Are you reading as fast as you can? Or do you wish you could read it even faster, be more efficient, gather more information, and return your every last email within 24 hours?
How many unread emails do you have have in your inbox at this very moment? I have 259 and that is really GOOD for me. Oops – two more just slid in bringing it up to 261!
We think that the solution to getting more done is to do more, be faster, be more efficient and multitask. The truth is that when we race white knuckled along, we are not only less efficient, but less present. And when we are less present, we are actually less engaged in our experiences and clear about our choices.
Alignment is clarity in motion.
I know how you feel…I do the same thing.
Most mornings I stand barefoot at my kitchen island, the TV locked into a familiar news show, checking my emails while my daughter makes her breakfast smoothie with the blender swirling at high speed. Cat rubbing against my legs, I am reminded to fill her bowl, and my son’s alarm can be heard freezing as he presses snooze for the third time. By 6:30 am, as I flip the laundry into the dryer, I can already feel the cortisol flooding my body as my brain scrambles to organize my day, and I check in with my kids confirming after school activities and syncing schedules. Did just reading this raise your blood pressure? So sorry. Maybe a deep inhale and exhale would help.
I am on the ground and in the trenches, friendly trenches though they may be. And full disclosure, the stunner is that I still don’t feel like I am doing enough.
And then it happened! One morning I just pushed my own personal snooze button on all the alarms and all the noise and I went for a walk. I went down to the beach – my happy place – and just took a deep breath and let the tide and the salty sea-breeze take my exhale out to sea.
I took my own personal retreat. I staked my white flag into the sand. I lifted my arms overhead palms wide and surrendered. I did absolutely nothing for an hour…and it felt absolutely amazing. And I wondered, if one hour of retreat could feel this great – what about two hours, or a day, or two days, or a week….
My head cleared. My heart rate slowed down. My breath deepened. I could see all the things around me with more clarity and perspective. I felt more aligned. I could see simple solutions where before there was just anxiety. I could let go my grasp of things that really didn’t matter where before everything was five alarm urgent. It felt like a teaspoon of medicine, and I didn’t even need sugar to get it down, it was the sugar!
And then I realized, and it was so simple. Sometimes you have to stand high on top of a mountain to see those things closest to you with perspective.
Maybe the solution to doing anything better is to do less, not more.
Your mountain could be a walk with your dog, a yoga class, a short guided meditation, a massage, a dance around your living room to your favorite Beyonce song, or a weekend away with good friends. Your mountain can be as dramatic as the Alps, or as friendly as a Cape Cod dune. But it needs to be a place where the air is clear and the view has no edges. A place where you can see past the details into the truth. A place where the horizon between time and space is blurred and soft. A place if you need to let out a whopping holler of pain or joy, no one will judge. A place where for all intrinsic purposes, you feel safe.
Try it. Today take your own personal retreat – five minutes or five hours. Pick a sugar mountain and climb it to the top.
What did you do and where did you go (or not?) Let me know. I would love to hear from you.