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Too much to do?

Are you pushing yourself too hard?
Personally, I’m the kind of person that likes being busy, at least most of the time.
If you are not careful enough though, the side effects of the daily routines can include – physical aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, missing meals, abandoning exercise, headaches, stomach problems, forgetting things, feeling overwhelmed, feeling guilty, isolating yourself, irritability, anxiety and even depression can all kick in.
Have you noticed any new aches and pains recently?
Maybe you should listen to your body more often?
Yes, we all need to kick into a higher gear occasionally to get things done, but we need to put things into perspective, by taking care of ourselves and our relationships.
The way to succeed is not to work long hours, but to work hard in each hour.
And take short breaks – regularly!
Remember – life is short!
It is important to take time every day for yourself and to slow down, to enjoy the beauty you can find all around.
Open your eyes and see.
Perhaps it is time for you to re-connect with your core purpose and watch how your behaviours will shift along the way.
What can you do to slow down today?

Turn it Off!

“𝐋𝐞𝐭’𝐬 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐨𝐟𝐟 𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐥𝐨𝐭.”
In our leadership session on Saturday, that was one of many discussions we shared together.
Thinking about that comment this morning, I asked myself several times over, what does that actually mean for me?
On reflection, it’s actually when your body is here, but your mind is elsewhere.
Do you know that feeling?
In my pre-mission coaching world language, it’s about paying attention and being aware.
As a coach I’d refer to this as having presence or being present.
However, from time to time, people simply zone out.
Have you seen this?
You probably do it yourself from time to time!
There in body, but your mind is elsewhere.
Frequently we simply turn our thinking to automatic mode, and we don’t pay attention, in other words we hit our autopilot.
For example, routinely, many of us drive in this mode – we get home and remember little or any part of the journey.
The key to change is every time you notice you are on autopilot, you turn your attention to what you are doing.

Here are some tips…

– Getting a glass of water, pause and feel your feet, hear the noise of the water as it flows into your glass.
– Walking to your next appointment, stop thinking about your things to do and notice that you are walking. What do you see, hear, smell, and feel? Touch something along the way.
– In your next meeting, after 20 minutes ask yourself if you are bored. If you are, then make a decision to turn your attention back on. What do you hear and see now?
– Stop Multi-tasking! (Exclamation mark). When someone asks to speak to you, then stop what you are doing, put your mobile down, stop typing and listen.
– Go and learn mindfulness.
What can you do to get off autopilot and be more present?

Once Upon A Time….

Consider the meaning of “𝒐𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒖𝒑𝒐𝒏 𝒂 𝒕𝒊𝒎𝒆”….
Its a phrase that starts many of our most beloved fairy tales.
Storytellers use these words to alert their readers to the fact that the story wasn’t for real. It was to be enjoyed and learned from, but it actually didn’t happen.
Every moment in time only happens once.
The implication of that fact is frequently forgotten. Time passes all too quickly, leaving only the memory of it. We can never relive a moment. All we have of the past is the memory that becomes our story.
Unlike the fairy tales of our childhood, our story is real.
The secret to making each moment better is to stop spending too much time concerning ourselves about the past, or worrying about the future.
Neither do us any good.
Commit to live in each moment, to look around and be aware of others’ needs so you can help. Pay attention to the beauty all around, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells that are part of each moment.
As we approach each moment fully aware that time will happen only once, our stories, too, can be different. As we reach out and serve others, we not only help them gain the “happily ever after” they desire, but we also come closer to making our very own happy ending.
Stop and consider your own once upon a time.

Enjoying the Moment

Recently I was asked, “How can you be really present and enjoy the very moment you are experiencing?”
My mind flashed back to a professional development event I attended in St. Andrews a few years ago, when I was introduced to mindfulness with a single raisin!
In this well-known mindfulness exercise, participants start to experience this feeling of being “present” for themselves by taking ten to fifteen minutes to eat a single raisin.
It requires you to focus your mind on the present moment using all your senses – what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch.

The exercise

Sitting in a circle, and our teacher gave each of us a single raisin.
Taking a moment, I got comfy in my chair…
– I held the raisin in my hand.
– Looking at it, I saw the different colours, light and ridges on the raisin.
– Closing my eyes, I felt the smallness of the raisin, it’s softness and its waxy texture.
– I brought it close to my nose to smell the raisin, concentrating on any scents or aromas I could detect.
– Next, I placed the raisin in my mouth and on my tongue. Without chewing, I noticed the sensation of having it on my tongue.
– Taking a bite of this tiny raisin, I tasted the sensations in my mouth. The smaller pieces of the raisin felt different.
– I listened and heard the sound as I chewed.
– I detected the intention to swallow starting to build and then decided to swallow it.
– Finally, I tracked the sensation of the raisin going into my tummy.
A simple little exercise to help us slow down.
How many moments do we miss with our spouses, our children, our parents, friends and colleagues, because we’re too busy rushing forward with our own always so very important tasks that need to get done?
We get so busy that we forget about seeing or ministering to the one, until we catch ourselves, or someone helps us once again to refocus.
Is it time for you to come back, slow down and refocus?
Taking time to enjoy one little raisin, may just help you and I to refocus on that one thing we need to do today.
What is your “one thing you will do today?”

What does it mean to commune with God?

Arising from my knees early this morning, I asked myself had I simply been “saying a prayer or had I 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒖𝒏𝒆𝒅 with God?”
I paused and reflected upon the question.
I slowed down.
I sunk deeply into my very comfortable chair.
I noticed all of the distractions around me.
The ticking of a clock.
The buzzing of an electric light.
The whistling and howling of the wind.
A car engine roaring into life.
The chirping of an early morning bird.
I noticed my breathing, in an out and the physical sensations of my breath.
I became much more 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕.
I became less concerned with time.
Consciously, I had moved from simply getting my prayer done, into a much deeper immersion and was now ready to “commune with God”
𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐞 – “to communicate intimately”
I returned to my knees.
I yielded myself to Him.
I began, slowly “Dear Heavenly Father…”
I expressed thanks and gratitude for a while.
I listened.
I listened some more.
I asked for guidance and help.
I trusted.
I communed with God.
I listened again.
Time was irrelevant.
I closed “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen”
I waited.
I waited some more.
I listened for a while.
I listened, quietly, paying attention, listening……
Answers came.
Are you simply getting your prayers done?
Or are you communing with God?

Penalty Points…

No! Not again – another 3 points! 😟
1989, an unforgettable year. I was in my 24th year of life. Young, enthusiastic, driven and eager to succeed.
I’d just secured a new job in sales and vividly recall taking the train down to Adwick-le-Street, near Doncaster, to pick up my company car. A new fast car, with a car phone to boot. I was in heaven.
Driving home a few days later, I discovered that I never had so much power at the touch of a small pedal in my life before.
Then it happened.
A few short weeks later, speeding fine number 1. Silly me I thought.
Another few weeks and speeding fine number 2. I’d better slow down I thought.
And not many weeks later, speeding fine number 3. I had to slow down.
I can’t recall my boss’s exact words (thanks Tony), but they went like this…”Daryl if you get caught again, you’ll be banned from driving with 12 points, and we’ll have to let you go.”
Albeit I was forced too, but I learned a much needed powerful lesson.
𝑰 𝒔𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒅 𝒅𝒐𝒘𝒏.
In time the points expired.
Frequently in life physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially we all may be 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒄𝒆𝒅 to slow down.
Yet, it is far better to 𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒆 to slow down.
To speed up in life, sometimes you need to slow down.
When will you “slow down?”

Presence

Walking recently in our local park, my wife remarked about the beauty of nature – I must confess, I missed it.

In fact, upon reflection however, over these last few weeks as our number of daily walks together has increased, I have a second confession, I believe I am beginning to see, feel and hear.

Interestingly, I am noticing that many more moments are now filled with a sense of connection and peace.

Why is that we miss so many moments in our own life? Is it that there are always more busy or interesting thoughts that preoccupy and entertain our minds?

In my coaching practice I always endeavour to be present, attentive and observe what is happening in the moment, when meeting with clients.

In a like manner, a big learning take away during lockdown has occurred for me in magical woodland walks with my wife. She has taught me so much about being present, being in the moment to enjoy the beauty, see and smell the flowers and to hear the birds.

I am learning to stop and awaken my five senses of listening, touching, looking, smelling and tasting. In slowing down, I recognise that I still have much to learn.

How many moments do you miss?