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Under Pressure?

Under pressure? Feeling stressed? A lot on your plate?

Usually, our first thoughts are to dig deep, work harder and grind through the challenge at hand.

Top Personal Coaching Tip โ€“ ๐๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ก ๐๐š๐œ๐ค!

……And counter those feelings with an opposing action.

Itโ€™s a simple thing, but remember to take a break for 15 minutes or longer.

Take a walk, stretch, meditate, breathe, relax, get some fresh air, in other words slow down and be still.

Enjoy the scenery!

I did!

Allowing yourself some mental and emotional freedom from all the pressure, with meaningful slacking time, ๐’‚๐’๐’˜๐’‚๐’š๐’” has great rewards.

Oftentimes, thatโ€™s when the laughter kicks in!

Learning Patience

Almost daily, I pass this traffic light as I set forth on any journey out of Leidschendam.
More often than not (it seems to me) it is red, just like you see above.
Recently, I had an experience, that Iโ€™m sure many may be able to relate too.
For those of you who know me well, I have a propensity to be prompt!
Early one morning last week, as we were setting off just a little late for interviews in Rotterdam, we got halfway towards this light and then realised that weโ€™d forgotten something in the house. A quick turnaround, and then we were back on our way.
To get to the motorway, there are four sets of traffic lights that we encounter.
The first one above, is a bit of a bottleneck, as it leads to a narrow bridge where only one vehicle can cross at a time, hence the set of traffic lights at either side. That morning, it was at red. After a few minutes of patiently waiting, we crossed the bridge
100 metres further, is traffic light number 2, at a T-Junction. Again, it was at red. We waited once again for a couple of minutes before it turned green.
Turning right, we travelled another 200 metres and approached traffic light number 3. What a surprise, yepโ€ฆred again. It was another minute or two before it turned green.
Turning left, I approached the final set of traffic lights at a major intersection with lights galore. My light was of course red โ€“ it had to be! By this time, Iโ€™m feverishly watching the lights to see when it is going to be our turn to move. 2 minutes felt like forever.
Four red in a rowโ€ฆ. โ˜น
One interesting fact, that morning, we were the first car (in a line of cars) at every light, meaning that on every occasion we approached the traffic lights that morning, they had just turned red!

The lesson! ๐Ÿ˜Š

I think I have finally (I hope) learned that it is not the traffic โ€“ it is me!
Over the years I understand that it is not what happens in your day that makes you mad, itโ€™s who you are and how you handle what happens in your day that makes the difference.
Patience means actively waiting and enduring trials well.
Delays help me with one great lesson – ๐๐š๐ญ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐š๐ค๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ž!
The Apostle Paul gave the purpose of patience in his epistle to the Saints in Rome, in Romans 5:3-4 we read; โ€œWe glory in tribulations โ€ฆ knowing that tribulation worketh patience. And patience, experience; and experience, hope.โ€
I believe that being patient is a divine attribute and for many of us it may take many years to develop fully.
We should learn to be patient with ourselves.
In what area of your life do you struggle to be patient?

Look Up!

Look Up!
“I try to avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward” – Charlotte Bronte.
In the busy, incessant nature of life, do you ever feel as if you have got caught up in the thick of thin things?
I recall one experience recently, when my to do list had 50+ actions on it – all urgent!
Something had to change.
Simply stated, I had been walking around for too long with my head down, scurrying about from one thing to the next.
Sound familiar?
In our families, our homes and far too frequently in our workplaces, we can become too narrowly focused on the next email, the next conference call, the next meeting or become concerned about a troublesome conversation from weeks ago.
Then, sometimes I catch myself, I come back to the present moment, and I remember to look up and see what matters most.
Have you paused to reflect and look up recently?
I know that the simple action – to look up – will help you to see more of your own world.
It’s hard to be down when you are looking up.
As you board the bus, train, plane, tube, step into the car, or walk to work today, or even in your lunch hour – catch yourself, come back to the present moment – look up – and see!
Behold the wonders all around.

Time

As a teenager, only moments ago, I had time aplenty. However, youth moves quickly to maturity.
Now, in my mid 50โ€™s โ€“ Iโ€™m acutely aware of my mortality, my time here on earth is running out!
Families that were once young, are then grown, and then gone.
If we have lived through half a century, a quarter or even a fifth of a century, we know how quickly time has come and gone.
Like me, if you have lived through half a century, then youโ€™ll know as I do that two times our lifetime isnโ€™t very long at all!
Time is so full and yet so fleeting, and upon its use depends all the possibilities that there are.
Sometimes we can think of the past as a thing quite apart from the present. Really they are one eternal round.
As Goethe put it, โ€œthings which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.โ€
Jack N. Gerard observed โ€œWe live in a world of information overload, dominated by ever-increasing distractions that make it more and more difficult to sort through the commotion of this life. Unless we take the time to reflect, we may not realise the impact of this fast-paced environment on our daily lives and the choices we make.โ€
As I flick through TV channels, or scroll through social media, too often I find a world saturated with incessant noise, much of which is too loud, garish and crude. We need to pause and contemplate what we choose to do with the precious gift of time, before we fritter it away in frivolous โ€œtrivial tripe!โ€ said James E Faust.
We donโ€™t need more time. We have all the time there is. No one has more of it than each of us has. We must manage ourselves accordingly, rather than allowing conditions to manage us. Step back from the world – ask yourself how will I measure my life?
Words may change, styles may change, the man-made manner of life may change, but the stars in the heaven retain their course, and I know that our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, the creator of heaven and earth and all things are, remain in command.
โ€œTime is clearly not our natural dimension. This it is that we are never really at home in time because we belong to eternity. Time, as much as any one thing, whispers that we are strangers here.โ€ Neal A. Maxwell.
Treasure your time, value it, use it wisely. Much will come from very little effort if we slow down, observe and see.
How will you choose to use your time allotment today?

Overloaded?

Last Sunday, we decided to gourmet with the missionaries for dinner.
Elder Austin had never had dinner in quite this way before, and as Kyle and Cristi were still here, we thought it was a good idea to set it all up. It was New Year after all.
We got everything organised, with two grills on the table, meat, sauces, breads, plates, cutlery, glasses, extension cables etc.
Then we plugged in the grills.
Suddenly, the house was in darkness.
Weโ€™d blown a fuse!
A trip to the fuse box, showed that the circuit was broken, and the switch had tripped.
I tried to reset it, but it wouldnโ€™t reset.
The two grills were plugged into one socket. Hmm, “too overloaded” we thought.
We then put the grills into separate sockets and tried to reset the switch.
This time it worked, the lights came back on, and we had a lovely evening of gourmet together.
๐‘ซ๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’ƒ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’‚ ๐’‡๐’–๐’”๐’† ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’Š๐’Ž๐’†๐’” ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’๐’๐’‚๐’…๐’†๐’…?
In a similar manner, sometimes, when circumstances in our life demand more of us than we feel we can give, we can feel overloaded.
Just like the fuse box in our homes however, we also have some built in safety factors in our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state that help us to ensure that we donโ€™t overload.
Each of us have more built-in strength than we suppose.
Frequently, we must slow down, reappraise, readjust, rewire and consider what really matters most.
In that regard, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, a personโ€™s relationship with God is most sacred and vital. โ€œAs we seek Him, as we learn of His son Jesus Christ, as we open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Ghost, our lives become more stable and secure.โ€
I know that it is through coming unto Christ, that will bring you peace, stability, security and He will become the source of an uninterruptible source of constant power in your life.
What switch do you need to flick?

Enjoying the Moment

Recently I was asked, โ€œHow can you be really present and enjoy the very moment you are experiencing?โ€
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, itโ€™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 weโ€™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 โ€œone thing you will do today?โ€

What does it mean to commune with God?

Arising from my knees early this morning, I asked myself had I simply been โ€œsaying a prayer or had I ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’Ž๐’–๐’๐’†๐’… with God?โ€
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 ๐’‘๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’†๐’๐’•.
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 โ€œcommune with Godโ€
๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ง๐ž โ€“ โ€œto communicate intimatelyโ€
I returned to my knees.
I yielded myself to Him.
I began, slowly โ€œDear Heavenly Fatherโ€ฆโ€
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 โ€œin the name of Jesus Christ, Amenโ€
I waited.
I waited some more.
I listened for a while.
I listened, quietly, paying attention, listeningโ€ฆโ€ฆ
Answers came.
Are you simply getting your prayers done?
Or are you communing with God?

Ask first!

Standing in the kitchen, Monic passed me the jar of beetroot.
Having tried to open it already, Monic didn’t have to say anything, the look in her eyes said it all… “can you open that please?”
Taking the jar from her hands, I gave it a go.
Holding the jar in my left hand, I tried to open the jar with my stronger right hand.
No joy.
Holding the jar in my right hand, I tried to open the jar with my left hand.
Reflecting now on that silly moment – as expected, no joy!
“Try holding it under hot water” Monic said.
Under it went. Several attempts later, and after straining my right wrist – still no joy.
“Try it with a cloth” Monic said.
With my right wrist strained, it was back to holding it with my right hand and then trying with my left hand.
No joy.
Monic took the jar back again.
“I remember my mum said if I pry a knife under the lid, it may let a little air in and that may help” – said Monic.
So, taking a knife she pried it under the lid. Hey presto “pop” went the lid, a little twist with her hand – job done!
Moral of the story….
Pause, reflect and ask the question first…
“Has your mum given you any tips as to how to open that jar?” ๐Ÿ˜…

Enough!

Okay people…. seriously, when is enough, enough?
Are you chained to a to-do list for today and gauging your personal value and self worth on its completion or not?
There is hope!
Don’t beat yourself up, why not slow down andย  show some self-respect!
What does that mean?
Simply – not being overly self-critical, judgmental, or restrictive!
Start today and practice making purposeful shifts toward self-kindness.
Why not say to yourself as you finish one particular task and consider the next – “I could choose to do this, or I could choose not do it. If I choose to stop now, I will allow whatever I have accomplished today ๐’•๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’†๐’๐’๐’–๐’ˆ๐’‰.”
Enough definition “a sufficient number, quantity, or amount”
Let whatever you get done today – be ๐ž๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก!

Slow Down

This is my watch.
…For a while yesterday, time seemed to pass by a little slower.
…It felt a little unusual.
…By late morning, I discovered that the battery was running low.
…What I thought was 11.00, was nearly 11.45!
…We tried to find a new battery, without success.
…At first the slow passage of time was annoying.
…Now, looking at the second hand, time is going slower.
…I am enjoying the l-o-n-g-e-r passing of s-l-o-w-e-r time.
…What a joy.
…I just needed to slow down and enjoy every moment.
…My mobile will keep me on time today.
…Do you need to slow down too?