“If you were to walk into your world tomorrow and nothing has changed except that you are RELAXED: would you be a better partner? A better parent? A better boss?”Elizabeth Gilbert
I remember very well, when I decided to quit my job about three years ago, thinking in anticipation: “finally, I’m going to be less busy, I’m going to have plenty of time for myself, to relax and slow down.” And then first week into my new life, my calendar was as full as it was during my full-time employment. And then it kept on getting worse from there…Hang on a minute! Didn’t I quit my job to follow my passion and experience more freedom and flexibility? Yes, in theory. But in reality, my mindset hadn’t changed: I was still measuring my worth according to how “busy” I was.
Slowing down was alluring in theory, but in reality, I held a belief that it was something to be despised, something that would make me less valuable, less worthy of others’ attention and love. Ouch! Not a belief that was serving me well!
Spring clean your beliefs
There’s a part at the back of our brains called the Reticular Activating System or RAS and its job is to look for evidence of what you believe to be true. So, if you’re constantly saying to yourself “I’ve got so much to do”; “there’s not enough hours in a day”; “I’m so busy”, then your clever RAS will make sure that you only ever see evidence of that in your life. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to do some serious spring cleaning with my beliefs!
What beliefs are you holding onto that prevent you from slowing down? Maybe you think it would be irresponsible to relax? Or maybe you hold a belief that you need to be wired and “on” all the time, that’s how you measure your worth? How are these beliefs serving you right now?
Three steps to a more relaxed you
Earlier this year, I heard author Elizabeth Gilbert talk at an event, about this concept that I’m referring to as the “relax” revolution. According to her, this is what it takes to live a relaxed life:
What do you care about and who do you care about? Don’t wait for a tragedy or an emergency to clarify this for you, think about it now. Be honest about how you are currently spending your time and what needs to change for you to honour your priorities.
This is a natural progression from the point above. You can’t have boundaries without being clear on your priorities. Elizabeth Gilbert says it beautifully: “Boundary is not about being aggressive, it’s about rendering something sacred”. You’re the only one who gets to determine what is sacred to you. Make sure YOU are a part of your circle of sacredness.
Mysticism is different from religion: it’s about connecting with and trusting in life’s magic in whatever way feels right to you. Elizabeth Gilbert sums it up well when she says: “Magic is nothing more than the thing that wants to happen next.” A good place to start adding more mysticism into your life is by rekindling yourself with your intuition, the inner knowing that is always available to you for guidance and support.
There’s clearly no end of things to be anxious or worried about in this world we live in. Along the way, we can burn ourselves out by constantly trying to fill the empty spaces with stuff or trying to be all things to all people. Dr Libby Weaver describes with so much precision why this is a recipe for disaster in her TedTalk “The pace of modern life versus our cavewoman biochemistry.” We do this because we care and also because we hold the belief that we aren’t enough the way we are. And when we don’t believe we are enough, we also don’t believe we have enough and we go about our life chasing more of everything: money, status, freedom, etc.
So, if your plan is that you’ll relax once everyone and everything in your life is in order, once you change career, once you’ve become famous or once you earn more money…who knows how long you may be waiting for?
When you choose to be more relaxed NOW, you’re able to widen your focus. You see possibilities and you also see impossibilities: those people and circumstances that you have no control over. You understand what counts and the things you can let go of.
If the quality of your life is going to be determined by how relaxed you are, what would it take for you to reach that place of calm right now?
If you need support along the way, please reach out. I’d love to cheer you on and help you unpack what’s standing in the way of your ability to slow down and be the most relaxed person you can be! Contact me HERE.
Here are some additional resources you may find useful on your journey towards a more relaxed version of you:
For a little bit of humour and also some interesting tips, check out www.nofucksgiven.com by the author of “The life changing magic of not giving a fuck”, Sarah Knight. You’ll find flowcharts, quizzes and methods to do exactly what it says on the box! http://nofucksgivenguides.com/downloads/
If finding your purpose or your passion worries you, listen to this interview with Debra Poneman HERE.
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