Injecting New Life into Old Habits

“…Zen in its broad sense .. ‘ a disciplined life of simplicity and naturalness  … of a life compassionately concerned with our own and the world’s welfare … A life, in short, of harmony with the natural order of things and not in constant conflict with it.”

-(Thich Nhat Hanh)

Multi-tasking is non-productive and SO pre-pandemic!

We used to pride ourselves on our multi-tasking skills – our ‘super human’ ability to do everything at once, and all at the same time.

We didn’t notice ourselves as we frantically went hither and tither – to meetings and classrooms and coffee shops and supermarkets and dates … we were everywhere but here!

What we discovered in lockdown was that, despite not going anywhere – except going outside to get some fresh air and exercise – our minds were still frantically and habitually programmed to do everything all the time … and we zoomed here and zoomed there …

And we are more exhausted than ever …

Zoomed out …

Going out of our minds …

Time to stop.

We should not be frantically waiting until lockdown is over so we can return to the familiar madness ….

If we have learnt anything as citizens of the global village during this forced ‘adjustment’ to the outside world it is that some reassessment and regeneration is required.

The lesson must surely be to accept the uncertainty of life while fully committing to the certainty of the moment – mindful of the ever-present present; to focus on what is really important amidst the chaotic mess that clutters up our personal and precious space.

Easier said than done. Just because we are now aware of the damage that has been done to our sense of wellbeing – does not mean we have taken action to address it.

But act we must.  

Taking it step by step makes it doable:

1. Simplify

Simplify it all. It is not surprising that we are overwhelmed by it all. So much to do; so little time. By simplifying, you automatically structure your life so that priorities float while the insignificant sink… and die.

How?

· Cancel email subscriptions – you’ll be surprised how distracting incoming emails become and you really don’t need most of them.

· Delegate, e.g. hire a VA to manage your calendar and emails; buy a dishwasher; hire a cleaning service/babysitter/garden service.

· Assign specific times, days, or weeks to certain tasks, where possible, e.g. Meditate, create or exercise when the household is asleep; Thursday is laundry day; deep house clean on the last Saturday of the month.

· Declutter! Spring clean and donate or dispose of whatever is cluttering your physical space. Discover how liberating it is to have a clear space in which to be. Now do the same with the mental clutter.

o Clear your mind;

o Deal with and dispose of problems rather than recycling them;

o Stop crowding your cognitive resources with useless

information – be mindful of what you bring into your mind, be it

through social media, TV, YouTube, news reports, all of it.

2. Re-evaluate

In the mayhem of people-pleasing and being everything to everyone, you lose sight of what is important to you. Rediscover this Make a list of what you value most and prioritise it.   

3. Routine

Having a daily routine will make it easier for you not to fall back into the trap of becoming overwhelmed. With fewer thoughts bombarding you about all that needs doing, you will experience peace and be able to focus.

How?

With an actual to-do list so you don’t have to consciously remind yourself throughout the day.

4. Do One Thing

Do one thing at a time and give it all your attention and focus. Live mindfully throughout your day rather than just a few minutes of intense meditation.

How?

Incorporate awareness into all that you do. Be fully present with your loved ones. Take time to listen. Pay full attention to your work. Don’t allow one to contaminate the other. The significant effects will astound you and soon enough you will wonder how you ever lived any other way.

Peace and freedom are within your grasp. Reach out and own them.

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