We are all so busy with life: our work, family, and hobbies. My job is very noisy. I’m a teacher in an elementary/middle school and the hallways are filled with children yelling and laughing from very early morning until late afternoon. My students and I have lively discussions and then there are meetings after school. My fellow teacher (and friend!) and I are also sponsoring the school talent show – another boisterous endeavor.
When I get home, my husband and I discuss our day, my kids practice violin and tell us about their day. It’s all good, but…it’s challenging – to say the least – to get some quiet time. And I LOVE, love, love quiet time.
In addition to walking my dog after work and walking in middle of the day, I have started mini-meditations. In mini-meditation, I focus on my breathing. This might last 60 seconds or three minutes. I also meditate for 8 minutes in the morning right after waking.
Eckhart Tolle suggests the mini-meditations throughout the day in order to incorporate it as part of your “real” life and not as a compartmentalized portion of one’s life.
It makes sense.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve started this practice of incorporating space into my day, I am experiencing spontanenous moments of peace within chaos. Where I used to feel anxious or stressed, I feel calm and centered.
A co-worker of mine constantly tells me she needs to make a change in her life. She tells me she needs to exercise and lose weight because she has children and she needs to be a good role model. I just listen. She’s been saying this all year. I know she will take action when she’s ready.
By “ready,” I mean, “fed up.” Isn’t that really how you get motivated? You take action and make changes when you’re “fed up” with how you’ve been living.
She made a good point, though. Her life is not just hers. She affects her children enormously. Her health and well-being necessarily influence them. If she’s at her best, she can give more.
Research shows that your physical health is optimum when you are satisfied in all of the following areas:
Identifying our “weak” area can lead to the most effective goal setting.
Our daughter played in a symphonic concert tonight. She’s almost 14 and is very active in several orchestras at the moment. The symphonic group she played in tonight celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. This group is a district group, including all the kids in the city who audition and make it. The kids then come to three different rehearsals of 2 hours each. They perform in the local Ikeda Theater for parents and friends. Admission is free.
Wayne Roederer started this program 50 years ago. He has conducted and started many programs and just retired two years ago. He conducted one of the groups and spoke to the parents, his voice breaking with emotion. “It was a joyous experience for me,” he said, “to work with your children. It was well worth missing Judge Judy for several days.” We all laughed.
The kids played with pride. They moved to the music.
Afterwards, we spoke with him. We congratulated him and told him how we appreciate his work. He said that he has worked with children who grew up to be adults who started orchestra programs of their own and now those kids have grown and are starting programs…
What might appear to be his legacy at first glance: the kids he worked with directly…is much more than that. This man has literally influenced thousands of people.
One man. An idea. And many helpful hands, parent volunteers and eager students. That’s all it took.
You are one person. You have an idea. Start building it…people will help you.
Confession: Once in awhile, I fantasize about selling EVERYTHING I own and taking just the essentials in a backpack and trekking across country.
Reality: I’m a mom of two teenage girls and a 6 year old dog. I’m also a wife and a teacher. I have too many responsibilities. But I’ve always been a fan of simplicity and this year, as I approach 50, I’m more determined than ever to pare down every part of my life to the bare esssentials. Why? Because – and I’m speaking for just myself here – I believe living a minimalistic life is a path to true happiness.
Biggest Challenge: I have a family. I can’t – and won’t – get rid of their things.
Method: I’m a fan of slow. Slow and sure. Every weekend, I fill a bag or two of things to donate. I’m careful with grocery shopping. I freeze excess and rarely throw anything away. I’ve been purchasing books on Kindle and in thrift stores. My bookshelves contain only the books I am passionate about.
Whenever I download “stuff,” I feel so light and free!
Did you know it’s been scientifically proven that celebrating small celebrations and experiencing fun times frequently vs. celebrating big achievements and taking big vacations less frequently will lead to more happiness?
How can you celebrate and insert small moments of joy frequently in your life?
You don’t have to own anything material to feel life is abundant.
I walked my dog this afternoon. Cacti were blooming fire orange flowers. Wildflowers of purple and yellow were sprayed everywhere. Insects and birds were busy working.
If you can find joy in wildflowers and nature around you, then no one can take that feeling of abundance from you.
I’m a teacher with a limited income. (How’s that for redundant?)
I contribute to my retirement funds, pay my bills, pay for my daughters’ violins, symphony fees and lessons. After that, I don’t have much left. And I don’t feel like I can treat myself to a manicure or purse. I just put the little morsels in savings, paycheck after paycheck.
But I’ve been finding myself feeling a bit empty. Do you know how Stephen Covey says you need to be mindful of emotional bank accounts in your relationships? I believe this pertains to the relationship you have with yourself, as well.
I decided to invest in myself and I have not felt this good in a very long time. I’m taking a class. It’s not cheap. But I believe it will help me achieve a lot more than if I didn’t take it. I feel empowered. Invigorated. Optimistic.
It might take just a small visit to a cupcake shop. It might mean you check yourself into a local hotel for a night or two to have peace and quiet to work on your screenplay. Or maybe it’s time for you to pursue that degree you’ve always dreamed of. Only you know for sure what will make a deposit into your own emotional bank account. But do it. Do what it takes. It will not only raise your spirits, but it’ll raise the spirits of those you love and who love you.
Two days ago, a car was t-boned right in front of me. My daughter was with me, sitting in the front passenger seat. The car flipped and landed upside down just 8 feet from my car. When it was in the air, I thought it might land on us. It didn’t. I realized at that moment – life is really short and unpredictable. When you’re on your deathbed, will you have regrets? That would be the saddest thing of all. It’s up to you. What are you waiting for?