Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Opening Up Space

Sometimes we just have way too much going on – so much so that we find that we just don’t have the capacity to focus on all that is important to us. We feel tired, stretched, and maybe even unfulfilled or ineffective. This is the time to take a look at commitments and see if they are still in alignment with what we want and who we want to be. If the glass is already full, anything added will cause it to spill. And if added with enough force, the glass may even crack and break. The metaphor points to the idea that if we try to do it all – and then some – we could overload to a breaking point. But we don't want it to get to that, so something needs to give.

Take a look at all that you are saying “yes” and “no” to. It might be commitments at work, home, in your social life, or even in your love life. Make a list in two columns. Then evaluate whether they are still commitments you want to keep. Consider distractions as well, such as physical or mental clutter (see a description HERE) as areas where you may also be saying “yes/no.”

Consider where you might be able to eliminate anything that is no longer working for you. Some things may be simple, like cleaning out a closet, or dropping membership to a committee. Other areas may be more complicated, such as a friendship that has run its course or a job that no longer fits your values. Do some reflection on how to be more vigilant about taking care of yourself by not over-committing, saying “yes” because you feel you should or will look bad if you “no,” and of course being thoughtful/respectful in how you decline.

But keep in mind: even in situations that might feel difficult to change, if you open up space in your life (time, energy, physical space), you are opening up the capacity for those things (a new job, a new relationship, rest/rejuvenation) that will better serve you in the long run. Without that space, you could not only miss it when it crosses your path, but when you do see it, you simply won’t have the room for it.

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