Summertime is arriving next week (officially) with Summer Solstice on June 21, but I have already happily sipped into the flow of the sunshine season enjoying more time outside both working and playing.
On most Saturday or Sunday mornings, I wander around my backyard, admiring the chickens as they attend to the business of their daily lives with a singular focus, pecking and scratching for worms or fallen bird seed. I can see a bit of myself in them, the part of me that gets myopically focused on a task, losing sight of the other more important things like pausing to enjoy it all. I drink my coffee and take in the new growth of foliage as the trees continue to unfurl into their full potential in this early season. They seem to have popped overnight with the sudden and consistent sunshine that followed our persistent, late winter. Within a few short months, these same trees that were barely sprouting tiny buds have yielded a full transformation into peak bloom in both flowers and leaves.
It occurs to me that this amount of growth is the result of a huge amount of energy and effort, all of which seems effortless to someone like me who is not a tree, nor a botanist, but simply and fan of the nature that thrives all around me this time of year.
It gets me thinking about how I'm spending my energy this season. I ask myself a key question to proactively avoid succumbing to temptations and distractions that are everywhere this time of year:
How can I prepare myself for success this season?
As I dance between meeting the needs of my relationships, honoring my commitments, tending to my self-care and energy, and prioritizing play and rest in equal measure, I remember quickly that I cannot do it all, so I ground myself with a question that primes my thinking before I make selective choices pertaining to how I choose to spend my time and energy:
How do I want to feel this summer season?
I hear Sublime's refrain in my head when I consider this question, “Summertime when the livin’s easy.”
Is the living easy? It can feel so abundant with things to do, places to go, and still work to be done, etc., that it feels like we are hustling to do it all. This busyness can quickly feel too intense to be "easy living" and before we know it really just stressful.
In the Pop-Rocks, sweet-candy summertime energy, I am working to do more of less—less pop, and more pause.
This month of June I am sinking into the theme of self-trust as I launch myself into a new season in my business and personal evolution, careful not to be tempted to overdo myself as I commit my energy, attention, and time.
When feeling too busy, too distracted, too pressed for time, and too committed, I know I need more time for stillness, to pause and simply be. It is a choice to allow myself time to physically recover to an inner sense of ease and grounding, also offering a spiritual recovery to self-trust, knowing that my connection inward with myself is my most potent resource for recovery and re-alignment.
It is in these pockets of spaciousness and timelessness that I can find my way to feeling grounded and recharged, while nourishing my creative spirit, feeling alive to the fullness of this season in my external and internal world.
Becoming conscious leaders in our lives and in our communities is an inside-out job. Being busy may feed our ego or satisfy an impulse in the moment, but in the long run, our value to ourselves and in our lives and relationships are rooted in our ability to know ourselves. This means honing in on understanding our driving motivations, our desires, our strengths, our passions, and our areas of growth in order to make decisions that consciously align with what we need/want to thrive.
Our stretch is to reclaim our time and attention for what we care most about, our values, for the sake of achieving our higher purpose, our vision. Our voice becomes our best tool for calling the shots, creating boundaries and inviting in more of what we want, allowing us to live our values and vision in real-time.
It’s a conscious effort to slow down and embrace doing less to feel into being more fully engaged, present, energized . . . more YOU! That is enough. You are enough. Nuff said.
Oliver Burkeman, author of 4000 Weeks: Time-Management for Humans (a great book, pick it up!), points out: “The only route to psychological freedom is to let go of the limit-denying fantasy of getting it all done.”
Perfect isn’t a destination, and there isn’t a place in the future where all of life’s open projects are done. Freedom is found in accepting our limitations of time and attention, allowing us to get laser-focused on what matters most.
So, next time you find yourself pulled in different directions, ask yourself:
Considering the choices for my attention, what would I feel most upset about NOT putting energy toward?
What choice can I make that will allow me to best honor my values, and as a result feel fulfilled?
What is the least I can do to feel satisfied with my choice to honor this value, i.e. how can I manage my output of energy and time?
How will I enjoy the easy-living energy of summer while still choosing to attend to what I am responsible for and feel joy doing? (This question is about determining what is enough?)
If you can answer those questions with clarity, you’ll eliminate the chance of regretting your decision, and set yourself up to feel deeply satisfied by the resonant choice you made.
Not sure what are your top values? Click here to download my free mini-workbook to guide you to discovering what fills your bucket!
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