Personal note

It’s late August, and amazingly enough, Fall is in the air. Leaves are already showing color, temperatures at night are dropping, stores are full of school supplies, and a sense of urgency to get things done after the languid days of summer seems to overtake us.

I am on a mission to get everything in my office necessary for a successful Fall season organized by September 1, so that I can devote myself to my passion – writing, and especially meeting and interacting with people, whether as individuals or audiences for my talks.

I have to remind myself to program “Islands of Peace” into every day, or I could end up starting this exciting season exhausted and ill instead of charged and ready to go.

So could you. This week’s article is a reminder that you don’t necessarily need to book a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast inn (although that would be nice) to give yourself a restful break.

Is relaxation time impossible for you to find?

Do you find yourself rushing all day, hoping to save some time at the end of the day in which to relax? Only to find that the time you “saved” by rushing wasn’t to be found later on? Perhaps your day is filled with “must do or else” activities that make it difficult for you to find time to slow down and take care of yourself.Here’s an “Island of Peace” you can find, even amidst that kind of chaos. Some time during your day, you must be on the move – from the office to your car, from bus stop to shop, from home to store. Why not use that time productively, not by worrying (which is seldom productive) but by quieting your mind and body.

Try using your travel time for this variation of a “Walking Meditation.”  Here’s how it works:

Body awareness

Start by taking a few deep breaths. As you exhale, imagine that a shower of relaxing energy is pouring down your body, from the crown of your head to your chest and shoulders, then flowing out of your fingertips and toes, washing out all tension and care.

Walk mindfully, feeling your feet touch the ground and being aware of the powerful force rising through your legs to your whole body.

If you are one who can imagine hearing music (or you have ear buds), walk in rhythm to a favorite piece of music.

Mental awareness

Focus on your immediate environment rather than your hectic thoughts about the future or draining thoughts about the past. Look for things to delight you that you might otherwise not have noticed: clouds of an interesting shape, the tint of the sky, the way that leaves on a tree are a different color on the underside, a delightful pet or child, an interesting person, a mellow, faded brick wall….  The list is endless when you are truly looking at what is in front of you.

Just for a few minutes you can step outside of your overly-busy mind and experience the delight of being truly in the present.  You have experienced an “Island of Peace.”

You had to take this walk anyway. Why crowd it with stressful thoughts about things – telephone calls, conversations, letters, projects – which you can’t do anything about while walking?

Notice how many occasions you have during the day to repeat this experience.

Then make sure you repeat it.