Some say the average consumer will be exposed to over 1 million messages this year, (3,000 a day), some say it’s alot less. Still others like Clay Shirky say it’s not information overload that stresses us out, it’s our ‘filter failure.‘
Oh well, you will just get better at multi-tasking! But of course you know that they’ve proven that multi-tasking is a myth. It’s just not true that the human brain can multi-task, and it’s been proven we do things worse when we try to multi-task.
When I think about burn out, depression, stress, busyness and anxiety I think about a pitcher of water overflowing, a page of paper where there is no white space, only images and words. A race that never ends.
To be our best physically, emotionally and intellectually we must harmonize output with our input. To have the greatest amount of impact when we are working, creating, innovating or leading we need to be present fully, in mind, body and spirit.
Life is more jazz than not. Each of us must create and discover our unique music. The music that brings swing into our life and keeps us hungry to create more swing for ourselves and others. Life is both and. It is creating and resting, noise and silence, give and take, loss and gain, sleeping and doing, being and thinking, beginning and ending.
As I listen to my clients I sense a tiredness, a weariness . Leaders tell me their priority right now is to learn how to focus, how to harmonize all the demands on their time and the plethora of information they are privy too. How can we stay clear, gain focus, execute and live life to the fullest in a manner that is congruent with the song of our souls?
Margin. Mindfulness. Peace. Clarity.
Like the paper needs white space so humans need margin. As important as noise and creating is so too is rest and quiet. White space on a calendar is one way to hear the music, the jazz within.
In the past year I’ve found silence a powerful tool to helping me to gain clarity, focus and essential to the birthing of my creative endeavors. I’ve experimented with moments, hours and yes even pulled off a couple 3 day silent retreats. Disconnecting from my phone and the Internet is akin to the chocoholic, or the alcoholic giving up their substances. I am addicted to doing, creating, communicating so disconnecting, getting quiet is alien to me.
I’ve found that mindfulness creates clarity. As I reduce the noise level of the outside world. As the volume of ‘others’ goes down I find myself discovering things I was unaware of. Silence is teaching me about myself and others and when I come out of silence I hear things that I was missing before. Retreating to white space helps me harmonize a life of giving and communicating. Perhaps for you- you need to bungy jump and climb mountains to harmonize a life that is mostly solitary and secure. Each of us has differing needs and varying priorities and what works for me might not work for you. But make no mistake being alone is transforming my relationships. Quiet is transforming my communication.
I am learning to create the jazz of my life and the song, well its becoming the authentic tune I’ve longed for.
Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl reminds us that, “between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom.” And remember it is our moment by moment choices that determine the quality of our lives and the impact our lives have on others. I don’t want to add days to my life, I want to add life to my years.
If you and I can practice mindfulness, if we can wake up to the simple moment, if we can break the chains that hold us to memories ( the past) and bind us to our fears (the future); all things are truly possible for us and for those we work with and love.
Silence is a tool I use to practice mindfulness. It’s a tool to create margin and white space in my life so that I can increase my ability to show up in the moment. Intentionality is a practice. As I retreat to less noise, less automatic habitual living I find myself clearer, more focused. Deliberateness comes and I notice the space, that is the moment between action and thought and it is here I have found my swing, my jazz, the most clear, focused successful Pam.
Intentionality. Clarity. Focus. Deliberateness; they deepen my ability to know and be known, to add value and to relate in a way that is trans-formative.
I don’t know about you. But my over scheduled, noisy life was sucking the marrow out of my life.
Go ahead try it. Schedule a half hour. Shut everything off and take a mini- silent retreat. Or meditate, walk, do what you like, pursue mindfulness, silence, rest in a manner that allows you to connect with the moment and grow in your focus, clarity and sense of purpose.
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