Saturday, December 7, 2013

Capture those magic moments before they get away!

I’m usually a “hang in there” kind of person. I stayed in a 30 year marriage long after I knew that things were never going to change, and I endured a miserable job even after I discovered the boss was a manic depressive chameleon. He ran hot and cold, but always impatient and mean.

I’m not a quitter, and I can always be depended upon to do my job. But when daily circumstances become stressful that’s the time to pull back and re-examine what you really want in life. Can you relate?

I’ve always been able to juggle my schedule and keep several things going at once, but suddenly I’m feeling more overworked than usual. I’m finding fewer hours for creative ventures. I haven’t painted in days, and I’m still trying to finish part of the Neptune Series I started a few weeks ago.

We all go through this hassle each day: deciding how to spend our time, which comes first the chicken for the table or the golden egg for the bank? Our well-planned days seem to unravel before us and we run from one endless pursuit to another. Our “to do” list outgrows the available minutes we have to spend. We start feeling exhausted and unfulfilled.

Surprise! It isn’t more speed, more arms or more time we need it’s a slowing down of our mind and our attitudes. Instead of trying to cram more “stuff” into fewer hours, we need to savor the ones we have.

Did you know that when you ratchet down your fast pace and live in the moment, it seems like time moves at a slower pace? When you delight in each bite of food, rolling it over on your tongue, chewing it purposefully and immersing yourself in its flavor that extra five minutes you spend actually seems like 15?

When you rein in your usual tendency to forge ahead, pause and enjoy a child’s smile, your spouse’s goodbye kiss, a neighbor’s wave, the new fallen snow or the freshly mowed lawns of your neighbor’s. Notice how your body relaxes. Instead of frazzled nerves and a churning stomach, you’re in the moment. More than that, you’re in command of your mind and emotions. You’ve mastered the art of self-control.

If it were only this easy! I know it’s a constant battle. But wanting to gain mastery over your life is a virtuous desire. I dropped some activities thinking I was going to get on top of things, but I took on more responsibilities instead to fill the void. If you really want to have more time for the things you enjoy, avoid this trap!

Pacing and balance are our two greatest allies. Life has a rhythm that helps us sense when things are off and when they’re not. By nailing down the moments and reveling in each passing second, we lay claim to our dreams.