Try This—And No More Excuses
by Liberty Forrest
In my line of work (helping people get unstuck and moving forward in their lives), clients are always telling me about how insanely busy they are. They say, “I have no ‘me time’ at all!” They’re exhausted. Fed up with responsibilities, and with everyone and everything else coming first and needing their attention.
Well, the truth is, if everyone and everything else is coming first, it’s only because these people are allowing it. You don’t just find time for yourself. You have to take it.
Of course, there are certain obligations that must be met, so you have to “be here, go there, or do that” at certain times. But there’s a difference between those obligations and how you fill your other hours.
I spent a lot of years being a single parent. Part of the time it was with five children, while I was juggling five part-time jobs, and serious illness, and some other personal issues that placed huge demands on my time and energy. I understand “busy.”
In spite of all of that, I always made time for myself. As I tell my very busy clients, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time everyday to make a big difference in your life.
I tell my clients about one of my favourite mini-meditations. It’s best done first thing when you get up each day so you don’t make excuses later about not having time. You can get up a few minutes earlier, 15 or 20 would be nice but 10 will do the trick.
Now, don’t tell me you can’t manage 10 minutes each day for yourself. I’m just not buying it. You can. If you won’t, that’s another story.
Get up a few minutes earlier. Yes, even if you’re already getting up at 5 or 5.30. I meditate for an hour every morning (yummm!) because I know what a massive difference it has made to my life. The benefits far outweigh losing a bit of sleep, especially when you’re talking about a mere 10 minutes. Spending those 10 minutes in meditation will do you a lot more good than if you’re sleeping through them.
Check out this simple and lovely little candle meditation. As soon as you climb out of bed and are still in that delicious half-awake state, find your way to a darkened room, if possible. If you have to hit the ground running, set a timer so you don’t keep checking the clock. For a few minutes, put the rest of your day to one side. You’ll get there soon enough.
Light a candle. Sit quietly and look at the flame. Just focus on how beautiful it is, how gentle, how peaceful its movements are, softly flickering, dancing… It moves with the air. Focus on your breathing in a way that is designed to cause as little air movement and flame-flickering as possible. Think stillness as you try to keep the flame from moving by taking slow, deep, even breaths.
Or just look at the flame. But don’t sit there stewing about your problems and worries. Just look at the flame and do not allow yourself to think about anything else. Focus on it, watch what it does and how it moves. Notice its colors; watch the edges of the candle change shape as the wax slowly melts.
If you’re going to think about anything while gazing at your candle, think of gratitude. Think of the blessings in your life. Think of positive things, and only positive things.
Do this candle meditation every morning for a couple of weeks. Or do it before you go to bed, but do it consistently every single day; give it a real chance.
Don’t tell me you haven’t got time. If you think you’re unable to give yourself 10 minutes a day, you’re making far too many excuses to sabotage your own life and happiness. If you’re so important that you have to get all that other stuff done, then you’re important enough to take care of yourself.
So get up (or get ready for bed) a little early. Sit quietly and watch the flame of a candle for a few minutes. You’ll enjoy it. You’ll begin to look forward to it. You’ll want more of this, or some other bit of “me time” to journal, to read, to do 10 minutes of yoga, or whatever else strikes your fancy. You’ll miss it if you skip a day. So, don’t.
No more excuses.