Tag Archives: stress

“Waste” Some Time

Dandelion at Sunset

Carlie is  an  over-achieving teenager. She’s  driven to excel academically, athletically and socially. She has trouble with that word “relax.”  But in a moment of clarity, she wowed me with this:

“I would like to know my future to see if I’m wasting my time, because if I am wasting my time, I want to waste it better.”

It’s sad that a stressed-out state can feel normal to us, so much so that it feels wrong to  be free of it.  Let’s face it, our culture values and encourages busyness over taking time to smell the roses. Busyness is easily equated with productivity, purposefulness and meaningfulness. To do otherwise is  deemed wasting one’s time.

This is all wrong! Squirrels are incessantly busy—aimlessly darting here and there—but I wouldn’t necessarily call that busyness productive, purposeful or much less meaningful. The same applies to us humans.

In contrast, soaking up  a sunset can be one of the most productive, purposeful  and meaningful things we can do.

It’s not a waste of time to waste some time!

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality

2 Comments

Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

Rehearsing for a Harried Lifestyle

yoga crazy man

This is the extent of my thoughts on stress:  My life’s much too stressful for getting stressed out. I don’t have time for it. ~Salee

That said, I once wrote a column about an overachieving teenager, Jamie. You can read about her story here. In that column I pointed out that:

Young overachievers are rehearsing for a harried lifestyle. What’s amusing and ironic is that several years down the road these same people will be told—probably due to health problems—that a major course correction is in order. In their stress management, yoga or meditation classes, they’ll cultivate the ability to pace themselves and take time out to smell the roses. They’ll also learn that the way they’ve been conditioned—behaving like crazed hamsters on an ever-spinning wheel—is all wrong. It’s not how life should be lived. A lifestyle that creates high anxiety and ulcers cannot be healthy or happy.

Here’s a quote by William James:  “The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.” That statement tells me two things—first, I’m not even close to genius status, and second, William James wasn’t born in this century or the last.

Let me know what you think. Till next time!

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free, Parenting

Perfection Is Highly Overrated!

babies

Relinquish the need to be perfect. Effort is perfection.

Imagine a roomful of babies all trying to perfect the skill of walking. What we witness is a lot of bumping into things and falling down. We don’t expect babies to get it right immediately—we don’t scold them for failing in their attempts. No. Instead, we’re warmly amused by the sight. So why are we hard on ourselves and each other for not getting it right? Babies need practice. So do we.

This is what I explained to Lorena, 24, who has a tendency to judge herself for being imperfect. She has judged herself for things like making mistakes on her new job,  not following her diet faithfully, and for getting less than an A in her classes at college.

perfectionism2

I gave her some strange advice: “If you get a C, regard it as a victory.”

Confusion was written all over her face.

“I say that because for you, an A is intimately connected to self-acceptance. It will mean progress for you when you feel self-acceptance no matter what—even when you’re less than perfect.”

Not long ago, Lorena gave me an update on her progress. She had written a report for school and instead of obsessively perfecting it “I told myself it was good enough.” For Lorena, that’s progress. 

 good enough

4 Comments

Filed under Client of the Week, Contemplations, Get Free

Caring for Our Soul

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I spent an exciting week on Cape Cod! The adventure included a five-day seminar led by Thomas Moore entitled Psychotherapy, Spirituality and the Soul.  (Not to worry … the sessions were over  at noon every day. The rest of the day was play!)

Thirteen years in the monastery seasoned his  wisdom, but so did his experience as a university professor and a psychotherapist for 35 years.

He’s written several best-selling books including Care of the Soul and the recently released Care of  the Soul in Medicine. A large measure of  his work has entailed illuminating the connection between our psychological self and our soul. He doesn’t see a separation between the two. In fact, on the first day of  the seminar, he explained that psycho is a Greek word meaning soul. So it’s no surprise that he maintains that psychotherapy should be invested in the caring for the soul. I agree.

Moore described the soul as “who we are at our depths.” He had more to say about it which is summarized well in Care of the Soul. Here it is:

“Soul is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance. I do not use  the word here as an object of  religious  belief or  as something to do with immortality.”

Moore points out that the soul is usually hidden from view—from our surface consciousness. Details  of everyday life, such as filling out forms, driving to work, fixing lunch, parenting kids, cleaning the bathroom and heading off the onslaught of constant problems, prove distracting.

All of these things can rob us of our peace,  trigger  anxiety, disrupt relationships and make us unhappy. Such symptoms, Moore says, are ways our soul communicates to us. If we listen closely while emptying our mind of preconceptions, we’ll discover what we truly want and need.

I have a personal example of how stress  was my soul’s method  of communication.

Picture this: You’re sitting in the passenger seat, whizzing down the road at 75 miles per hour, passing and being passed by cars, trucks and anything else that might be coming down the toll road. And what are you doing? You’re trying to write the next post for your blog. The words aren’t  coming … not even a topic!

That was me coming home from  the seminar. My friend, Don, was driving.

After four hours of driving, we decided it was time to take a break. We stopped at a lush picnic area. No highway bustle or noise here—just tranquility.

With the green of nature all  around us, we sat quiet for several minutes—soaking it up, rather letting it soak us up. The key was in the letting.

The birds  were singing. A cat wandered along a nearby path. The breeze was cooling …  I knew I was experiencing what it means to be attuned to my soul—what it means to  care for the soul.

Through that experience, I learned firsthand that solutions—call them soulutions—aren’t about changing or fixing things on  the outside of us, but on  the inside. A shift.

When it was time to head back to the car, I took the lush oasis with  me. As a result, the words—for the blog—came with ease, and the topic was a no-brainer.

I welcome  your thoughts.

2 Comments

Filed under Contemplations, General Interest, Get Free

The Latest Wow: Waste Your Time

Dandelion at Sunset

Carlie is  an  over-achieving teenager. She’s  driven to excel academically, athletically and socially. She has trouble with that word “relax.”  But in a moment of clarity, she wowed me with this:

“I would like to know my future to see if I’m wasting my time, because if I am wasting my time, I want to waste it better.”

It’s sad that a stressed-out state can feel normal to us, so much so that it feels wrong to  be free of it.  Let’s face it, our culture values and encourages busyness over taking time to smell the roses. Busyness is easily equated with productivity, purposefulness and meaningfulness. To do otherwise is  deemed wasting one’s time.

This is all wrong! Squirrels are incessantly busy—aimlessly darting here and there—but I wouldn’t necessarily call that busyness productive, purposeful or much less meaningful. The same applies to us humans.

In contrast, soaking up  a sunset can be one of the most productive, purposeful  and meaningful things we can do.

Let’s get busy wasting some time!

Names are changed to honor client confidentiality

Leave a comment

Filed under Get Free, The Latest Wow!