‘Space - the final frontier’ said Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. Space as a frontier is a strange notion, given that it’s all around us. Even the smallest particles contain more space than matter.
But space often does seem like the final frontier. Phrases such as ‘chasing my tail’, ‘spinning plates’ ‘juggling’, ‘catching up’, ‘catch you later’, ‘busy , busy’ are ubiquitous. Eating sandwiches at the computer at lunch time and meals in front of the TV, having conversations and looking at text messages at the same time are all part of the crowded nature of many lives. Physically and mentally rushing from pillar to post has heavy costs, and not making space to rest the body, still the mind and refresh our energy, can lead to a habitual lack of concentration, mistakes, forgetfulness, dissatisfaction, digestive and sleep problems and poor decision making.
‘Busy-ness’ can become a habit. If you overdo things for too long it can become difficult to know when to stop, and can create the illusion of being important, and ‘in demand’. Sometimes the simple question of ‘what would happen if you didn’t do x, y or z?’ can be quite illuminating as you realise that the answer may be ‘nothing much’ or ‘nobody would notice’.
Filling our lives with activity and constant connection can be a way of avoiding the worrying or negative thoughts which can rush in if we allow them space to do so, but it might be better to listen to them and deal with what they raise, or at least acknowledge them and let them pass, than pushing them aside and jumping back on the treadmill.
Being busy all the time can be a subconscious safeguard against fear of failure or inadequacy ‘Don’t judge me harshly; I’d do better if I had more time’.
If you give your mind and body space, and take time to relax, think and choose, you will be more effective. Instead of being hostage to a set of what are often self - imposed demands, you can make choices, and will then recognise that you do have a choice.
Space in this context is not a frontier; it’s infinite and always there for the taking.
Here are some small ways to begin making space:
- Stop and do nothing but follow you breath, even if only for a minute, every now and then.
- When eating, concentrate only on that and do nothing else.
- Pause and take a breath before you respond in conversation.
- Switch off your computer and phone at least an hour before you go to bed.
- Go for a 10 minute walk each day, preferably in green space.
- Make an appointment with a life coach who can help you to better manage a work/life balance.
‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’ Viktor E. Frankl
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