Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Benefits of Slowing Down

My six-week writing sabbatical devoted to Everyday Spirituality is winding down as my family and I prepare to head to the Olympic Peninsula before my little one starts first grade later this month.

The experience has given me so many things to reflect on and be grateful for (and yes, a great idea did come to me as a result of all of my research/writing—but, I’m going to sit with it for a bit and see if I am guided to move on it ...if I learned anything from writing my fist book, it’s that you can’t push something if the idea and the timing are not ripe).

Slowing down my pace and devoting four hours a day to a theme that deeply intrigued and excited me—illuminated that even as an entrepreneur, coach/consultant, mom and recovering over-achiever:

· I can actually DO LESS and ACHIEVE MORE, even though this seems contrary to everything we’re taught in the U.S.
· The quality of my work has the capacity to be richer and deeper AND I’m more effective/efficient when I’m not multi-tasking to the extreme
· Delegating and saying “no” more is THE key to creating more spaciousness and flow in my life (but yes, I have to let go!)
· We ALL underestimate what we're capable of accessing when we have time and space to go deeper within ourselves and dive into the creative well
· I am able to become acutely aware of my own rhythms (how and when I “work best”) and creative projects have a timeline of their own!
· Peace first: starting my day in silence (whether that’s for prayer/mediation or reflection) sets the tone for the entire day and is a necessity for me
· It’s helpful to question my motivation for doing things—“Is this something I truly want to do or am I saying yes from a sense of obligation?” particularly when it comes to social or volunteer stuff
· When I move too fast—I miss magical moments: facial expressions, comments made in passing, our environment, gifts from nature, opportunities to support those I care about
· When you make it a priority to FIRST dedicate a chunk of your daily “work time” to something that feeds you, necessary work tasks become easier to handle (you’ve been fed, now you’re ready to give!)
· It’s important for me to stay open and sometimes “goal—less”—goals are great, but often then can limit you or stand in the way of you experiencing something you had never imagined
· Self-awareness comes when we have space to reflect/be objective—the more clearly we can recognize our patterns, the easier it is to release them
· The tighter we hold things, the more “stuck” we stay—when we loosen our grip and feel more spacious/relaxed, solutions to complex problems miraculously appear
· You’re more aware of synchronicities when your pace is slower: you are attuned to your intuition AND actually able to hear and respond to gentle those gentle nudgings we all receive
· You become more accepting: wherever you are, there you are (read my last blog posting on ACCEPTANCE)
· You feel more grateful when you slow down (I’ve been writing two thank you notes a week this month to people who have blessed my life ... the more grateful I act, the more grateful I feel and so on and so on)

I am very glad I created the space on my calendar six months ago to make this sabbatical possible. Moving forward, the challenge of course is how to balance BEING (staying present, mindful, in the flow) with DOING (our work, taking action, being results-oriented). I’m sure you’ve heard the popular truth “We are human beings—not human doings!”

I know this see-sawing can be hard—very hard—and a life-long challenge for most of us. And, we also all realize, we wouldn’t be able to launch businesses, manage huge projects at work or write books if weren’t engaging both the DOING and the BEING.

I intend to integrate these insights into my daily routine this fall. And most importantly, remember that “Life is not a thing to be managed, it’s a mystery to be lived.” Amen. I think we’d all agree we need more time to live in and explore the mysteries of life. And I believe for this to happen, we all need to slow down.

Safe travels this month if you’re heading for cooler climate. I’ll share some photos from our visit to the rainforest/Olympic National Forest when I return. Shalom.

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The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.

Photo: East coast of Ireland; Trudeau's summer 2007 trip.

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