Paying the Sleep Mafia

Beauty SleepIt has been a solid week of me making the effort to get to sleep earlier, and I’m starting to feel the difference. A little.

It’s been quite an effort on my part this past week to have the lights out by 10:00 pm, my self-imposed bedtime.  I’ve had to re-think how much I can accomplish each night when I get home from work, and how many extra-curricular activities I am going to schedule for myself and my family. I’ve had to decide exactly what my priorities are – is it more important to me that I write in my journal, or watch the video I borrowed from the library so i can return it on time?

I’ve been diligent and conscious of each of these decisions all week and for the first few days, it just wasn’t enough.  In fact, after two days of going to bed earlier, it was even harder to get up the next morning! I felt like the sleep mafia had come and demanded payment all at once for all the sleep I had ever missed. I even moved my meditation time back 20 minutes so I could catch a few more zzzzz’s.

Now, a full week in, it is a little easier to wake up, though on Sunday when I didn’t have to be awake at a certain time, inertia tied me to the bed extra long. 🙂

We don’t always realize how important something like sleep is until it starts making a noticeable effect on our daily life. For me that amounted to increased difficulty getting up in the morning, and low energy throughout the day. Then, what really triggered me to take action: I could not focus during my daily meditation.  My mind flitted from one thing to another, or I fell back to sleep.

I’m going to continue this week to get to bed as close to 10:00 pm as i can, though it will be interesting with the conference I am going to this weekend for work. I’m determined to keep the sleep mafia, and more importantly, my body, happy though.

Some good advice that a friend once gave me, and that has not always been easy to follow: “Listen to your body.  And then do what it says!”

Blessings,

Mary

The Balance Between BE-ing and DO-ing

I’ve noticed a trend in my life.  I either get stuck in the DO-ing-ness of my life, or drift off into the BE-ing-ness of it. The balance between the two is elusive.

Not long ago, I was all DO-ing.  My days were scheduled to the minute, and I got a lot done.  My DO-ing times can be very productive.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t want to DO anymore.  I just wanted to BE.  In these BE-ing times, its all about me.  I read fiction. I sleep.  I avoid checking my email for days at a time. I really want to hibernate, or go be a hermit. Its not that I DO nothing.  I still go to work, and I am still taking care of my family.

And then, I start feeling like I am wasting my time, because I am not DO-ing anything productive. But I don’t want to. But I need to keep the commitments I have made. And on and on goes the conversation in my head.

Balance between Being and DoingSo how do I keep a balance between my DO-ing and my BE-ing?  That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? 🙂

Knowing that balance is not a static position, but one that is fluid, in constant adjustment, helps. There is no one thing that I can do and suddenly achieve balance for the rest of my life.  It’s something I have to work at.

So here are some things I am DO-ing to incorporate BE-ing into my days:

  • I set aside time each day to BE. Part of that is my morning meditation, part of it is my daily walk.  Part of it is writing in my journal.  While all of these are still “activities”, they aren’t about achieving an immediate goal, or accomplishing a task. They contribute more to my over-all well-being.
  • I set an intention each morning for something I would like to accomplish that day.  This way I make sure I am not drifting through my days getting nothing done.

What things do you do to balance BE-ing and Do-ing?  I’d love to hear your ideas, and add more tools to my toolkit!

Blessings,

Mary

How do I show up in the world?

I am vicariously taking part in an 8 week coaching program with The Peaceful Woman called Inspired Living.  I say vicariously  because I am not able to take part during the live call, but I can go back and listen to the recording.  Last week was the first session, and I just listened to the call today.

We did an assessment of our lives–looking at various areas and how fulfilled we are by those parts of our lives, and how different areas of our lives support us.  This was an interesting exercise for me.  Some of these areas I knew were not fulfilling me, and I’m working to change that.  Some areas that on first thought I would have said were great, after listening to the discussion I decided I really could be more fulfilled in that area of my life.   Areas that I would have said are not supporting me, really do support me more than I think.

After looking at the balance, or really, lack of balance, in my life, I have to ask myself some powerful questions: How am I showing up in the world?  How do I want to show up in the world?  How different are the answers? And what do I need to do to bring them into alignment?

I feel that I am showing up as Super Mom, an overachiever who has so many things to do, one wonders how any of it gets done.  And I do feel like I have too many projects on the go, but I am not sure how to pare it back.   Each project feels essential to one or another of my goals.  And yet, if I don’t slow down, I may crash.  I notice I go through this cycle from time to time, usually when I have fallen behind on my daily meditation, journal writing, and/or exercise, all of which has happened lately.

The answers to the other questions are going to take a little more time, meditation and reflection to answer.  As requested by my coach, I have chosen a theme for the rest of 2010: My life supports my purpose and my purpose supports my life.  I’m still working to bring all the areas of my life into alignment with my purpose.  I’ll keep you posted as I work out the answers to these questions!

If you know me, how do I show up for you?  Or, how do YOU show up in the world, and how does that compare to how you want to show up?

Blessings,

Mary

Responsibility

Many teachers and gurus talk about the importance of taking responsibility for everything in our lives.  On one level, I totally get it.  Everything, good and bad that has happened to me, all of my current circumstances are a result of choices I have made.  I understand, and I accept it.

At another level, I struggle with this lesson. Over and over again.

Here’s how that plays out in my life.

I get a great idea, or an opportunity comes my way.  I get excited about the project, and make plans for how I will accomplish it.  I get started, and then it hits me…I have three young children.

I become overwhelmed by my perceived time pressure.  Between work, spending time with my children and my husband, my journal writing, meditation and spiritual practices, home chores and the new responsibility of whatever the project of the moment is, I start to feel burned out.

I want to be Super Woman, and do it all! The fact remains that I am a mortal woman who gets cranky when I don’t get enough sleep.  Not to mention self care!

At times, I have arranged for others to care for my children while I pursue my vision/idea/opportunity.  I end up missing them, they miss me, and they start acting out to get my attention.  And, I didn’t have children so I could pass them off to someone else to raise.  While my children have never been this out of control…

Responsibility? funny picture

…there are times when my house gets a little out of control!  Like now for instance.  One is in the bath, and two are chasing each other in circles around the house.  And I’m working on this blog post.  This would be one of those Calgon moments, right?

There are so many things I want to go out and do.  So many things I want to accomplish.  And so much of my children’s lives I would miss were I to take off and pursue all those things.

I sometimes console myself with the fact that I am still pretty young, and I will have plenty of time to pursue those dreams as the boys grow older.  They are only young once, right?  Or, if I miss one opportunity now, another bigger and better opportunity awaits me.  And still I struggle with wanting to do it all. NOW!  The fact remains that I chose to become a mother, and for all my complaining, I really enjoy growing with my children.

Since this theme keeps recurring in my life, it’s obviously one of those life lessons that is going to keep coming up until I truly figure it out.  Or until they all grow up and move out of the house.  Nahhh, who am I kidding?  I will still want to do more things than I have time to do! 🙂

So, how about you?  How do you balance all your responsibilities?  Do you fully accept responsibility for all aspects of your life?

Responsibility Quote

The Pain of Discipline vs. the Pain of Regret

I have several practices that I do on a regular basis: yoga, journal writing, and meditation. Over the holidays, and the time leading up to the holidays, my discipline at maintaining these practices has been slipping. As someone with a history of procrastination, I have had any number of reasons (read: excuses) as to why I cannot do any or all of them. Since I practice first thing in the morning, and right before bed, many of my excuses revolve around sleep.

“I stayed up too late last night, so I ‘m going to sleep a little later this morning.”

“I feel a cold coming on, so I am going to rest more to fight it off.”

“I have to finish reading this book so I can get it back to the library.”

Thinking of these three practices (yoga, meditation and journal writing), it can be difficult to measure the effects of doing or not doing them.  If I don’t brush my teeth before bed, it’s easy to relate that to furry teeth and horrible morning breath when I wake up.  If I don’t put my raw breakfast on to soak before I go to bed, I have to have something else to eat in the morning. But is the late afternoon headache coming on because I didn’t do yoga, or because I didn’t drink enough water today?  And am I irritable because I didn’t write in my journal or meditate last night, or because my hormones are changing with the onset of my moon time?

And then there is the guilt.  I made a commitment to myself to practice yoga at least three times a week, and to journal and meditate before bed at least 5 times a week.  If I can’t keep my commitments to myself, how trustworthy am I?  And if I am not keeping my commitments, I am not in alignment, and I am not attracting the things I want into my life.

Why did I make these commitments in the first place?  Yoga helps keep me flexible and is a good way of combating chronic plain.  Writing in my journal and meditating help me stay balanced emotionally, and help me feel calm and peaceful.  I am able to stay focused longer and accomplish more.  And frankly, I don’t like what I become when I am not practicing.

So while it may always seem easier to follow an excuse and not get up for yoga, or short myself on meditation time so I can get back into whatever book I am reading, I almost always end up regretting the decision.  Discipline is much more challenging to maintain, but it is so much easier to live with than the regret of not following the discipline.

Keep this in mind as you make your New Year’s Resolutions, if you partake in that ritual.  Will you be self-disciplined enough to keep your commitment?

Blessings,

Mary

PS. How do I best impart this lesson, which has taken me over 30 years to understand (and I still haven’t gotten it perfect!), to my young sons? 🙂

Can’t Sleep? Try Meditation

Article by William Bodri on The Chase Carter Method Tones for Healing

Many people cannot sleep at night. They try wearing socks, drink relaxing herbal teas or take tryptophan or melatonin, read a book, keep a stress journal, and try all sorts of other expedients to help them fall asleep and get a good nights rest. What if I were to tell you that you could use this downtime as a chance to practice meditation?

Continue reading…

Blessings,

Mary

Get your free full-length guided meditation here.

Getting Into Alignment

I had an aha! moment the other night as I was writing in my journal.  I’m feeling the need to go to another personal development conference or workshop.

I’ve been to several really amazing ones in the past year, and I always come home feeling on top of the world and soaring with energy.  The last one I went to was The Peaceful Woman in August.  While I am blessed to participate in weekly phone calls with a group of Peaceful Women, and even more blessed to have an in-depth check in with one woman in particular, it’s not quite the same as being in the same space with others of like mind.

Why is that?

The conclusion I came to is that regularly going to conferences or workshops and being in a group of self-aware or high vibration people is like going to the chiropractor.  My body gets so used to being out of alignment, that it becomes the norm.  If I don’t have an adjustment for a while, then I need to go several times to get my body used to being in alignment.  With regular maintenance, being in alignment becomes the norm.

The same can be said for my energy body.  A year ago I went to three weekend intensives in three months.  I was pumped, excited, and it set a really good precedence for the year.  Then, I couldn’t keep up with the expense and the time away from work, so I didn’t go for a while, and my energy lagged.  This summer, I went to a few more, but now it has been three months and I am feeling the need for re-alignment.

The phone calls are kind of like the chiropractor just adjusting my lower back, or just my neck, but not my whole spine.  It helps, but it’s not as good as the full meal deal.  I’m working to manifest a couple of trips in the next couple of months to help get me back into full spiritual alignment, alignment with my soul’s purpose.  In the mean time, I’m continuing my meditation and journal writing practices for my mind and spirit, like my yoga practice for my body.

Because I now appreciate the value of regular adjustments, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Blessings,

Mary