In our busy day to day lives, one of the biggest neglects is taking time out to pause – to just fall still. This may seem like a very counter intuitive thing to do, especially when you are so busy. But I assure you, taking a time out to pause is critical to physical health, emotional health and spiritual well being.
Most of your busyness is what I call treadmill busyness – lots of movement but not really getting anywhere. Chances are you merely repeat the same tasks today that you did yesterday and the day before that. And tomorrow will be more of the same. Your life is lived on autopilot, by default; constantly running on that treadmill!
I usually say to my busier than busy clients either you consciously stop and take an emotional time out or life will cause you to pause. When life has to step in, I can promise it won’t be so pretty. Only when a crisis moment strikes, are we then forced to stop – because we have no other choice. By then, it is usually too late and you cannot access your normal coping strategies because you are spiraling out of control.
I recommend three simple yet essential spiritual practices that will not only allow you to take a time out to fall still but also will help you gain more clarity, focus and energy in your life.
1. STOP. Simply stop – stop doing and just be. It is said that stopping is a spiritual act, though you may see it as doing nothing. Well, that’s the point – don’t just do something, sit there! You have heard the old adage stop and smell the roses? This is truly profound wisdom. Stopping allows you to notice – to notice your next right action to take, instead of acting on impulse or reacting.
2. Take a breath. Yes, I know you are breathing already, but you are breathing unconsciously or involuntarily. Try breathing on purpose and see how it feels. Conscious breathing is a practice that brings you back to center and back to this present moment. Most of life is not only lived unconsciously, but also lived worrying about the future or regretting the past. It is time to shift into this present moment – the only moment you have any power over.
3. Ask a compelling question. Once you can stop and take a breath, you can then ask yourself some important and crucial questions, such as:
- Is what I am doing right now moving me closer to the life I truly want to live? Why or why not?
- What is the next small action I can take to create the life of my desires?
- Am I being of service to those around me – family friends, acquaintances – by my constant busyness? Why or why not?
Only when you can fall still, stop, take a breath and ask some compelling questions can you truly begin to create a life lived by design and not by default.