Slow Down

Spending Time in Quiet Places

quiet space.jpg

I was hiking with a friend recently and part of our discussion included how each of us spends quite a bit of time away from others, screens, noise, and out in nature. That without doing that on a regular basis we would not be very sane.

Our brains need down time and not just when we sleep.

There’s a reason why we sometimes pull away from people, noise, and screens. 

It’s what we humans need. It’s not negotiable. How well do you function when you force your brain to be ON all the time? Think about it. 

No one functions long term like that. 

Maybe for you, spending time in a quiet place could be out in nature.

It could be reading a book.

It could be meditating.

It could even be sitting in a room with background relaxing music on.

It’s anywhere that you feel your brain gets a break from stimulation.

This is often when breakthroughs happen for our life. The question we had that we were looking for an answer, or that problem with our neighbor we couldn’t find a resolution for. Amazing solutions can come through our brains to us, but you have to give your brain space for that solution. Quiet time gives your brain space. 

Underneath all the noise of the outside world and the noise of our brains talking to us, there is quiet, calm, and peace. It’s who you are at your core.

Almost everyone I know wants to feel more of that. 

Remove the noise, let your brain chatter for a while because it will, then see if you can notice the calm underneath. It’s always there. 

Are you already doing this consistently? I'd love to know.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would like this.

~ Susan

Do you feel stuck or confused about what you want your next step in life to be? I've got something to help. Grab 4 Surprisingly Natural Steps to Discover Your True Desires to get clear on your own answers for that question. 

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

Balancing out the Fall Rush

                          NOT my yard, but beautiful the same!

                          NOT my yard, but beautiful the same!

Since my husband and I moved to Central Oregon four falls ago from Fairbanks, Alaska we’ve been talking about landscaping our yard. We’ve thrown a few plants in here and there but nothing substantial. Finally this year we got serious about actually doing it. 

When we lived in Alaska we spent half the summer getting ready for winter   and autumn was a blink of an eye until the snow came down. It was an amazing place to live, and a hard one too.

I so appreciate four full seasons in Bend… and the time I actually have to get things done before old man winter arrives. With the climate seemingly shifting widely from year to year we’re not sure when that will happen this time around. Last year we had much warmer weather, even into November. This year we had over 2 feet of snow in the mountains mid-September, with only a smattering of temperatures above 70. So who knows how long fall will really last this year.

So, as many of you know, coming up with a landscaping plan for a yard can be a daunting task. I started with great vigor, reading blog posts from Master Gardeners in this area, heading out to chat with people who worked at greenhouses to get ideas, drew out a map of our planting area, thought about what was shady and what was sunny, weeded every area we would plant new things, composted and mixed it in with the soil… and then I started to get overwhelmed. 

“What if I spend all this time, energy, and money, and everything looks like total crap," my brain thought to itself. Sure we could get someone to come in and landscape for us, but at a great monetary expense, and that’s just not how my husband and I do things. We’re hands on/DIYpeople. 

So I had to take a step back. Which is always the best thing one can do when overwhelm sets in. What’s my goal in all of this?, I asked myself. I ‘d like to have a lovely landscaped yard with flowers and bushes that bloom from spring through fall. I know they’ll need water, fertilization, and weeding. Then I asked myself, what’s my biggest obstacle here? The fear that I’ll mess it all up and have to do it again starting over from scratch.

Now that fear could keep almost anyone from moving forward, but then I remembered something a Master Gardener told me during a class I once took. “Everything is an experiment, even for Master Gardeners”, she said. 

“Sometimes you plant something one year and it does fantastic. So the next year you plant the same thing in the same place, it’s a bust and you don’t know why.” 

I realized, I probably won’t have to start back over from complete scratch. Some things I plant will probably look fantastic, and some things just won’t make it no matter what I do. And do I really have to plan out and plant every single thing I want to put in right now? No. The idea sounds amazing, but the reality is, it’s not really a feasible, or even great plan. I’ll plant some things now and see how they fair over the next growing season, then plan again after that. 

Gardening is just like so many other things in life. It's not meant to be rushed through. You do a little, then you step back. Do a little more, step back again. It’s part of life’s ebb and flow. Nature’s ebb and flow. 

Where in your life do you need to stop the rush and step back?

Feel free to leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, susan@susancarrollcoaching.com.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would love this.

~ Susan

Helping You Live A Slower, Simpler Life

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

 

Take 4 Seconds Before Responding

Four seconds before responding, Susan Carroll, Life Coach, Bend, OR.jpg

I attend yoga classes about twice a week. The Saturday 8:15 am class has a rotating instructor so I never know who will be there that day and what type of class will be lead. Initially I didn’t like not knowing what to expect and now I go in with the sense that whatever it is I truly need that day, the instructor there is going to extend an invitation for something I can learn or experience. 

This particular class resonated. Our instructor, Santiago, talked about why we come to yoga. It’s not a check off your to-do list type of activity, it’s where you learn to go inward. To breathe. To learn. To grow. To be present. To feel your body. To stay with the poses. To stay with the movement between the poses. To not react so quickly to uncomfortableness and pain.

He spoke about how sometimes our day might be going quite well, then something unexpected suddenly happens, like getting stuck in traffic, or your spouse knocking over a lampshade and it breaks into 20,000 pieces on the floor. We so often react quickly with irritation, with anger, with frustration. 

In yoga, when a pose suddenly becomes uncomfortable or too much, you notice. What hurts and where? Is this pose too hard, are we in it too long? Do I need to shift just a little? It’s about taking the time to respond rather than react with negativity. Our minds are wired to act quickly. And we do. 

In life, like on the mat, in most cases, we don’t need the knee-jerk, angry reaction. Rarely does it do anyone any good or help. 

This is how what is learned in yoga can be used in other areas of life. We practice in a space where there is calm, then transfer that practice to a space that can be chaotic. Then practice it there.

I like to take four seconds before responding. Why four? It correlates with nature so well. Four seasons, four directions on the compass. It just feels natural. While on the mat, if a pose is uncomfortable I silently count to four and notice what needs to shift. Is it my body because a stretch is just too much for muscles, or is it my mind, the thought that I can’t hold this pose another second? That gives me four seconds to respond instead of react. To decide, what is the best, most helpful course of action here. Easing off a bit, or telling my mind it’s okay.

Life outside of yoga doesn’t have to be different. You can still take those four seconds to assess whatever situation is happening and decide how you want to show up. Maybe you still want to get angry, or yell. Maybe you don’t. Maybe the person who cut you off in traffic honestly didn’t see you, or really is running late and trying to get somewhere important on time. 

Those four seconds could be the difference between stress and peace in your life. 

Take four seconds before responding. Try it out.

Feel free to leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, susan@susancarrollcoaching.com.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would love this.

~ Susan

Helping You Live A Slower, Simpler Life

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

Living in the Slow Lane of Life (if that's your preference)

My favorite lane to drive in is the slow lane. My husband secretly (ok maybe not so secretly) is not a fan of this. Let’s just say I like to drive at a slower pace and if I’m behind someone driving more slowly than me it’s completely fine if I don’t pass them. Safety over arriving two minutes sooner is my policy. 

Living life more slowly and deliberately is also how I like to live. It is way more important than getting shit done. There will always be shit to get done. As long as you prioritize getting it done in a healthy way that works for you, then honestly, what needs to get completed, does.

There are several Slow Movements circulating world wide right now. This makes my heart so happy. Though I wouldn’t have realized so many people were interested in that lifestyle like me, I’m so glad people are, and we slow movers can all join in and be a part. 

There is a magazine out of Australia called Slow. Their tagline is, Good Things Take Time. The description of the magazine states, Slow is a quarterly Australian publication aimed at people who are curious about the slower things in life, and who want to create a thoughtful, sustainable (and fun and delicious) lifestyle. We love meaningful experiences in nature and at home, with food, fashion, travel, art, community and eco culture.

You can subscribe and get a paper, or digital copy. The articles are fun, interesting, and thoughtful. Topics range from food, wine, travel, art, culture, health, home, garden, and more. Here is their website to check out. You can sign up for the e-newsletter for free, by clicking here. You’ll receive a few free articles in your inbox every two weeks (or “each fortnight” as they say). 

You might get some great ideas and feel inspired. I know I do, and I love that others are with me in this thoughtful, slower journey. 

Check it out and let me know what you think. And By the Way, are you one of those people that enjoys living life at a slower pace? I would love to hear your thoughts on this if you are.

Again, the website, and to sign up for the free newsletter.

Feel free to leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, susan@susancarrollcoaching.com.

Please share if you know just the perfect person who would love this.

~ Susan

Helping you live a slower, simpler life

Image by Pixabay, with permission.

Living the Slow and Oh So Good Life

I live a slow life. What do I mean by a slow life?

It means I only say yes to things I really want to do. I say no when I really want to say no. I sleep at least 8 hours every night. I will leave a gathering of friends early to get sleep because when I’m tired my quality of time with them is diminished. I take the time to write this post for you every week because it’s fun. I exercise my body in ways that feel great, like running, hiking, mountain biking, and doing yoga. I sit on the couch or my deck when my body tells me it needs the rest. It always tells me what it needs if I really listen. I make sure I have time alone in nature to ponder. I don’t overbook myself with too many things to do in one day because that causes me stress and I’m not going to do that to myself. I don’t rush from one thing to the next trying to get it all done. I spend quality time with the people who inspire me.

slow-meandering-stream.jpg

It’s taken me a while to realize that I’ll never be complete. Never be finished. Never get it all done. And that’s perfectly ok. I don’t have to.

I get it. It IS the proverbial and literal journey that matters. Even when the journey sucks at times. And boy oh boy don’t we all know when it sucks.

I’m 45, approximately halfway to my life expectancy in the U.S. whatever that’s worth. But since I really have no freaking clue when my earthly expiration date will come, I’ve decided I might as well just enjoy the ride. Sometimes my days feel long. Not in the, “Oh good God please let this day be over” kind of way. But more in a “Wow, I’ve really enjoyed all the things I’ve done today” kind of way.

My life feels slow because I can see how much less I do than most people I know. But it is by choice. Some people flow much better with more on their plate. I flow with less.

Creating my time to fit my style is the best gift I can give to myself. I think I’ve spent years perfecting this without even knowing it. About 5 years ago I told the Universe I wanted to have free time to do whatever made me happy. And I actually believed I could have it. Not that I had to. Not that I was entitled. More of a “why not me” kind of desire. My wish was granted. I’m filled with gratitude for it but I also know that part of the reason I have what I want is that I’ve made choices in my life every step of the way to set me up for living the way I live.

Isn’t that part of life’s meaning? Knowing what you want, then taking action and making choices to get you to that place. It’s part practical, part magical. Yes, I believe the universe conspires to help you get what you desire AND the thoughts you think, the feelings you have, and the actions you take help too.

I found this quote the other day that sums all of this up pretty well.

”Nature never hurries, yet everything is accomplished." ~ Lao Tzu

My true nature is one that never hurries. Yet everything that needs to be accomplished in my life is. I often feel like a log floating down a river, meandering along, and enjoying whatever comes up around each bend.

Follow your own true nature, it will not lead you astray.

Leave a comment on the blog below if you’d like.

If you think, “I know one friend who would really like this”, please forward it to them.

If you found this helpful, let me know. I’d love to hear from you, susan@susancarrollcoaching.com

~ Susan

your true life (know it, feel it, live it)

Image by Pixabay