing some more space and time to themselves. The hectic pace of their lives and the sheer volume of interactions with people in their own home were becoming an irritation instead of a joy. This brought up the discussion of the effect on not getting quiet time as an adult. This I understand. I was the kid who climbed up into a tree to read- so no one would bother or interrupt me. My mom understood this need for quiet time- because she pretended not to notice where I was- even with all three of the family dogs sat patiently under the tree waiting for me. Now I understand the term introvert and how well that fits me.  According to Susan Cain one our of every two or three people out of the population are considered introverts.  Cain has a TED talk and a book-Quiet- on The Power of Introverts. Yet how many quiet spaces are there in your work environment? Most of our work spaces are designed for interaction and extroverts. In a busy household with different schedules and tasks that need doing- where is the quiet conversation? If solitude is part of what matters to you- then finding the time to be quiet is important to your ability to cope with the rest of the day.

What are the benefits of solitude? Solitude allows you to unwind and rest your brain. The absence of stimulation allows your brain to slow down and stop processing information. Solitude gives you time and space to consider your own needs and choices- rather than just going along with the group. It is easier to focus and concentrate on a specific issue or project with no outside distractions. You think more deeply about a topic when you are alone. I consider solitude the antidote to too much outside stimulation. I avoid big box stores partly because of the noise, lights and general level of activity there. Am I a hermit? No. I like social settings with friends where you can talk and interact. I am not as comfortable in a loud, crowded environment where you have to talk over loud music. Solitude for me is a choice that allows be to replenish and recharge my brain, my energy and my emotional levels.  If a quiet space fits your needs- then make choices that give you that space to recharge.

  • Schedule time alone
  • Walk outside at lunch for a change of environment
  • Swimming- or exercise outside can provide solitude
  • Get up early
  • Meditate
  • Pause before you start on weekend projects- enjoy your morning coffee outside

I have found the simple solution for me is to drink one cup of tea alone in my office without doing anything else. Just sitting and doing only one thing is enough to provide a calm  start to my day. This week – be aware of where you can find moments of solitude and enjoy them for what that quiet moment gives back to you.

If you have trouble finding a calm space- contact me for more ideas.

Just Hang On

Have you ever had a week or a series of weeks where your schedule was so packed full that you had to keep moving between events without thinking or pausing to wonder how it got this way?
I am in the second week of such a schedule with 4 days left of jam packed commitments. I have stopped long enough to figure out who did this to me? Me. Why did I think it was a good idea to have only one day off a week for two weeks in a row and then schedule that day with activities that had to be done. How did this happen? You might understand, another clinic was shorthanded so I offered to pick up a few extra days. Who hasn’t offered to fill in when needed to help out another person who needed to be off? So how do you survive a schedule that gives little or no time for rest or recovery? How do you get through it? I had time to prepare. I cooked ahead and froze healthy meals. I still make time for exercise even if it is a 15 minute walk. I hold myself to shutting down by brain and computer by a set time at night. I find I need some decompression time before going to sleep, so my brain can wind down from a busy schedule. The good things that come from a busy schedule:
• I get absolutely clear on what is important or critical to get done
• It becomes easy to say no to anything extra
• I have asked for help more often
• I hold my sleep time as essential
• I resolve to not allow this packed schedule to happen again
What have you done to hang on when your schedule gets crazy? Do you recognize when you have too much going? How much time to you have to just to nothing? If you have something scheduled for every minute of the day- it might be time to step back and readjust. Just hang on- is a good motto for survival weeks. I prefer to have a daily motto reflects a healthy balance of work, fun and play. What can you do to hold your schedule to reflect what you need in life?
Try blocking out times for you. Amazing things happen when you hold open space for your own life to unfold.

Pay Attention

I work with some people, who have memory loss. What I have learned is that activity has to have a function to make sense to my clients. Doing something without a reason or not being able to connect that activity to what they want to do is a flop. So walking outside is enjoyable, tossing a ball is a natural reaction, while lifting leg weights does not have a strong connection to daily needs. What if I took that lesson into my own life? How much time do I spend doing things that make sense and bring purpose to my life? How much of my time is busy time, filling up the space with activity without understanding what it does for me? Do I stop to ask – how does this activity fit into my life’s purpose? A curious exercise would be to start paying attention to the value of how I spend my time. I challenge you to do the same. If you placed a higher value on your time: what things would you do more of and what things would you stop doing? Try making a list- it is amazing the difference when you take ideas out of your head and put them in front of you on paper. Then pay attention to where your time goes and how you spend it. Why am I more careful with my money and so careless with my time?

Don’t Think and Drive

Don’t Think and Drive at the Same Time

It was 5 am in the morning. I was on time for my drive to the airport, all packed and early with plenty of time to make my flight back home. My brain started going through my own check list. What do I need to do when I get home? What did I leave unfinished in NJ? What did I miss that was on the important to do list this trip?  Then, Bam! I realize I just drove right past the airport exit off  I 95. This is not a small exit; it has multiple lanes and many signs for anyone who is not lost inside of their own head. Panic time. I have no idea, no map and no person sitting next to me to help make decisions on how to get back to the airport in a timely manner. So, I do the next best thing and start talking to myself. You have all done this, inside of your head or out loud.

“I can’t believe you missed that exit, what where you thinking? Now what if you miss your flight?” My rationale, calm side jumps in: “Slow down. Start looking around; just take the next exit, other people must miss that exit. There will be other signs. Stop thinking so hard and start looking around.” Now I have an external focus with a clear need to pay attention. Indeed I pick an exit that seems to go in the general direction I guess the airport might be located. There it is a small picture sign of an airplane. Now there is nothing going on in my brain except looking for pictures of airplanes and following the arrows.

Wouldn’t it me nice if all of our choices in life were so clearly marked?  That we actually had physical arrows that pointed out the best choice for all important decisions. Maybe we do have more signs that help us choose and we are too busy inside our heads to look out and see them.

My thoughts for the day:  Be more aware of my surroundings.  Look around and notice what is going on outside of my head. Stay in the moment. Find a quiet place and time for my brain to do mental reviews.

Brain Clutter

Your brain is not a good storage unit; too many good ideas get lost or come up as a distraction when you are in the middle of something else. What I am most bothered by is the concept that I might never get caught up or that my to-do list is endless. What I have tried in the past is to work harder, longer and faster to catch up. That strategy has not worked for me at all. I end up doing nothing because there is too much to do and I cannot imagine where to even begin. I have finally learned to try a new concept to get out of overwhelm. I slow down. I stop and sit and plan out my actions for the day or week instead of frantically doing things.
Try this first step. De-clutter your brain by writing out on paper all of the things you want to get done in a set time. Just write everything that comes into your brain. It helps to write everything on a separate piece of paper so you can organize them later. The main idea is to empty your brain.
Now the easy part is done. Next take every idea and sort by category. Now what I do is to move all the like items together and make piles, files or action lists based on everything I wrote down. It still can get messy. What I find is that getting it all out of my brain really helps me see what I have as projects and what things are easy to click off of my to do list. Try this and see what works best for you.

What is the best use of my time today?

What is the best use of my time today?

How often do we even ask ourselves that question?  If you are tired of running in circles and getting pulled by the needs of other people in your world, try this exercise for a week.

Ask your self these two questions everyday. If I only get one thing done today, what is the most important thing for today?  What is the highest value use of my talent and skills today?

Setting a clear intention and focus for one day at time will help you accomplish the most important things even in the middle of a chaotic day. The second idea is to focus on the things that you do best and create value for you. My biggest challenge in working from home is to not get caught up in doing small tasks around the house instead of productive work on my business.

It would be easy for me to stay busy all day long; my hardest question at the end of the day was my day busy and spent of high value projects or just busy?