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Insights: Time to Reflect
June 14, 2011
Time to Reflect
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"Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save."
- Will Rogers
The thing I love about Cape Town is the unceasing variety that it manages to dish up in terms of weather.
We pretty much get it all. Chilly, gale force winds in spring, balmy autumn days, crackling hot summers and cold fronts with drenching rain in winter.
Not infrequently - a surprise!
Not infrequently, though, our weather breaks this mould and surprises us. Like today. I'm sitting outside to write this - an unlikely event in winter - gazing out on the millpond that is False Bay, framed by verdant green mountains and capped by azure blue skies completely devoid of cloud.
As I take in the peacefulness and beauty of the view - and breathe in deeply as I come to terms with how busy I have been over the past weeks and months - I appreciate how important it is to take time out to reflect.
Too few hours in a day
One of the things that always strikes me when I talk with other people is how frantically busy we all seem to be. Many people talk about how their workloads have increased, others talk about how time seems to be speeding up - but the common refrain is that there are far too few hours in a day to get done all we feel needs to be done.
For example, it's a sad but understandable fact that 95% of the people who unsubscribe to Insights claim they do so because they are simply 'overwhelmed' with too many emails or information.
Of course, we humans have only ourselves to blame ...
Technology - saviour or curse?
Increasingly rapid advances in technology were hailed in the seventies as the solution to our work woes. Lifestyles would become ever more comfortable and enjoyable as new devices automated repetitive work and relieved us of our burdens, freeing us up to do the things we really wanted to do.
So what happened?
While new technology has indeed helped us to complete tasks that would previously have taken hours or days in minutes, it has also stripped us of our private time.
In my recent book, I talk about the evolution of an 'always on' society where it has become almost socially unacceptable not to be available 24/7, whether that be for work or private purposes.
My daughter, who is flying to the UK via Dubai tonight said: "Don't worry Mum, I'll SMS you the minute that we land in Dubai." That'll be 3am in the morning for us, I thought, diplomatically choosing not to complain!
The result of the 'always on' society that we have created is that most of us have lost the ability to pause and reflect deeply on our lives and the direction we want them to head in. We're simply too busy getting stuff done!
And yet, the act of pausing, observing and reflecting is of critical importance in getting to know ourselves. If you read Love and Abundance last week, you'll appreciate that knowing yourself is the first step towards accepting yourself and ultimately being able to love yourself for what you are - which is when the abundance of this magical universe starts to make itself obvious.
If you've reached this point in my message then you have just embarked on a brief course of pausing and reflecting. Do you feel better for having done that?
If so, why not take it further?
Your conscious mind needs variety in order to be at its most effective. Focusing on the same issues for too long brings about fatigue and frustration. Issues that you feel need to be 'resolved' and make you feel stressed are best handled by your subconscious mind that works 'behind the scenes' to find solutions to meet your needs, while your conscious mind 'enjoys a breath of fresh air'.
Time out to reflect and correct
So, anytime you're feeling stressed with a situation, overwhelmed by the amount that you feel 'needs' to get done or simply 'stale' and in need of reinvigoration, take a little time out, observe the tranquility of the natural beauty around you, reflect on the outcome you truly want, question whether what you are doing will get you there, resolve to make some changes - and take action.
In many respects this is exactly what life coaching is about.
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