The Art of Managing Your Life (Or Not)

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives.  Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.“  ~Jim Rohn

 

Do you plan out your day?  Your week?  Your month?  If so, how much do you plan?  How far do you take it?  I’ve known people who could easily have PhD’s in planning… from Harvard!, and others who wouldn’t know what a simple calendar looked like, much less how to use it, if it hit them up-side the head.

So, where do I fit in?  Post PhD — I’m the dean of the School of Planning!

Sadly, it’s true.  And another thing that’s true:  I AM NOT BRAGGING.

I had to ask myself recently, with all of my views on Trust, on Letting Go, my beliefs on how Life ‘works,‘ my vow to experience What Is, and all of the other very zen qualities I surround myself with on a daily basis, how zen is it to schedule my meditation time on my iPhone?

Seriously.

At what point does our use of calendars, day planners, iPhones, and any other tool slide over from the helpful category to the hinder our growth category?  I mean, who is managing who, here?

 

The Key Is: Balance

 

(Free tip of the day — Balance is the key to LOTS of things.  Life, for one.)

Find that balance within your life.  At this stage in the game, my guess is you know yourself well enough to know what works for you and what doesn’t.

No?  If not, then here’s what I recommend:

If you fall into Option 1 above, the PhD planning person, once you’ve finished your planning ritual, whatever it may be, sit quietly.  How does it feel?  How do you feel?  Deep inside?  Do you feel calm, knowing that all i’s have been dotted and all t’s have been crossed?  Do you feel you have the freedom to change and be flexible as things arise unexpectedly?  If so, THAT is what balance feels like.  Your planning method works for you.

However, if you feel a tight, rigidness inside, that’s a clue that you’re holding on to something (??) tightly.  So tightly that any change of schedule would shatter your world.

Which begs the question:  If you’re holding your breath, hoping upon hope that everything goes according to your plan, constantly fixated on getting through each task, where’s the enjoyment?

This reminds me of a puzzle my mother and I put together the summer my husband, boys, and I were waiting for our current house to be built.  It now hangs in our laundry room:

If this is you, one who counts the days or the tasks, and you want to change, I have two examples I’d like to share with you that can be used as your guide.

1)  Check out “Cultivating A Spirit of Wander,” written by Bill Apablasa, blogger/writer for TheOther999Rooms.com.*

This is a profound post and will likely get you out of your comfort zone in a hurry (which is a good thing here; shock your system!), encouraging you to jump in feet first.

If you like what Bill’s suggesting, but don’t really know what that looks like, then….

2)  Check out “A Day of Pleasure. WITH NO GUILT.” for a true life example of a day when I went “off the grid” earlier this year.

I believe there is an art to managing our lives.  But as we manage them to be more productive, more efficient, more MORE, let’s also make sure we’re living our lives, enjoying them to the fullest.  Balance.

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.”    ~E. B. White

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TheOther999Rooms is my new WOW go-to spot.  I highly encourage you to check out Bill’s blog.  There is a Start Here tab on top where he begins:

There is an old saying that goes, “We’re born into a house with a thousand rooms, but only live in one.”  This website is about the other 999 rooms.

Bill’s writing stimulates my mind and encourages me to see the world differently, something this very in-the-box girl welcomes as a personal challenge.  He makes me laugh out loud with his quick wit.  I am never disappointed when I visit his site.

And the good, no, wonderful news is, he has just gotten started!  If you’re like me, I like starting from square one (room one), and proceeding in an orderly fashion, building as I go.  Therein lies the beauty — because this site is so new and fresh, your eyes will be some of the first to see it!  You can be a part of this amazing journey from the ground level.

I’m very rarely in-the-know about stuff out there, usually arriving late to the party.  However, this time, I feel as if I’m sharing a secret with you.

If you enjoy Bill’s blog, please consider sharing it on Facebook or emailing it to your friends.  Let’s not keep this secret to ourselves!!

 

The #1 Weight Loss Sabotager

In the previous post, How I Lost My Last 14 Pounds, I shared with you a daily log of what the scale read for SIX WEEKS as I lost the remaining pounds to take me back to my pre-surgery weight.  Weight, that for whatever reason, would simply not come off.

What I shared was data — actual numbers on a scale, something women very rarely do!

And as personal as numbers on the scale may be to many, what I’m going to share today are some personal discoveries around what I see as the #1 weight loss sabotager.

I Had Become a Mindless Eater

While on the HCG Program, the food you eat during the low calorie portion is quite specific.  This, I liked, because it took all of the guesswork out of it.  Here’s what I found:

I no longer nibbled.  I ate what I was supposed to eat, followed the rules, which meant there was no nibbling in between.  Constant snacking had become a habit.  A mindless habit.  This was a tough habit to break, but after a few weeks, it was indeed broken, and I’m happy to say, it has not reared its ugly head again.

I no longer used food as a distraction or a ‘break.’  When you’re on your laptop all day long, working/writing, there comes a point when you just want to get up and do something else.  It’s not necessarily that you’re hungry, but you want a little break.

My break had become food.  I wasn’t eating junk either; my ‘break of choice’ was a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit.  But by the end of the day, I had probably eaten close to 100 almonds and 4-5 servings of fruit.  A little excessive, maybe?

For my first 21 days on the program, I couldn’t have ONE SINGLE ALMOND.  Oh, how I missed them!  I was allowed two apples per day.  Oh, how I was sick of apples by the end of it!  But here’s what I noticed.  When I’d walk in the kitchen for my break, I’d quickly remember it wasn’t time to eat, then I’d stop and ask myself if I was even hungry.  The answer every time was NO.

So why had I walked in the kitchen, approaching the refrigerator or the pantry?  Out of habit.  Unconscious habit.

My other ‘break of choice’ was my afternoon cup of tea.  Not bad, right?  But I was adding close to a 1/2 cup of milk to it.  (My cup was mammoth size, requiring a lot of milk… which turns right into sugar.  I may as well have been drinking a milkshake!)  Only one tablespoon of milk PER DAY is allowed during the low cal portion of this program, then when you go into the following phase (Transition Phase), NO MILK IS ALLOWED.  (However, heavy cream is okay during this phase because it has no carbs and no sugars.)

My two daily cups of tea were my biggest challenge.  Bigger than the almonds.  How would my enormous cuppa taste right without all that milk?!  I needed that milk!  Besides, tea is more than a beverage to me, it’s a ritual.  I actually use my morning cup of tea to do a grounding meditation, feeling/following the hot fluid as it travels down my throat.  I follow it in my mind, concentrating on its warmth, as I ‘watch’ it flow through my body, and eventually exit through my feet, grounding me to the earth.

Surely, this experience would not be the same.

I ended up switching my mammoth cup to a much smaller one, one that would accommodate one tablespoon of milk, and you know what?  My meditation worked the same!  It was just as spiritual, just as grounding, and just as satisfying.

When I emailed my buddy Tony about this tea/milk discovery (because he knew how much I had been dreading this part of the program), I’m sure he could feel my radiance through the email.  I was over the top that I didn’t have to give up my Love!

Tony’s response was classic Tony.  He said:

“Smaller cup, smaller person. Sweet!  When we sort out our preferences from our unconscious habits we regain control over our lives.”

So true.

Today’s post has been about unconscious habits.  The next TLT post is about control.  Eating, and food, and control!  Oh my!!  (To be read like: Lions, and Tigers, and Bears!  Oh my!!)

The more we’re aware of our motives and observe our own actions, the closer we become to knowing and seeing and feeling our true selves.

Subscribe above.  That way you’ll never miss a TLT post.  Thank you!  Love, Leslie