Restore: Managing the White Space on Your Calendar

We’ve all done it. Come on… admit it.   You’ve spent a day on the couch, reading, watching TV, napping.

But, how do we know if we are restoring ourselves or just procrastinating?

“What is the difference?” you say, “At the end of the day, I got nothing done and I’m still behind.”

Here is what I’ve observed, in myself. If I am procrastinating than I feel an excess level of guilt about the things I should be doing. And the things I stress the most about are the things I want to do the least. Sometimes accompanied by thoughts around “But WHY do I have to do this? How will it improve things?” You remember the homework days, right?

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Procrastination is defined as the putting off of something intentionally and habitually. It carries the implication of laziness or apathy.  It is often associated with the avoidance of an undesirable task: laundry, a term paper, paying bills when money is tight.

But what about the downtime of recharging and restoration? Should we avoid it, feel guilty if we take time off to do nothing “important”?

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I work for a major bank as a platform banker during the day. I am that person you go to about opening a checking account, applying for a loan, when your account or card information has been stolen, when you have spent more than you have in your account.  It is an energy demanding job.

Most days I can come home and after some transitioning with mail opening, dinner, kitchen cleaning; I can focus on the things that I believe will shape my next five years.  I have blocked out my time for reading, writing, studying. Meeting with peers and clients for accountability and coaching.

Then there are those other evenings.  Like the wood in my fireplace I could not get ignited.  There were things that I wanted to do. But I was beset by a nagging tiredness.  I WANTED to do things but couldn’t work up the get up and go.  It wasn’t a physical tiredness, it was mental. My brain said STOP!

So, I park myself in my favorite chair or on the couch and channel surf. Nothing looks particularly exciting, so I settle on one of the Hallmark Channels where the plots are sweet and unlikely to damage neurons.  What is your go-to must-watch?

Or perhaps it is a long walk by myself, with or with earbuds. In my ears, I might be listening to either music or a fun fiction novel.

One of the things I have learned as I have grown older is that downtime is necessary and an important task in and of itself.

When we are in our twenties, just starting out, making a name and a life for ourselves, there was no time for downtime. We work, we study, we play hard. We get home at 4 AM and are back at our desks before 9 AM ready to do it all again. And the years rush by, often without a thought as to where we are going.

Then comes the day when we ask “Why am I doing this? Why don’t I feel fulfilled or feel joy?”

Hopefully, we find that quiet café where we can sit and read for fun. Or it might be the walking trail that mutes the noise of life with that shady tree to sit under and listen to nature, to our thoughts.

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To learn to be in the moment before the moment has passed.

I know that when I do my mind relaxes and wanders down corridors of purpose, goals and focus. And because I have learned the value of restoration…. I let it wander and observe where it goes.

And, if we truly listen, to embrace the wisdom of the quiet moments, we rise restored.

We can find ourselves.

I call it the white space in the calendar. Those blocks of time from 15 minutes to hours when you set aside commitments, the to-do list, and the rabbit hole of social media to just be.

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Guess you can see why I’m pretty sure art is not part of my life purpose.

While it is CLEARLY not one of my gifts, I do have a HUGE appreciation for those who can create images that inspire and bring joy.

 

Where do you go for restoration? What do you do to find that meditative space and reconnect with your core energy?

No whites space? Do your real self a favor and create some.

Share your white space experience with us in the comments.

 

Walking the Talk on the Boardwalk; TEDx Asbury Park 2018 Pt 1

What’s your passion?

I am a Jersey Girl and spent many summers of my youth on the storied boardwalk. I rode the Carousel, jumped over the waves, dug in the wet sand in search of treasure, and peeked into Madame Marie’s hoping to get a glimpse of the mysterious psychic.

For me, Asbury Park carries deep energy and resonates today with the passion of the people who came before and the ones that are the present and future. But it remains a city struggling with its identity and the racial and social issues that have marred its potential.

Now, I spend time there with family and friends enjoying the beach, the food, the music , the arts and the vibe.

On Saturday May 19, I attended the TEDx talks at the historic Paramount Theater in Asbury Park, NJ.

This year’s theme…. PASSION

TEDx Passion was a day long event that gave voice to 20 speakers and performers. Over several posts interspersed between others in the coming months, I will be sharing my thoughts and reactions to just a few of the amazing speakers I had the honor of experiencing.

Some I already knew, like the music of Emily Grove, Arlan Feiles, and JT Bowen.  If you are not familiar with them, find them online and listen. If you are fortunate enough to be able to see them perform live… GO.

Arlan appeared twice. First with JT Bowen where they shared their voices in songs that inspired and uplifted the audience. Then Arlan returned to the stage alone with his keyboard, the large screen, the story of his song Viola, and the woman who inspired it.

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Viola Liuzzo was a mother of five, wife and deeply passionate woman and activist who lived in Michigan. In 1965, she followed her passion an answered the call for social justice and joined Dr. King and others on the March from Selma to Montgomery. On the drive back, she was assassinated by the Ku Klux Klan. She is the only known white woman to be murdered by the Klan. She was 39 years old.

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In an age where we are facing so many challenges, where the fight for equality is far from over in this country and around the world, Arlan’s song reminds us of what has happened and what still needs to be done, of a woman for whom her purpose and passion for justice and a better world was worth risking and losing her life.

Listen to Arlan’s song Viola, here.

We are not all called to lay down our lives for a purpose, but we are all called to seek our purpose and passion and live it.

Do you know your purpose and passion? Are you seeking it?  Share your thoughts in the comments. Share this with others so that they can experience Arlan’s music and Viola’s story.

The Only Thing Certain is…. YOU

How do you handle change?

Point Reach Coaching

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

~~~ Frank Herbert

The only thing certain is change.  We hear it and nod in agreement. But when it arrives, we sometimes curl up in a ball or deny its existence. We often resist change in either obvious or subtle ways. That is human inertia

Inertia is the tendency to of an object to resist any change in motion or direction. In the physical world, it is why your groceries fly off the back seat when you hit the brakes too forcefully. The car has stopped its forward…

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The Only Thing Certain is…. YOU

I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

~~~ Frank Herbert

 

The only thing certain is change.  We hear it and nod in agreement. But when it arrives, we sometimes curl up in a ball or deny its existence. We often resist change in either obvious or subtle ways. That is human inertia

Inertia is the tendency to of an object to resist any change in motion or direction. In the physical world, it is why your groceries fly off the back seat when you hit the brakes too forcefully. The car has stopped its forward motion, but the groceries have not.  Your cell phone flies off the dashboard when you hit the gas because the car is moving but the phone is not.

So, we and, more importantly, our thoughts and therefore our actions are subject to inertia. Our jobs or relationships are moving in the wrong direction (too much stress, too little pay, long hours, …), yet we stay in the same job or relationship. We find all kinds of reasons (read excuses).  I have bills to pay. Or, my favorite, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Fear creates inertia.

I once worked for a company that had an extremely toxic environment.  They had acquired my employer. Having been there for many years and being a good networker, I had acquaintances in a broad number of locations. I heard the same complaints from many of them. They told me they hated coming to work, it was impacting their health, and their families. When I asked what they were going to do about it, I heard many of the statements I listed above. Some are still with this company and still unhappy.

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I agreed with their complaints. But, unlike them, I began looking for options outside that employer. Little did I know at the time that coming from this employer was not a feather in your cap.  But finally, I had had enough, my health, my relationships and, most importantly, my integrity were suffering. I resigned.

I had no new job and the word on the street was that this employer would challenge your unemployment claim if your resigned so “don’t bother applying”. So, I took a part-time job at a local supermarket slicing cold cuts.  Some people in my life were astounded… two masters degrees and you are doing this?

But I had to DO something until I found something. I could not let fear of change keep me in a toxic job. I could not let fear of what other people thought keep me stalled. When things are in a bad place, having and executing a plan keeps me focused and positive.

Fear is natural and understandable. It is human instinct that allowed our ancestors to survive by recognizing a threat to our existence. In our ancestor’s brain fear triggered a fight or flight response. When faced with a threat (a large raging carnivore or angry human), it heightened their awareness so that they could instantaneously decide if the threat could be fought and defeated or should they exit rapidly to fight another day.

Modern man cannot just club another human over the head (at least not without serious legal consequences) and it is difficult to physically run from a modern threat. So instead, we may internalize the fear response, over and over again. It becomes the voice in our head that keeps us frozen in place, the mind killer.  It becomes the inner critic, the Gremlin, that whispers:

“Why try, it won’t work.”

“People will laugh at you, if you do _______”

“If you want someone to like/love you, you won’t do that.”

We are often too close it to see the Gremlin.

If we are going to truly live the life we want, have the fulfillment and success we want, we must break past the fear, the inner voice that says stop.   Are you ready to take yourself or your business to the next level? Are you at a crossroads and feel something is holding you back?

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Have you been there? Are you there now? Share in Comments

The Cat and the River

How did I get here and where to from here? Questions I think any self-aware person asks themselves with a fair amount of frequency.

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“Cheshire Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cheshire Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Ah, the wisdom of Lewis Carroll. Five powerful lines. We are all Alice. The Cheshire Cat asks Alice where she is going. She answers by asking him to tell her which way she should go. How many of us have looked to others to tell us which way to go?

But the Cat is wise and won’t give an easy answer. He gives the answer that makes all of us cringe…. That depends….

But our Alice admits she doesn’t know. And gets the frustrating but logical response from The Cat.

But I have always wanted to know. Even if my steps seemed odd or illogical to some, they were and are part of finding my why, my purpose.

I’ll bet you can guess I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself those questions. It prompted me to work on my meditation practice, to view my walks as part of my thinking time, to a goal of finding time to sit by the water.

This past Fall, I was on vacation from my day job. During that time away, I chose to sit by the beautiful Navesink River in Red Bank NJ to spend an amazing half hour on the phone with Kim Fulcher, an extraordinary coach and then to sit and think.

My choice of setting on that beautiful day was deliberate. The serenity and beauty of the river in Autumn added to the openness and power of the conversation. I could have taken the call in a Starbucks with a venti pumpkin spice latte in front of me. But the experience would have changed. The hustle and bustle of a café would not have been as conducive to turning inward. You know INWARD, that place to start when you look to where your outward path lies so you can successfully get there.

Perhaps, it is because water is a natural reflector. Perhaps, it is the flow of water and the things it carries past and away from us on its currents. Rivers are a metaphor for life and time. It is no accident that rivers are key settings in many of the greatest novels, myths and music.

When you open yourself up to the Universe, the Universe answers. Over the Fall and Winter, many people added their voices to acknowledge the energy and path I was on. I began to further explore, read about and sharpen my tools and skills to further that path. I started a small group called Work Your Purpose to support others looking at their journey. I connected with Juju Hook and Mary Rogers  who have been amazing mentors and their guidance is invaluable.

Sitting there on that beautiful Fall day, I began to see a current in my life. Kim Fulcher encouraged me to explore and expand my coaching purpose.  Watching the river, the currents, eddies, whitecaps raised by the wind, I could see better the flow of energy that had led me to that conversation by the river.  It was time to raise my sails.

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We all know that the river leads to the ocean where the world is deeper and wider, the tides and currents stronger and there may be rocks ahead.  I have been blessed to find coaches, mentors and colleagues to be my beacons on this journey. I have seen that point on my horizon and have the resources to reach it.

I have embraced my purpose. I am a life and business coach in service of others. I am here to support your exploration through questioning to find the answers that are inside you, to help clear the blocks and obstacles that keep you from reaching your point on the horizon.  Because, like me, you know the river leads to oceans of opportunity, you just need a lighthouse to guide you on your course.

So welcome to Point Reach Coaching and my blog.  My path has led me to a place where I want to talk about many things. I will share my thoughts and activities, and the occasional author interviews and reviews of books (after all what is life without a good novel). I will invite and share with you posts from others on topics I find and hope you’ll find interesting.

If I can be of service to you on your journey from the point you are now to the goals you want to reach in your life or business, feel free to email me.

 

Welcome to Point Reach Coaching

We are all on a journey. Occasionally we reach a point where we pause and wonder… where to next OR how do I get to where I want to go OR why can’t I seem to get there?

At a fork in the road? Feel like the voice in your head is Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz?

Point Reach is here to support you on your journey.

For a Complimentary Consultation to see if coaching is right for you or your business, contact me at Karen.Smith@pointreachcoaching.com