How well do you know yourself? I have done lots of self-help exploration, therapy and coaching, and I am amazed that I can still discover things I don’t know about myself. For example, I’m at the beach with my mother. I just happened to schedule our trip on the week of the East Coast Surfing Championship. So, there are surfers everywhere! It’s been such fun to watch the surfing, see the surfers hauling their boards to and from the water, cramming boards into elevators, and riding bikes with boards in their arms.
As I’ve observed the surfers I’ve noticed similarities among surfers, and have become fascinated with deciphering the “type” of person who is drawn to surfing. What I’ve seen so far is that males dominate the sport. Most are young, slender, physically fit (great bodies!), medium height, and they have great balance and persistence. This is a sport dominated by young, athletic, focused, independent men who are not deterred by being knocked down by waves. They keep getting back up over and over again, perfecting their technique. Surfers are not quitters. They fall. They get back up. I wonder how this translates into the rest of their lives. What effect does that level of commitment to their sport have in their personal and professional lives?
At the risk of putting a few of you off because of the religious reference, I offer you a lovely poem I found among my mother’s papers when I was clearing out her desk. It’s so interesting that these words were a comfort to my mother, that she too probably struggled with the never ending pull of things to do. Of course, she was a mother and that comes with the territory!
I hope you find these words give you permission to take your foot off the gas pedal and take time for more pauses, quiet and reflection. The best inspiration and guidance comes through in the quiet moments!
Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations–slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend,
to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book.
Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to sink my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.
©1992 Creators Syndicate
Last weekend I was at Randolph College, formerly Randolph-Macon Women’s College, the college where I earned a B.A. 36 years ago. I was there to speak at the annual reunion about using feng shui to clear clutter. It’s always a trip back in time for me when I return to Randy-Mac. I look back to the days when I walked this campus as an insecure young woman trying to figure out what really mattered and think, “Wow! I’ve come so far!”
One of the things I was able to do there was choose what I wanted to study. I chose to attend Randolph-Macon because at the time of my admission I had much more freedom to choose classes that interested me than at other colleges. In so doing I discovered a love for art history and was able to reconnect with my love of art. When I chose a class that I didn’t like and that it didn’t resonate with my interests, I was able to drop it and pick up another that was a better fit. That freedom was the starting point of a lifelong practice of choosing to expend my time and energy in studies, activities and work that feed me, that resonate with what I love and value. When I stay in alignment with what matters most to me, life is good.
What began here at Randolph-Macon Women’s College has led me to self-employment (something that was never on my radar when in college), to work that feeds my soul and makes a positive difference in my life and the lives of the people I touch through writing, clutter clearing and coaching, and to a way of living that keeps me curious and excited about the unfolding adventure of each day.
The freedom to choose in accordance with your interests, values, needs and passions is life giving and life enhancing. Are you using your freedom to choose what matters most? Are you happy with the life you are living? When you are happy with your life, clear about what matters to you and able to go for it, you are better equipped and are more likely to be motivated to make all areas of your space and life look and feel good–to keep out mental, physical and emotional clutter and eliminate blocks to happiness.
When I was growing up I was taught that the way to do life was to work from goal to goal, ever advancing yourself to make more money. I worked that way for about 37 years before I discovered that I was on the wrong path. Money doesn’t float my boat. Yes, it’s a necessity for survival in our world, but it’s a commodity, a tool, not an end in itself. How sad that we’ve come to define life success in terms of our net worth rather than our true contribution to humanity–the quality of our character and our efforts toward a greater good.
We value achievement and financial success over integrity, making a difference and loving behavior. How sad and limiting.
I’ve not been a financial “success.” I have been successful in many other ways, but not for success sake. I’ve been on a journey, guided to evolve from a clueless soul in need of love to a strong wise woman who can love and be loved, who walks through this world guided by the intention to be a loving source of energy in all encounters.
I have goals and accomplish many of them. But my goals are just steps on a path that is my life, my journey. I don’t figure everything out before taking action. I’ve learned that it’s more important to just take the next right step. When I do, what I need to know is revealed to me. By doing things that way I rarely stay hung up in indecision for long.
Don’t get me wrong. Life has not been a piece of cake for me. I’ve not wandered easily from step to step. But, even in those difficult moments of uncertainly when clarity seems impossible, if I wait and remain aware of all that is going on around me and in me, the answers come. Living life this way has made my life more of an interesting adventure than an arduous journey.
Would I like to generate more money from my business? You bet! Does my success as a human being depend on it? No way! As long as I am learning and growing and moving forward with a curious, loving attitude in everything I do, I am a success.