The new year has come and gone and January has come to an end. I had the opportunity at the end of last year to take a few months away from home to travel and take time out to relax, reflect and rejuvenate. Even before I left home, I had great plans for things to do, places to go, people to meet, experiences to have and projects to accomplish during my time away.
In the first few weeks, I managed to tick off many items on my ‘to do’ list; eating lots of good food, visiting many interesting places or simply just chilling out. For whatever reason, at the end of many days, I had a nagging thought at the back of my mind: have I lived the day to the fullest and did I manage to do all that I had wanted to do? I also started worrying about things I needed to sort out when I got home! Such thoughts cast a slight pall and a sense of emptiness on an otherwise good day and caused me unwanted stress. I told myself I’ll get my act together and ‘achieve something’ in January once I’ve relaxed and chilled out and the new year has kicked in. The past month has been good but the nagging sense of having not experienced and achieved much became more constant and stronger: ‘ I’m two-thirds into my time away and I’ve not thought of any new business ideas yet…I’ve not even written a blog post…what do I need to do about this when I got home.’ Such thoughts created fear, worry and stress topped up with impatience; I wanted and needed things to get moving, to start happening and soon. Not surprisingly, very little happened.
I’ve since started to apply some counter-measures towards such unproductive thoughts and actions:
I’ve been focusing on things I’ve not done and the boxes left unticked. But by refocusing on what I’ve achieved and experienced so far in the last couple of months, I realized I’ve so much more to be grateful for: the lovely places, the beautiful weather, the vast spaces and the big skies, the delicious food, the relaxing massages, spending time with loved ones…I’ve been blessed with a lot more than I thought.
When I’m drinking my coffee and eating my meals, I make an effort to smell the aroma and taste and appreciate the flavours and textures. When I’m reading, I make an effort to read enjoyably and deeply. When I’m watching the sunset, I focus on the varied light and colours that splash across the sky. I just focus on what I’m doing and make an effort not to be side tracked by negative thoughts and things I needed to do and places I needed to be at. By living in the moment, I experienced a deeper sense of peace and fulfillment; of having lived and made the most of my day.
Going with the flow and taking inspired action
The greatest level of freedom is being at one with the Universe, of being part of its ‘flow.’ This is similar to the Taoist concept of ‘Wu Wei’ which literally means ‘Not Doing.’ It doesn’t mean we should do nothing but that we should put up no resistance to the natural energy of things- to just be. This might mean different things to different people. Using the example of water flowing over a rock in a stream- they are both acting in different ways but most importantly, they are acting naturally. The water is acting like water and the rock is acting like a rock and they both do not need to expend any energy in achieving this natural state. By forcing things along and trying to make things happen, we usually end up being worse off and no closer to our goal and destination. I have been trying to write a blog post in the last couple of weeks but hours spent sitting in front of my laptop have produced very little. I woke up today feeling inspired to write this post and I then took action and the post was written in a short time and with little effort. So when I think about my lack of new business ideas and progress, I’ve learned to go with the flow and when the time is right, the ideas will come to me instead of me scratching around and looking for it.
By keeping these three points in mind, I’ve learned to better live and enjoy each day as they come and in doing so, I’m certainly living life more fully and with fewer regrets.
If you are in tune with The Way things work
Then they work the way they need to
- Benjamin Hoff