On Saturday at a dinner party a friend said, “Yeah, how do you find inner peace in the busyness of life?” This is a challenge facing nearly all my coaching clients — from entrepreneurs to over-committed moms. Yet, we all want to find inner peace in our busy worlds. I suggested she read this week’s article 🙂 Here goes.
Becoming a mommy to twin babies over the last 15 months, has given me fresh perspective on what life is like for clients struggling to find those moments to exhale when practically every minute of life is accounted for.
You know you don’t need to have twin babies to feel you don’t have any breathing room in your life. With SO many ways to spend our time, and all the demands of life, it seems that almost everyone I know is busy, busy, busy.
It’s easy to say… “Take time for yourself each day to relax and bask in the spaciousness of inner peace.” But, what if your life is already scheduled to the max? What if in the pursuit of “doing it all” for your family, children, business or community — you’ve committed more hours than there are minutes in a day?
Many of my clients are passionate about playing SO full out in life, they keep saying “yes, yes, yes” because they LOVE it all and believe they’ll somehow find a way to do it all. But inevitably, they find themselves uncomfortably stressed, running frazzled, snapping at loved ones, feeling guilty for letting things slip through the cracks and exhausted beyond words at the end of each day. Does this sound familar?
There are lots of ways to address this epidemic of enthusiasm.
1) You can say “no” more often.
2) You can leverage the resources you have (i.e. employees, spouses, syetc).
3) You can create supportive systems and structures for better efficiency.
4) You can get more help or coaching to strategize on the above.
Which one of these do YOU need to start doing to create a little extra space in your life?
While I love striving for the ideal, it takes time to de-tangle over-committed schedules or find the right help or implement a new system.
Does that mean you just have to suffer and grit-it-out until the dust settles?
I don’t think so.
Just as there are little spaces on this page, in between the words and the paragraphs, there are “spaces” in a jam-packed schedule. The secret is recognizing and being present with these precious s-p-a-c-e-s — and making the most of them.
Most of us don’t give much attention to the space between the words — or the space between the busyness. There is more “white space” in your life than you may realize.
Here are 11 places I find inner peace in an otherwise chaotic life. See which ones you can explore.
2. Heavenly showers. This still is one of my sacred and most cherished havens of inner peace. Allow warm water to envelope you, as you get 5-15 minutes of precious alone time. Connect with the core of your being as you’re polishing up or washing off the residue of the day. See how present you can become in your showers.
3. Checking the mail. Whether you’re like me and work from home or not — the 30 seconds or so it takes to walk outside to your mailbox can provide another refreshing dose of spaciousness and inner peace. Connect with the sky, the trees, the sun, the clouds, the temperature of the air. Sometimes it was actually the stars, that works too. Take in a few delicious deep breaths and exhale as you take in the beauty of your surroundings. And feel free to step outside for “no reason” if you want to even more space in your day.
4. Getting ready. Those 10-15 minutes where I’m applying anti-wrinkle and belly tightening creams, fancy hair gels, under arm “protection” and am sprucing myself up are all acts of self-care. My hubby and company might argue these steps are acts of service. Instead of using this window of time to organize your to-do list in your mind, what if you simply noticed the juicy space of silence that’s available between the paragraphs of your life?
5. Drive time. During my babies first 3-6 months, every car ride was like walking into a meditation hall as I breathed in the silence, the alone time, the 3-5 minutes where I wasn’t responsible for anything more than getting my XTRM JOY mobile (that’s my license plate) from point A to point B. Occasionally the drive was a bit further, and wow — more opportunity to connect with the world around me — colors, shapes, sizes. And even now, when the babies or John is in the car, it’s an opportunity to enjoy the “white space” between the words of life.
6. Breastfeeding. This only applies to my fellow lactating mama friends. If that isn’t you, skip this one. Or you can think about stopping to pet your dog or cat instead. In all seriousness, the cool thing about nursing babies is it forces mama to STOP and get present with her little one(s), if only for a few minutes. Same principles apply. Stopping. Getting present. Breathing in. Breathing out. Connecting to the beings around you. In this moment, there is nothing else to do. If you’ve got a dog, cat, small child or affectionate significant other, the key here is to stop, respond and be fully present with them.
7. Massage. This may sound indulgent to many of you, and it is. But, it’s one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself and your inner peace. During my pregnancy, massage became as important to me as oxygen. Today, it’s almost as essential. Massage franchises like Massage Envy or KnotSpot, makes monthly massage affordable. Too busy for a massage? Think again. Your tight shoulders, aching back and stiff neck will appreciate the TLC, especially if you commit to something regularly. Plus, it’s a great way to carve out some space within your busy world. Unplugging for that 1 1/2 hours every 2 weeks provides a luxurious space for inner peace to keep on flowing in my demanding schedule.
8. Grocery shopping. What? Yes, if you’re committed to finding inner peace, you can certainly find it between the apples and bananas. If you go by yourself, embrace it as a “walking meditation.” Certainly, there is a lot to be present to. You can be present with the abundant choices available. You can be present to the convenience grocery stores offer. You can be present with your own breath. And don’t forget the scrumptious bonus moments you get walking to and from your car in the fresh air. And driving to and from the store.
9. During playtime (or work time!). Why wait to be alone, or in complete stillness, or for your next massage, when you can get present and drop into inner peace right now? When you’re fully present with a client, living into your purpose in some way, allowing creativity to flow or otherwise creating value in your workplace — there is joy and aliveness to connect with (aka inner peace). I feel this way when I’m coaching clients, leading a group or writing an article. I’ve found my deepest moments of inner peace when I’m simply relaxing into the moment watching Shanti & Riser hobble back and forth across the room, squealing with delight and exuding natural joy. Or maybe I’m stacking the 7 cups with them as though it is the very first time. There is nothing to do in this moment, but to take in the moment. Dishes, laundry and my to-do’s don’t matter. Full presence, plus purposeful attention, equals inner peace.
10. Walking. For me, a walk typically involves the City Mini Double Stroller with two toddlers strapped in place. For my busy husband, our dog Cruzer accompanies him on his favorite inner peace time out. Fresh air. Movement. There is so much to be present to on a walk. Trees. Grass. Flowers. Cars. Sky. Clouds. The warm sunshine. The cool breeze. The sounds and smells of outside. For John, the deepest inner peace comes at the park while throwing the ball or Frisbee for Cruzer. Here’s why. While he’s doing it, he’s not focused on anything else but the elegance of our joyful dog thundering in pursuit of the coveted prize. It’s these moments of pure presence where inner peace is most alive. That is… if we are present to it.
11. Yoga. This is akin to a full blown vacation for me. I get to go outside. Sometimes I listen to something inspiring during the luscious drive time. I get to enjoy an active meditation as I connect with my body by S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G and strengthening it. I get to nap during savasana. I get to connect with others who share a passion with yoga. And I get a break from my otherwise busy world.
You get the idea, right?
Keep an eye out for those moments of opportunity. I bet you’ll find there is inner peace everywhere you turn. Claim it. It’s juicy. It’s yours. It’s all in the here and now.