Growing up in a single-parent household in the 1970’s, my rebellious nature challenged my mother almost every waking moment. If she suggested I do something, I wanted to avoid it. And, if she suggested I didn’t, I was incredibly curious as to why. It’s no wonder that I often found myself getting what parents lovingly call “a time out” — that momentary pause where a child is told to stay put and stay quiet.
While I loved the quiet that can be found in nature, and enjoyed reading a good book in the library, there was something different about getting a time out. Being forced to sit in silence was different than making the choice to do so for my own peace of mind.
Fast Forward to Now
As the years have passed by, I notice that I have become immersed into a sea of activity. There are only a handful of days throughout the year where there is an empty spot on my calendar, let alone an entire weekend all to myself.
Most weeks throughout the year, I pack a suitcase, hop on a flight (which involves a great deal of preparation and organization), and I move at the speed of light.
The truth is, I like being busy. I thrive in the excitement of getting things done.
My Wake Up Call
Several years ago, I was involved in a serious accident and my life moved from warp speed to running at a snail’s pace. In bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway, it happened.
Two cars in front of me, a utility vehicle dropped a large, metal cooler. The car in front of me swerved but hit the edge. As I swerved to avoid the cooler flying through my windshield, I overcompensated and lost control of my Trailblazer. In an instant, my SUV began spinning in traffic, slamming into the side of a tractor trailer and then the retaining wall. I blacked out for a moment and then remember coming to with cars whizzing by me on the freeway. My heart was racing, and I was crying. As I sat there, I began picking out small pieces of glass in my face, arms, and legs and then got out of the vehicle and assessed the damage. The gas tank had been pushed in and was in the back seat, and most of the windows had been blown out.
My life flashed by in an instant. I had been on a rocket ship – and it all slowed down in a single moment in time. Somehow, God knew that I needed that pause.
But, as I mentioned earlier there is something different about making the choice to slow down versus being told to do so.
Today, regardless of my daily drive to “do”, I understand the benefits of slowing down.
Before I sit down at my desk and begin moving though my list of daily tasks, I take time out for prayer and meditation. I breathe in the day, and set my intention for what is to come. And, there have even been weeks where I struggle to focus, and believe it is that Higher Power telling me to s-l-o-w down.
Instead of fighting it, I do like Mom did and give myself a time out.
Every time I choose to take this breather from my daily activities, I am renewed and refreshed. In the stillness, I often discover more than I can imagine.
In the pause, I listen to the song of my soul.
Contributed by: Lisa Marie Platske, President of Upside Thinking, Inc, (www.UpsideThinking.com) who is an award-winning leadership and connection expert and dynamic inspirational speaker/trainer known for her contagious high energy. Her newest book Connection ~ The New Currency: How Everyday Women Collaborate to Build Wealth, Community, and Prosperity (www.ConnectionTheNewCurrency) will be released in October 2011.