Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘personal reflection’

Taking Time to Reflect

We often judge our lives by how busy and productive we are on a daily basis. There are jobs to be done, people to serve, reports to write or experiments to be run. We move faster and faster trying to leverage every last second of the day into a result. Then, one day we stop and reflect on what it all means. We have accomplished a great deal and yet may still feel a nagging sense of emptiness or exhaustion. Why?

Could it be that in our manic need to achieve we have forgotten ourselves in the process? Have we been running so fast that we forgotten to stop and and smell the roses along the way? It happens as part of living in our twenty first century world. A world of overload – information, expectation and speed.

Have we internalized the message that we are simply what we do, what we accomplish, or what we own? If so let’s mentally fast forward a few years. When all the doing and owning is achieved what is left? Do we think that simply our hard work and accomplishments will result in ultimate happiness? It takes way more than that to achieve lasting happiness.

Maybe there’s more to the story. Of course, we need to be productive in our lives and pay the bills, put bread on the table so to speak. Accomplishment gets our blood pumping but the challenge – the critical issue seems to be one of learning the importance of balance in our lives. Rarely do our parents – our earliest teachers point out the importance of it. Balance is a concept that is rarely learned early in life. But now is a new day – a chance to develop a healthier sense of self by practicing something that will serve us well for the rest of our lives.

It’s not easy to train ourselves to slow down and breathe deeply to absorb certain moments in our life. At first the practice may even be judged as either unproductive or at least an interruption in our ‘Achievement Schedule.’ Don’t be fooled – you need and even deserve it. The moments, for instance, when we take the time to visit with friends, engage in an activity, observe nature, or simply read a book for pure enjoyment are precisely what gives us greater texture and depth in our lives. We become deeper, more at peace and more gentle with ourselves and others. Life becomes more than simply getting from here to there as we learn to appreciate the moments, the stops or even detours along the way. We start to realize that we are more than simply the sum of our parts when we take time to step off the never ending treadmill of doing and move, even momentarily, into a place of pure being through reflection.

I’m not talking about taking an inordinate amount of time out of your daily schedule. Over the next few days try taking 10 or 15 minutes just for you. Inhale deeply and observe something about yourself or others more fully. Listen to your thoughts – really listen. What do you see or feel differently about after this short respite? What ‘Aha’ did you discover in the process? You have worked hard, achieved much, and helped a great deal. Now it’s time to give to yourself. The sooner you start this practice of daily reflection the happier and more balanced your life will become.

Have a great few days!

Determine Your Patterns!

‘What has become clearer to you since we last met?’ Albert Einstein was known for asking friends and acquaintances this question when greeting them. The beauty and depth of the question cannot be overstated. Everyday we have the opportunity to expand our awareness and experience base in the physical, mental, emotional or spiritually area. We can discover more about ourselves and others through observation and personal reflection. But, you might asked, ‘What’s the purpose? Why go through those gyrations – I have enough to think about just getting through the day.’ Ahh yes…and our life dramas continue.

The ‘why’ is quite simple really. The more you learn about yourself and those you are close to – the easier and more meaningful the journey. For those who work at developing greater self awareness throughout their lives they become more empowered to handle what ever comes their way.

The more we know about ourselves the better equipped we are to handle life’s ups and downs. We begin to accept that each of us is challenged by a range of different things – relationships, feelings of insecurity, fear of risk taking – just to name a few. One thing’s for sure, everyone experiences challenges as part of the human condition – life it is an equal opportunity employer! Some have just figured out how to maximize their learning and minimize the time involved in the pursuit. They have done this by determining their own unique patterns of behavioral response and plan accordingly.

On going self reflection allows us to better understand why we react in certain ways. We all have hot buttons that can send us into orbit. Later we often blame ourselves for ‘losing it.’ The question then is once we realize our pattern of response to a typical circumstance what do we plan to do differently the next time a similar thing happens? If we simply react the same way as in the past that’s self defeating – basically we haven’t learned a thing from the challenge. True to form then, the Universe will continue to present the same basic lesson to us, albeit in a different context, until we get it. It is said that the Universe first whispers, then talks and eventually shouts to get our attention.

Doesn’t it just make sense to work at knowing ourselves deeply enough that we can recognize an upcoming touchy situation for what it is and proactively develop a plan to respond to it? Once we change our previous emotional response to something more productive the rest is history. We feel more in control and more confident to face the challenges of tomorrow.

The response then to Einstein question would be ‘I learned — about myself and this deeper understanding will enable me to respond more confidently in the future.

Have a great few days!