Last week I scheduled a call with my writing coach, Christine Hemp (who I realize also serves as my spiritual director) because I was feeling creatively dry. My mind was frantic, overwhelmed by work responsibilities that just kept coming, one email at a time. I couldn’t keep up. When I did get a chance to sit down at my desk for an hour or so of uninterupted writing time the words wouldn’t come because my mind was preoccupied by the stress of my to-do list.
During our phone conversation, Christine asked me to recall my intentions for the year. This is a list she has me create of personal, professional or spiritual goals that I intend to prioritize. I was surprised to realize that I couldn’t remember any of my intentions. Wow. I needed to make a change.
Sometimes all it takes is the smallest change, a minor life tweak, to improve your quality of life. As I considered how my intentions had gotten away from me, I realized that my habit of sleeping with my Smartphone beside my bed (I used it as my alarm clock) was not serving me well. The first thing I did when my alarm went off in the morning was reach over to grab my phone and check my email. Then, I’d check my email every few minutes throughout the course of my day up to the moment before I set my alarm at night and went to bed. No wonder my mind was feeling so frantic with all that digital stimuli. No wonder I had forgotten my intentions because my emails were dictating my intentions for me. Every email required a response. Every email I opened was an invitation for someone else’s needs to direct the course of my day, my actions, and my intentions.
So I quit sleeping with my Smartphone. I started using my alarm clock instead. (I even bought a new alarm clock that wakes me up to the sound of the ocean crashing against the shore. Nice, huh? ) I promised myself that I wouldn’t check my email until after I had gotten my kids off to school, created my list of to-do’s for the day (which included a set time to check and respond to emails) and sat for my morning meditation practice. So far, this has made a world of difference. I feel like my day is my own again. I feel more present to my children in the morning. I feel nurtured by my meditation practice to respond better to the needs of others. I have regained the spaciousness my spirit requires for my creativity to bloom. I am being productive again.
What are your intentions? What changes, or minor life tweaks, do you need to make? How can you nurture yourself today so you can better respond to the needs of others?
[Feature Image: Guilherme Tavares]