You can’t host a dinner party and clean your house at the same time.
I have tried it. And I can tell you, the outcome was so “un-pretty” (as my writing friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee would say).
I am a multi-passionate woman. Cover for, multitasker, plate juggler, production princess.
The unfortunate side effect from being a multi-passionate woman who wants it all, is inevitable burnout. A weariness of the soul that cannot be fixed with eight hours of sleep or eight cups of coffee.
It seems that most conversation about life these day, turn at some point to the topic of balance and burnout. Every conference I have attended in the last five years has had a work/life balance workshop and my inbox is filled with blogs, podcasts and books on the subject.
This is a blog to tell you, I am done talking about it. It is time to take action.
Warning: The words I just wrote are precisely the reason I deem myself a bad life coach.
I have no patience for asking 100 questions that will lead you to discover the answer to life’s biggest uncertainties on your own. I am not saying life coaching doesn’t work. It does! I would be happy to refer you to some incredible coaches if you are interested. But personally, there are times in my life, I simple do not know the answer. I don’t know what direction to go or how to solve a problem. I just need someone to tell me what to do. In this event, if someone else knows the truth or what works, I want them to share it with me so I can apply it and move on.
In the next few weeks I am going to tell you how to get your life back. I know what I am going to share will work for you (if you apply it) because it has changed my life and the lives of many others.
I am asking you to put the oxygen mask on first before assisting the person next to you. If you are not ready, you can stop reading.
The first agreement you need to make with yourself is this:
Self-care is not selfishness.
Watching Creative Live with Arianna Huffington this past week, I was challenged by her observations of our lives. “We take better care of our smart phones than we take care of ourselves.” Right now, you probably know exactly how much battery your phone has left. When you see your phone get near the 13% mark and alerts you of its low battery, what do you do? Find the nearest energy source. And quickly!
Have our smart phones and agendas become more precious to us that our own souls?
What are you doing for yourself? Are you listening to your body? Is your soul telling you that you need to recharge, that you need to plug into your energy source? Will you push through or will you slow down?
Are you ready for change? If you are… Begin by changing your morning wake-up routine.
How do you normally wake up? To an alarm, children, or your smartphone alerting you to new messages?
What is the first thing you do? Check Facebook, emails, stagger to your child’s crib side bed, or hit the snooze button?
Did you know that your brain is hardwired for safety first? Think about the word “alarm”. If your first innate need is to feel safe, how smart is it to wake up alarmed? Does it make sense to read emails that will heighten your anxiety level before you get out of bed? The answer is no.
I am not suggesting you live in a bubble. We are living in the real world, with real responsibility and families that need our attention.
What I am suggesting is – The Daily Examen
Try the following exercise at least twice this week and record how it changes your day.
The Daily Examen is an ancient practice of prayerful reflection to detect God’s presence. It can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience. The Daily Examen can be practiced at any time during the day. I prefer the morning, but find myself going through the steps during the day if I start to feel anxious or astray from my priorities. The Daily Examen reminds me of who I am and Whose I am. I reminds me of the love and favor God has for me. But most of all, it reminds me, God has everything under control. When we remember these things, we can “go forth and set the world on fire” (St. Ignatius).
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
This is a version of the Daily Examen St. Ignatius practiced.
There are six steps:
A more detailed look:
Become Aware of God’s Presence
Invite God into your day. Acknowledge the gift and power of the Holy Spirit that is alive and active in your life.
Enter with a Heart of Gratitude.
Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Ask yourself: What have you been given? What have you given away? Consider your surroundings, your family, and community. Who and what are you thankful for? Don’t forget the small wonders of life…food, comforts, a path you walked or a beautiful sunset.
Pay Attention to Your Emotions
How did you wake up? What are you feeling? Are you anxious to start your to-do list? Are you bored and want to pull the covers back over your head? Are you angry over a fight you had last night with your husband? Stop and acknowledge how you will enter your day.
Choose One Feature of the Day and Offer it to God in Prayer
Your prayer may stem from one of the emotions you identified. Give your worries, your burdens and your dreams back to God to hold, to cherish and to take care of for you.
Where do you need forgiveness? Do you need to forgive or do you need to ask for forgiveness. Think back to the emotions you awoke with. Do any indicate hidden offense that needs to be let go?
Look at Today Through God’s Eyes of Grace.
Today is a new day! Bask in the goodness and mercy of God’s grace in your life. Jesus came to give you a new life and a new heart. Transformation may not happen instantaneously but it will happen! This is God’s promise to you when you are faithful. Keep going! Choose to be a person of faith, hope and love today!
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
Today is a new day! Enjoy it!!