Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Solstice and upheaval

My sister Sue is blogging about astrology at the blog link above. If you are curious about the Summer Solstice, the coming full moon and the eclipse about to hit us soon, and the effects it has on the inner and outer landscape, check it out.

There is lots going on in my household. Daughter, 18, just back from Germany is taking off to Quebec City for two days (have a safe drive in the rain Caitie!) to celebrate St-Jean Baptiste Day with friends on the Plains of Abraham (an historic battle field if you don't know).

Julien and his dad are off to Bonventure in the Gaspe for salmon fishing trip with their brothers, cousins, uncles, 'les gars', a male bonding tradition every June 23.

So I will be musing by myself, reflecting on the five day Rotary International Convention and the booth that I helped build and volunteered at for 3 days. So many connections with people thirsty to serve, ready to help the world with clean water, nutritious food and disaster relief efforts. Very inspiring those Rotarians.

Maybe I'll even get a chance to work on my Retreat Coaching teleclass homework....building better retreats to offer in the fall of 2010.

Maybe sometime this summer I'll open up my journal and begin to write down my soul.....listening into the the inner voice and letting it have free rein, without censoring it.

Maybe I'll find some time to play....and I definitely will make myself a retreat at Kripalu in July, with my buddy Brigitte.

Alors....happy solstice.

nameste, musemother

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Productivity Trap

Big article in the Globe & Mail this morning about how many families don't have time to eat and play together, but are constantly running from work to soccer games to caring for aging parents - they quote statistics about the low number of times a family sits down with a teen son or daughter to eat dinner.

Wellbeing is the rubrique it falls under, in the report to come out Tuesday from the Canadian Index of Wellbeing called Caught in the Time Crunch: Time Use, Leisure and Culture in Canada.

"Canada has become a society operating 24 hours a day and, as a result, more people are working odd hours – weekends, nights, rotating shifts. That has cut into the time they would normally spend with their spouses and their children and doing the things they really like to do. And that can lead to burnout.

“If we are on this treadmill, we will end up being less productive, less contributing to society, less knowledgeable,” said Roy Romanow, the former Saskatchewan premier who is the chair of the Index of Wellbeing’s advisory board. “And therefore, not only is our well-being being affected, but so might our productivity be affected.”

One in five Canadian adults reports being caught in a time crunch, with slightly more women than men saying they feel like they are perpetually under the gun."

Women are often the caregivers in the family, and so their workload is the highest, and their leisure time the lowest. Of course, we women are sometimes bred into this role and see it as natural. We have a hard time taking time for ourselves on a regular basis.
Down time, slowing down time, self-care, time to do nothing at all and just veg, this is what prevents burn-out and in the end increases our productivity. All farmers know (or used to) that letting a field lie fallow for a year was necessary to allow the earth to rest and recuperate from all the nutrients going into a crop, and rebuild the soil quality for next year.  Creative artists also know that there is a cycle to creativity, and fallow times or 'off times' are needed to foster it. Creative loafing is a term that speaks to this.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is play with your blocks, a sand-pile, playdoh, or get into your right brain a little and stop thinking. Sometimes brainstorms come to you while you're just waking up from a nap in a hammock or staring at clouds.

Why don't we allow ourselves this down time or loafing time?  The productivity trap catches us all in its snare.  We are constantly running to catch up, to get everything done in one day.  We get addicted to the adrenaline rush of being busy, always reachable by phone, email or blackberry.  We keep running on the treadmill like rodents to keep up with our house payments, education bills, repairs on the car, and we tend to value less activities that feed the soul, like art, music, poetry, picnics. We see them as extras that are the first thing to go when life becomes too busy.

I think our world is being pushed to the edge of this productivity mode.  Don't wait until illness or burn-out forces you to take a break. Schedule a break into your agenda today. Give yourself more time off, time to be unplugged, time to appreciate the little moments of peace that come your way.  Summer is here, in the northwestern hemisphere.  Time to play, time to get outside, time to lie on the grass and count clouds. Just for a little bit. 

Play catch up with your soul, listen to its longing for peace, tranquility, its desire for recognition.  Slow down to the slowest part of you for at least part of your day, every day.

You'll be doing your family a favour, your community a favour, by being less likely to fall off the treadmill.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

How a Good Night's Sleep can Change Everything

Monday I woke up feeling sick, so I slept in an extra hour, meditated lying down (risky, I know) to prevent dizziness, purposely didn't get on the computer until after a shower and time outside with my journal. I  did reply to a few emails and managed to get some laundry done, walk the dog, do groceries, but mostly it felt like a low-key go slow kind of day.  I even made some medicinal tea (soy bancha ginger) and quinoa flake porridge to heal the intestinal upset, and found the time to make a nice supper. 

The day went smoothly enoug, as I slowed down, took time to take care of myself.  I even had the energy to try out a new red wine/rose sauce for chicken in spite of my lack of appetite.  I just didn't push myself to 'get things done', and things happened at their own pace. I also lay for 20 minutes with my hubby's head in my arms at the end of the day, comforting him for a hard day - one of those where everything you do goes wrong - soothed his forehead, all the while thinking - because I took care of me today, I am in a healthy space to give out and take care of him.

I was in bed at 9:30 with a book, and slept deeply.

Then, bing, Tuesday morning I woke up and my energy was back. The headache and tummy ache were gone. I felt tons better.  Ready to sort out my daughter's messy room (while she's travelling in Europe), do more laundry (my son is a bit overwhelmed with the laundry baskets piling up, as he's working). I got an agenda going, replied to emails, and sat down to write in my journal, all before 10.00 a.m. 

Sometimes a good night's rest changes everything.

Also, when my heart is in a good space and I am gentle with myself, a healing presence is all I have to offer.  When I rush out every night, leave them to reheat a frozen dinner, they can survive, but the love is not the same as in a home-cooked meal lovingly prepared.

I still want to do that whenever I can (at least 3 or 4 nights out of 7). And teach them to prepare healthy meals as well, of course.

The value of a calm, centered caretaker in the home, whether male or female, cannot be underestimated.  I hope you dads at home that follow this blog will send me your own stories of how taking care of yourself helps you take care of your loved ones.

have a great day,