“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha
Whenever I am asked what qualities I would like to invite into my life, I always answer more peace and ease. Like many people, I often feel overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities in my life and weighed down by my “to do” lists. A colleague recently shared with me that her checklists have checklists and that she wakes regularly at 3am worried about all of the details.
So often we are stretched thin and don’t even realize how much stress we are under as a result of our overbooked lives.
We may not notice the rising levels of stress we are experiencing but we do notice how tired we feel, that nagging pain in our shoulder or neck, how irritable we are, how easily we become impatient, get a headache, or feel sick. We recognize that something isn’t working for us but often struggle to figure out how to exactly get off of the hamster wheel of our lives.
Does this resonate with you?
I believe there is power in acknowledging that something needs to change in our lives. If we can respond with self-compassion and identify one step to take, we can begin the healing process of inviting in more peace and ease in our lives.
It is helpful to remind ourselves that we are not alone in feeling this way and that there is nothing wrong with us that our overfilled lives have begun to feel less satisfying. So many of us have bought into this culture of “business” feeling we have to schedule every minute to get the most out of life.
But creating space in our lives and schedules is essential in the process of stepping off the hamster wheel and choosing to live with more peace and ease.
What would more peace and ease in your life look like?
Would it be having more time in the morning to meditate, journal or take a walk?
Would it include not scheduling back to back appointments so that you are not rushing from place to place?
Would it be having one evening on the weekend where you stay home?
Where could you create more space in your day?
Imagine that you are the one in control of your schedule. You may have some commitments defined by time due to work, parenting, and/or transportation, but what about the rest of the time? Could you bring more consciousness to how you arrange the rest of your schedule so you feel empowered rather than overwhelmed?
Recently I have created “Choose To” lists on my phone to replace my “to do” lists. Each of the major areas of my life that I have responsibilities, I have labeled – Kelley, Tony, Home, Parenting, Caring for my mom, Cultivating Peace and Joy, Leap to Success, the two Boards of Directors I serve on, my volunteer commitments, etc. and each time I think about something I want to accomplish in those areas I write it down with a box to check it off.
It is amazing how freeing it feels to get all the details out of my head and onto the Choose To lists! Just going to the lists and reminding myself that I am choosing to do these things changes the energy I have around the tasks. I feel more empowered, less stressed about them, and the system has provided me peace and ease I yearn for. I am definitely not waking up at 3am worried about the details because I have covered them.
I intentionally placed myself and my husband on my Choose To Lists so that I would prioritize time to nurture and care for both. I put my self-nurturing practices on my list and fun and connecting activities on Tony’s list. Since beginning my Choose To lists on January 1st, my husband and I have had a date night at least once a week when he is not traveling for business. My Choose To lists reflect my values and encourage me to live in alignment with them. They encourage more peace and ease with my schedule and support me in staying accountable to what is important to me.
What would bring more peace and ease to your life?
Cultivating more peace and ease in our lives will requires that we pause, reflect, and be willing to try something new. Today choose to bring more awareness to your schedule and compassionately reflect on where you could invite in a little more space to be fully present. Choose to schedule fun and down time in your day as well as time for your purpose filled work. Make your schedule work for you rather than having it work you.
As Bernie Siegel reminds us, “Love and peace of mind do protect us. They allow us to overcome the problems that life hands us. They teach us to survive…to live now…to have the courage to confront each day.”
May you welcome more peace and ease into your life as you nurture peace in the world from the inside out!
Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,
Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker
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