During the last week of 2010, I attended a meditation retreat in the countryside of Colorado, much of the time in snowy quietude. I hadn’t really wanted to travel at that time of the year, since I had things I wanted to do and friends I wanted to be with at home before the new year started. However, I’d made a promise to myself that I would do this, so I went.
What I found was what I remembered from earlier times creating a similar space for being in a deeper way with myself-- parts of me opened up that had been cramped and lost to view during the year. My mind felt clear, my energy brighter, and I felt at peace with who I was. The sense of striving and complexity of my professional and personal lives eased and simplified. I had a renewed perspective of myself as relaxed into wholeness.
How had I forgotten how vital it is to take time out to renew and remember my true nature? When I returned, I was very conscious of the sheer amount of distractions and choices required every hour of my waking day. When I was on retreat, there was only thing to do at a time-- wake, meditate, eat, listen to a teaching, walk, eat, meditate. listen to a teaching, stretch, walk, eat, connect with the group, and sleep. I remember having the powerful realization during one meditation period that I was very happy, that I felt at ease in my body and filled in my spirit-- and ready for all the possibilities of living fully!
For those of you who have been grappling with the many aspects of creating career and life transitions, busy every minute of the day, dealing with uncertainties and complex choices, I strongly recommend creating a way to feel spaciousness in your lives. While a vacation getaway is important during the year, you can fashion your own way of taking briefer but potent timeouts daily or weekly from the demands of everyday life.
Here are some examples from clients of mine that allow them to feel peace within themselves and know what they truly want -- 1) a nature walk by water or by your favorite trees, breathing in the fresh air; 2) a relaxing bath with soothing music; 3) a weekly yoga class with a favorite teacher who helps you open into the spaciousness of your own body; 4) taking time to sit in a favorite place drinking tea from a beautiful cup and just letting your thoughts roll by.
As Tarthang Tulku-- the promoter of the Tibetan Buddhist body-energy exercises called Kum Nye-- wrote: “We all have had moments or times when we felt particularly alive, when the world seemed fresh and promising, like a flower garden on a bright spring morning . . . The air pulses with life. Our bodies feel healthy and energetic, our minds clear and confident . . . Nothing is fixed, and we feel spacious and open. We act with perfect ease and appropriateness.”
I invite you to plan ways to bring moments and times of spaciousness into your lives so that you will feel the clarity and energy to go forward towards what is really important to you, with work and in the rest of your life. Just as grace notes in classical music offer a pause in the melody to renew your enjoyment of the whole piece, so creating spaciousness through timeouts for your body and spirit reinvigorates your power to enjoy the unfolding of your whole life.
Join in the Discussion!
- How have you created spaciousness and timeouts in your life?
- How has this supported you in finding what you really want for yourself?
- What are your concerns about creating spaciousness and timeouts in your life?