Are you stuck and living on autopilot?
The Solution: Renewal and Reflect– Being focused and present in the “here and now” requires regular attention to our internal lives–what are our dreams and hopes and how do internal systems such as self-talk and physical alertness or energy impact our stuckness or inaction? . One important way to renew from 21 Century always on and hurry sickness is to take a weekend break or ” recovery”. For example, you might experiment with turning off TV’s, radios and all other technology gadgets in your live. When we take a break, we gain recovery time, replenish or energy reserves and gain insights about what activities play a part our busyness and stress in life. This recovery time provides the opportunity to focus on what is important in our daily living and what are time wasters and distractions.
When we lose touch with our core of interacting face to face and eyeball to eyeball we lose a chance for real connections based on attention and intimacy. Our perspective and positive connections decrease because of our removal mentally and physically from others. We gain back our perspective by turning off outside distractions and by letting our intuitive voice guide us.
Sometimes we are open to renewal because our energy is at low levels or stress is reaching a breaking point. When crises drop into our lives, we are forced to stop, challenge our thinking and actions and reflect on our next course of action . At times when things seem to be going smoothly, we may not sense the need at all. The truth is it is better to be proactive in understanding how we live are lives rather than waiting for outside events to happen to get our attention.
Taking a complete “blackout from TV and all other media may seem a bit extreme and strange, yet it can help us regain our balance and focus in life. So, how do we go about this renewal or recovery approach?
How to Renew and Recover
When we’re disconnected and not available to others we begin to disengage in personal connections and opportunities to really let others know we care. In order to know people, we have to listen to their stories. We live in an age when we rarely have the time to fully listen to and hear each other’s stories. So, we live on impressions and assumptions. We’re busy people, after all, and we want our friendships easy and stress-free.
Commit to go without media or technology gadgets for 24 hours! No cell phone, computer, laptop, Kindle, TV or radio for 24 hours—call it a “recovery holiday”
A break from techno-busyness forces us to confront core questions about life. “Do I see friends more often?” “Do I really know their stories?” “Am I accessible to those I love?” Where am I going with my life? Am I making the difference in the world I hoped to do?
In the morning, get up a little earlier. Before you get involved in anything, just sit quietly for ten minutes and take three deep breaths. Breath one–just be present. Breath two–develop a grateful for…list. Breath three–focus on your mission and purpose in life purpose. Breath four-smile. Breath five clear you mind. Breath six. twinkle your eyes. Then envision your next 24 hours. Picture the activities of the day without outside interference and have to dos…no cutting the lawn, listening to baseball game or emailing friends. Picture the potential “Aha moments”—times where you will have face time with people.
Maybe choose one friend (or a colleague) and get to know their story. Throughout the day, look for Aha or purposeful moments—opportunities to connect with people through a question, a kind word, an extended hand. In these moments, ask people what they are truly excited about, passionate about, a recent vacation or Holiday that was exciting or special for them—and listen.
What is the mood of these purpose moments? My hunch is that you’ll sense the mood that most of us yearn for—someone in our lives who “gets us.” We want someone to push the pause button on technology and listen to our stories. We’re hungry for deep connection.
The essence of renewal was captured clearly by Gardner in a book entitled Self-Renewal: “Exchanging stories is like making love. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill, engagement—and it teaches those qualities too.”
Renewal of our operating personal operating systems is powerful. It slows us down. It teaches us that patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill and sharing are fundamental qualities to finding meaning in a harried and stressed out world.
By all means have fun with this renewal experiment and as usual share your stories with us so we can learn the benefits of this “recover weekend”.