3 Questions to Simplify Your Life

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

3 Questions to Simplify Your Life

In my line of healing work, I get to talk to a lot of very smart, resourceful people. One thing many find challenging is feeling that there is not enough time in the day to do the things they need/want to do. This sense of pressure can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, overwhelmed. I’ve been thinking about this because I had the experience of getting stretched too thin earlier this year.

I had made certain professional and personal commitments before the start of the year, but life surprised me by sending some unexpected but welcome blessings my way at the start of 2016. This caused my plate to overflow until I started feeling rushed and over-scheduled. It’s not a feeling I like because I do best when I can take my time with things and be fully present. Like many of you, I am happiest when I get good sleep, have time for leisurely walks, and can enjoy the relaxation of solitude.

So, I decided I needed to shift something. I was doing my practices of meditation, Reiki, yoga, and receiving healing work, so I knew I was doing well with self-care and needed to take a look at eliminating something from my schedule. This was tough because I was loving everything I was doing. But at the end of February, I decided to let go of the Wilderness Basics Course I was in. Even though I loved the two trips I went on and learned a lot from the classes, I decided had learned the essentials and that was good enough for now. I could always take the remaining classes in the future and, in the meantime, still meet my desire to be in nature by going on hikes on my own or with friends.

Making these kinds of decisions can be challenging when we have so many things we enjoy and so many opportunities that life presents us. It requires discipline and detachment to draw boundaries around what we give our time and energy to. A friend of mine shared the phrase “Passion Boundaries” with me. She explained that a beloved mentor of hers had said that we need to learn to say “No” to things…some of which we may love…in order to stay balanced and focused on what is most essential to us.

In a healing session with one of my clients, I found myself sharing this idea and the following three questions came to mind as ones that can help in the process of letting go of something(s) when we find ourselves stretched too thin. Before you put something new on your plate or if you are reviewing what is already there, ask yourself:

1) Does it spark joy?

2) Is there ample room in my life for it?

3) Is it in line with my visions and dreams?

Ideally, the answer to all three questions would be a resounding “Yes!” for something to be given our time and energy. If it’s not, instead of just continuing to pile more on due to a sense of obligation or excitement, we need to be able to pause and look at other options that may be available to us.

For example, if something needs to be done but doesn’t spark joy, we can delegate it or shift our attitude in order to focus on the benefits/blessings it provides. I did both with filing taxes this year. I’ve always done my own taxes, but they get more and more complex with running a business, so immediately after filing them, I sought out an accounting firm to take care of my taxes in the future, which will save me a great deal of time and energy. I also felt gratitude for all I learned in doing them myself thus far and great appreciation for all the resources/support the government provides as I sent my check to the treasury. The shift in attitude and plan for future time/energy savings left me feeling happy and encouraged.

The answer to questions 2 and 3 really must be a “Yes” for something to be welcomed into our lives. It’s too easy to attempt to squeeze another thing in and end up feeling frantic and frazzled. It takes awareness and discipline to say “No” in order to leave more room in our lives for rest and for things that are most important. It means some things have to be put on hold or released entirely. It also means we have to be very clear on what our visions and dreams are and to have the courage to commit wholeheartedly to them.

Next time you are tempted to add another thing to your calendar, ask yourself if doing so will still leave you with enough breathing room in your day and if what you’re adding truly is in line with the life you want to create for yourself. If either answer is “No,” seriously consider leaving it out or letting go of something else to make room for it. In a world where it is so easy to get overstimulated/distracted and one in which we have come to expect immediate gratification and think everything is of the greatest urgency, it requires courage and patience to begin questioning those thought and habit patterns.

Because we get a hit of adrenaline when we are rushing or when we get something done, over-doing and over-scheduling easily become addictive habits. It can be quite uncomfortable to begin changing such habits, but it is so empowering to take back our time and be more protective of our life force energy. They are, after all, two of our greatest resources. As we become more intentional and mindful of how we use our time and energy, we can experience a greater sense of peace and live in a more healthy, sustainable way that leads to less stress and more joy.

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