In case you missed it, here are the links to the rest of the series: Part One Part Two
Last time, we looked at 5 tips to slow down the pace of our lives.
Today we will look at 5 more, plus a bonus tip. Here are:
10 tips for Life in the Slow Lane (Tips 6-10, plus a bonus!)
6. Live On Purpose -- Remember those priorities we looked at last time? Well, there are a whole lot of things in life that will try to overrule your priorities. I've heard it called "the tyranny of the urgent" and it's a very apt description. Let's say you decided that quality family time is one of your priorities, so you settle down with your kids to read a book, or you pull out the supplies for a project with them. What's the first thing that happens? The doorbell or telephone rings, or you get a text message. Those things are clamoring for your attention. If you let them, those interruptions will eat up your time and leave none left for your important priorities. You will lead your life chasing the urgent but not so important things in life, and rarely get to do the things you really care about. Everyone suffers. How often are those interruptions really more important than our priorities? Learn to turn off the phone, TV, computer and every other distraction when you are taking care of your priorities. Trust me, all those urgent messages will still be there a little later. Don't just run from one urgent, but not important interruption to the next. Take back control of your life's direction. By choosing when and to what you will respond, you put yourself back in the driver's seat and protect your priorities.
7. Be Non-reactive -- This goes right along with #6. Life throws a lot of curve balls. When those curve balls come, it is easy to just react. When a coworker comes into the office moody, it is easy to react by snapping back. When a spouse forgets a special event or is preoccupied, it is easy to respond with hurt feelings. When the kids are acting up, it is easy to react with frustration and anger. Learning to stay focused and live purposefully will help keep you on track in life. Instead of reacting to the coworker, spouse or kids, you remember that people are more important than your emotions or being right. Instead of reacting by snapping back, you pause and think of what might be going on in the other person's life. Now you can respond with compassion and understanding. If you have a vision and a purpose it is so much easier to live according to your goals and priorities instead of just reacting to one crisis after another.
8. Get Off the Emotional Rollercoaster -- Again, this relates to #6 and #7. When we choose to live in the slow lane, we are also choosing to protect our time. We are choosing to make time to think rationally instead of just responding to life out of our emotions. We are choosing to pause and reflect. This gives us time to make sure our emotions match the situation. Have you ever heard the saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk?" Crying over a milk spill is not matching the emotions to the moment. It is over-reacting. So much of the time, we are not really reacting to the emotions of the moment. Rather, we are reacting to the emotions of the day. It isn't that the milk spilled. It's that there were extra bills in the mail, the sink broke, the neighbor was nasty, the baby didn't sleep well and the milk spilled. The milk was just the straw that broke the camel's back. It was the thing that made us fall apart. Learn to match the emotion to the moment.
9. Make Time for People -- Hopefully, when you set your priorities there were some special people that made your list. If not, rush out to the street and find some. We need each other. All the social media in the world won't take the place of actual face to face time with the people we care about. Don't let the busy-ness of life crowd out the most important aspect of life -- people.
10. Make Time for Creativity -- A lot of the time, creativity seems like a negotiable item on our lists. It's one of the first things to go when we get too busy. I have learned, though, that when we cut out creativity, we cut out something that restores us. Creativity makes our lives rich and full. Our God is a creative Being and He places some of that creativity in each of us. We operate best when we make room for creativity.
You may be thinking, "Uh...I think He missed me. I don't have a creative bone in my body." I beg to differ. We have a tendency to pigeon hole creativity into just "the arts". We think you are creative if you paint, draw, dance or play music -- otherwise, you aren't. Creativity is so much more!
I find creativity everywhere I look. For instance, have you ever heard of fractals? Fractals are geometric patterns that are repeated at ever smaller scales for infinity. They are found throughout nature and cannot be represented by Euclidian geometry. They are amazing; they are creative; they are math. If the only mathematics you know comes from your high school text book, you may not realize this: Math is incredibly creative. Our whole universe is mathematical, yet most people don't consider math to be a creative field.
Below are a couple fractals found in nature.
The pictures are clickable for more info.
Here is a computer generated fractal.
Clicking the picture takes you to the mathematical equation.
It doesn't matter who you are, there is something creative in you. If you don't think so it's just because you haven't uncovered it yet. Find something you enjoy doing that really refreshes you. As you make time for that activity, you will find yourself enjoying more creativity.
Oh, Look! Here's your bonus tip!! Live in the Moment -- I don't mean that you should live like a butterfly, flitting from place to place with no thought for the future. I mean that you should be present. So much of the time, our minds are already living in the next thing we need to get done, or we are living in what happened in the past. By allowing ourselves to be thinking too much about the past or the future, we miss the current moment.
I am a big one to plan. If I don't plan things out, they aren't very likely to get done. But I have also learned not to be a slave to my planner. I have learned to write in pencil -- to change things when the moment I'm currently living requires it. I wish I could say I never start rushing toward the future, but this kind of growth is a process. However, I am learning to be truly present when I am with my family or taking time for my priorities.
The Bible says that whatever we do we should do it heartily as unto the Lord. If we are going to do something with our whole heart, it means we can't have part of us living in the past or the future. We need to be "all there" for whatever it is that we are doing.
Rest and peace come from within, not from the circumstances around us. As we learn to live a slower and more purposeful life, we allow ourselves the freedom to live a life that is truly fulfilling. There are plenty of people living a frenzied life in the fast lane. How many people are brave enough to live in the slow lane?
Have a great day!
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