It is easy to get lost in “busy-ness”. I am very guilty of this. I can let hours pass checking emails, running errands, etc. It feels like I am doing important things but am I?
I am also someone who has a lot of different interests. As a young person I had a tough time deciding on a major because I like journalism, marine biology, psychololgy, French, etc… Even now, I often find myself in conflict because I want to do so many things! I am excited about writing, living in Florida, teaching, being married, learning about social media, reaching out to others, etc. I only have so many hours in the day, so what’s a girl with a variety of interests to do?
Some would say I am well- balanced since I do have so many enthusiasms. I am certainly never bored. But I am challenged with feeling scattered at times; like I am feeling torn in different directions and being spread too thin. Over the years this experience of having too many balls in the air has resulted in unfinished projects and a lot of un-ease, anxiety, and insomnia.
Can any of you relate to this? Is there a “specialist” in me? How should I be spending my time? What activities should take priority?
I love journal writing for harnessing my energy and focusing my attention for a few minutes. A little quiet reflection “me time” on paper often permits important things to surface. What is really important will become more obvious. Things I can (and perhaps should) release become more apparent too.
This morning’s journal exercise is a simple but powerful one. Don’t ask, but declare what you are committed to. The concept of commitment is a strong one. There is nothing wishy washy or fence-sitting about being committed to something. You either are or you are not. No middle ground here.
What will come up in this list of things you are committed to? Probably things that are most important in your life- the things, people, activities, etc. that deserve and need your time and attention (rather than the busy time waster activities). You are writing them down so that makes this exercise even more powerful. Research shows that our brains retain information more if we write it down. I think an actual energy imprint takes place when we write things down. I know I remember what I write down more and my attention gets better focused as well.
What we focus on grows. Hmm…. what we are committed to then could be given the chance to expand in our lives. Why put things important things on the back burner while we fritter and waste our time on less important tasks?
So, here goes. My journal entry this Saturday morning, April 30, 2011 at 10:32 am looks something like this:
I AM committed to:
1. My husband (to love him unconditionally and be a fun life partner with him)
2. My children (to love them and be the best mom I know how to be)
3. My health (get outdoors, exercise, eat well, take quiet mental breaks often)
4. My students, when I am with them (to keep them safe, inspire, and challenge them)
5. The Warm Milk Journal (helping others with anxiety, insomnia, and living the life of their dreams!)
6. Learning new things.
7. Being creative (with my gardening, writing, cooking, etc.)
8. Travel and have adventures.
I will stop here. Your turn!
You Are committed to… Begin writing…
Have a blessed day,
Darkness is there, but light will always prevail. This new season is proof of this. Since the winter solstice our sunlight has been returning.
We do still experience darkness, however, during these lighter, warmer months. Tonight’s question for your meditation or journal writing time is this: what can you do to bring light into the dark areas of your life?
A few ideas I have:
Ways that light prevails:
1. Light prevails when I remember that I am always bigger than any problem(s).
2. What I choose to focus on creates my life experience. I choose love.
3. A radiant smile works magic (given or received).
4. One small flame is all it takes to spread light.
5. One small kind word or gesture can do the same.
Your turn. Write about the ways that you can (or perhaps already do) shine light into the darkness.
I Am a beam of light
focused and undeterred
knowing what I want
I Am a beam of light
straight and bright
aiming high in the right
I AM a beam of light
strong and limitless
with radiant energy
I Am a beam of light
active and determined
There are times when you are just in “the flow” : you are focused, you are doing a task that has meaning for you or you are good at, and you are just immersed in the activity. This kind of activity is really good for us. It helps our confidence, time passes quickly, and we are at our ease.
When we are not in the flow we are either struggling or bored. Being in the flow brings optimal balance and energy.
Here are seven ideas to be in the flow more often:
Debra : )
When do you feel your best? When do you really feel like you are “on your game”?
During your quiet journal writing time today or this evening, think about times in your life when you feel or have felt great, like you can conquer anything. What caused that great energy, do you think?
For example, my journal entry might be something like this-
I feel my best and really “on” when:
What we focus on grows. Why not focus on the good stuff when we are feeling great? We have it within us to be and do anything we want. We can do so at our ease if we are taking care of ourselves and doing the things, putting ourselves in situations and relationships with others that support us.
Have a blessed day
Debra : )
A thought for this afternoon: how focused are you? What do I mean by focus? I mean having a goal or purpose and then staying focused on it.
When we first get an idea that we are excited about it is easy to hit the ground running with all of our enthusiasm. We tell everyone about what we are doing, we stay up late working on it or thinking about it, we spend money on it etc. But what happens after a month? two months? Does your enthusiasm for the project wane? Are things not taking off as quick as you like? Is it more difficult than you imagined it to be? Cost too much money? Friends and family saying you can’t do it? Feeling discouraged? Then what? Quit?….until the next new best thing comes around and you start all over again?
How many unfulfilled dreams has this happened to? I’ll hazard to guess many! (just look at the many dead blogs out there!)
We don’t need to feel overwhelmed. There is a really simple thing to keep in mind. Just keep your focus. That’s it. You may not make the earth move in one day. Most projects and endeavors of any value take work and time to build and create. Do it at your own pace. Don’t kill and burn yourself out. Baby steps. Remember those? If you did just one little thing toward moving your goal or project forward (that’s called momentum by the way), then you are succeeding. You are keeping your focus. You are not quitting and giving up on yourself. The only way to fail in life is to quit. Give up. Throw in the towel.
Now, if you are anything like me you may have a lot of interests. A lot of ideas. A lot of dreams. That’s wonderful. It makes you an interesting and colorful person. However, I am here to tell you that you are just one person. You only have so much time and energy. There is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin. If you are to maintain focus on one definite purpose you need to choose something- the most important thing to you and prioritize it. That is not to say give up on your other ideas and dreams but perhaps pick one to achieve first. That way you can put all you have into it.
I will give you an example. I love to write. I have lot’s of ideas. This past year I started a few blogs out there in the blogosphere through WordPress. One focused on being happy over the age forty, Happy at 43. Another one, Open Space, was kind of a general one with some poetry and ideas, and my third blog, Illuminating minds, is about what works in a classroom working with young students all day. I also have a much older one I did a couple of years ago called Lifeskillsforsuccessful kids. Oh yes, and there is this one here, what’s the name of it? Oh yes, the Warm Milk Journal!
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, I have an interest and passion for the subjects of all of these blogs that I started. They are still out there. But I have to say I have more energy and excitement for The Warm Milk Journal. And since time is at such a premium and there is a lot to do and learn about in getting a blog/website going- I really had to choose to focus on this one site: The Warm Milk Journal.
Those other blogs and many other ideas are still out there. For now, I am focused on making this work. It is freeing really to focus my energy on one project. If you have a team of people working for you and you can leverage and delegate, then fantastic! Keep several projects going at once.
Napoleon Hill in Think and Grown Rich repeatedly makes the point of having a definite purpose and staying focused on it with passion and strong belief. He says to stay so focused on it that it becomes almost an obsession. That is clear focus. To have a vision and be willing to stick with it.
It is easy to be excited about this project when a post goes viral here or on Twitter , when traffic volume is up, or I am getting thoughtful comments from folks. Sometimes just sheer persistence gets me through those days when traffic is low and I am not feeling particularly inspired on a given day.
It helps to have an idea, project, and dream that you feel totally passionate about (which I really do here for The Warm Milk Journal). That passion will keep you going. Being committed to be persistent, determined, and focused will see your project to success.
Stay clear. Don’t get fuzzy or cloudy. Keep your focus!
Debra : )
Being focused on something that has meaning and value in our lives gives us a sense of purpose. I know that I am so much healthier mentally and emotionally when I have this focus going on. I coincidentally, have very little anxiety and sleep much better at night when I am focused. Direction is a good thing. We hear hear so often of people (men particular) who die of heart attacks soon after they retire. I think it is because they lost their sense of purpose for their lives. Play and relaxation is very important for a balanced life but we do need some kind of aim and goals to strive for.
What is one good thing in your life that you can really focus on? A healthy “obsession” that can inspire and drive you? If you have many ideas- write them down. then choose one. Make a decision to focus on one thing. Once you decide to focus and commit to a project or task it is amazing what happens: ideas pop up when you least expect them, people will come into your life that can mentor or support your idea, things just kind of galvanize.
Decide on one of your ideas and commit to giving it your all for 30 days- and then see what happens.
Debra : )
All my life I have been somewhat of a “generalist”- meaning, I am interested in a lot of different things. I had a tough time deciding on a major in college because, again, I liked a lot of different things. When I finally graduated from law school (which I went to because I didn’t know what to do with myself right out of college), I had a tough time deciding on a career path, because again, I was interested in doing a lot of different things. Sounding familiar?
I am not saying that it is a bad thing for us to be curious and have a variety of interests. Being informed about different topics and enjoying a variety of hobbies makes for an interesting joy-filled and adventurous life (and perhaps good Jeopardy contestants). It is also great for socializing and making conversation with people. Alas, if you are anything like me, this generalist aspect to my personality has been the source of much anxiety. It has caused a lot of great dreams, ideas- but not a lot of finished projects. Not achieving all I want has been a big source of frustration and anxiety. I have a lot of candlepower. I know that if I were to just stick with one thing and give it all I have, I could move mountains! It’s keeping that focus that is the key and can be so empowering.
The areas in my life that I have experienced the most success are where I had a focus, I was decisive about it, and I stuck with it until the end. For instance, I was clear when I went back to school to become a teacher. I got my degree, certification, and a good job teaching second grade in Florida immediately. I love my work. I feel this way about this blog. Although this is still a new project, I am passionate about this subject and I intend to work on this everyday: reaching out to fellow anxiety and insomnia sufferers, helping people, learning more about insomnia, ways to become the healthiest and most centered people we can be, and learning and ultimately becoming an expert on blogging itself. I am determined. I am focused. I am the Warm Milk Journal lady: offering support to people out there who are not sleeping their best.
What are your passions and what are you or can you become an expert on? I believe that if we find something we care about and we just focus on it, we can achieve much with whatever we want to do with this specialty (a business, writing a book, volunteer work, hosting a blog, etc.)
Get out your journal and ask yourself these questions:
Once you have your idea and you feel with certainty that it is a good idea for you, then go for it! Do it, research about it, take those baby steps, talk to people who are doing it already (mentors are highly recommended), talk to everybody you know about it with enthusiasm, join groups or clubs so you can connect and network with people that have this interest too, write in your journal daily about your idea- stay focused. Don’t give up!
Napoleon Hill in his class book Think and Grow Rich writes over and over again how important it is to have a definite purpose, be persistent, and have an obsession about the thing you wish to achieve. He even has a special chapter entitled “Specialized Knowledge” (chapter 5, page 75).
What is your passion? What is your obsession? Figure that out and then be totally focused and committed to it. Become a specialist. Become an expert. What we focus on grows.
I can tell you that when I am focused on something I truly care about I am not anxious or worrying. I am energized. I feel really good about myself. My creative juices are bursting. I am productive. I am contributing to the world and helping others. I have a sense of purpose. I am happier and more enthusiastic about life. I enjoy better health, better relationships, and have more fun. Finally, I sleep better at night.
Goodnight, all you specialists out there…
Having a sense of purpose galvanizes our energy. It puts a certain spring in our step. When we are focused on achieving something that we value and perceive as worthwhile we feel better about ourselves and hopefully as a result will sleep better at night.
Our purpose might involve our jobs, a business, a hobby, volunteer work, a project, or any goal we want to achieve. Whatever it is it is best if it is something we are really interested in and have passion for. Then, take those baby steps, and plunge in! Stay focused. Don’t quit. Stay with it.
Use your journals to brainstorm some ideas.