Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My family and I just returned from a fabulous trip to the Big Bend National Park area.

This remote 800,000 acre national park is one of the most diverse and unusual—mountains/desert/river all in one area—and one of the least visited. You are literally “out there” on the border of Texas/Mexico. The area is very sparsely populated and it can take hours just to drive from one hiking trail or hot spring to another.

I love Big Bend because it’s very quiet (we could hear a hawk’s wings thunderously flapping as he flew through the still, monstrous Santa Elena Canyon). And at night, very dark (it’s recorded one of the darkest spots in the US). And, the few people who actually choose to live in this wild natural setting, are wonderfully eccentric.

I also love going out to Big Bend because the experience caused me to question time: how I do it, how I experience it and how self-imposed our ideas about time actually are.

I remember years ago a photography teacher stopped me dead in my tracks after I apologized for not being able to come in early for an evening printmaking session, due to my work schedule. He challenged me by saying it was my choice. I thought he was just trying to be a jerk and then it hit me—oh yeah, I do choose how to spend my time. Every minute of it and how fast or slow I choose to go.

We slowed way down during our trip. You had to (heck, it took an hour just to drive to pick up a six pack of Tecate). And I loved the pace.

During the trip, I was flooded with creative ideas, deeply symbolic dreams, inspirations about my work and was able to have some seismic shifts about how I see things ...because I was so slowed down. (Creativity experts write extensively about how when we move into the more playful/free flowing hemisphere of our brain, we are able to access our best ideas and solutions.)

Even though many would consider my current lifestyle and work pace to be steady—but not crazy—I’m realizing it’s still too fast for me.

So as I return to work and to the fullest time of year for my businesses (due to events, speaking gigs, retreats, Mother’s Day partnerships, etc.), I’m going to challenge how I “do” time.

When I start feeling that “I have so much to do, I’m never going to get it all done” springtime rush that comes when I look at piles of emails, requests for help, phone calls and to-do lists, I’m going to pause.

Maybe it can wait until tomorrow or next month? Maybe I can ask for help? Maybe this activity is really not the best use of my time? Or maybe, if I don’t do it all, it won’t make a bit of difference. Other than, I’ll be left calmer, happier and feeling more akin to the tortoise than the hare.

P.S. Interested in gathering monthly with other women who are interested in slowing down and living life from the “inside out?” Consider starting/joining a Personal Renewal Group in your community? Hundreds of groups are meeting around the US/Canada and Europe for moms/women at all life stages and more are starting each week. I also invite you to slow down and take time to really nurture yourself at my upcoming Spring Self-Renewal Retreat at The Crossings, April 24-26.

The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance, comes out weekly. Subscribe here. For more information on Renee’s upcoming events, click here.
Photos: Santa Elena Canyon and sun setting over the Christmas mountains, Renee Trudeau.

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