Rest Archive

Be Still and Know

Posted November 1, 2012 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Many years ago when I was still trudging to Corporate America, I would get up thirty minutes to an hour earlier than I needed to so that I could have a cup of coffee on the porch and do… well… nothing.

I sat with nothing to read, nothing to watch, nothing to listen to. I sipped coffee and allowed my mind to just wander wherever it had a mind to. Some of the most incredible nuggets of truth, wisdom, inspiration and creativity came during those times.

As I made my exit from the Corporate jungle, I left my morning ritual in my rearview mirror as well. Honestly, I can’t even tell you why. Perhaps I thought I no longer needed it. Whatever the reason, I traded in my porch and morning for two hits of the snooze followed by morning news while got ready for my day.

Here’s the rub. I became less creative. I realized I was irritated most of the time and I became an aggressive driver in my morning commute. That was definitely who I wanted to be.

There were times when I contemplated my returning to my morning routine but it was all I could do to drag myself out of bed at the last minute. I’m NOT a morning person. One night I decided to bite the bullet. I set my clock thirty minutes early and programmed my coffee maker to have my java ready. And so it was that I re-instituted my morning ritual of doing nothing.

I learned a lot from doing this that I’d like to share.

1) Taking that time actually gave time back. Before I took my nothing time, it seemed I could never get going in time to not rush to work. Since then, it takes less time to get ready, less time to get to work and I’m always early. Nope, I don’t understand it either.

2) The less I think, the more I know. When I’m still and my mind just freely wanders, incredible insights pop into my mind.

3) Creativity comes with being, not with doing. Those few moments of doing nothing and just being wholly me ushers in all sorts of incredible ideas.

 4) Being still brings peace. When I take that time, I don’t fret about things. I know they will work out.

I’m so glad I found my long lost friend of being alone with myself and doing nothing. It’s the most productive half hour of my day. You should try it too. Seriously. Tomorrow. You’ll be glad you did.

What do you do to just “be”? Do you do it every day? What impact does it have on your life? Share it here.

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Don’t Push It!

Posted June 21, 2012 By Reba J. Hoffman, Ph.D.

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/ Ambro

Yesterday I could not write for anything. No matter what I did, I could NOT string words together in useful fashion. That’s very unusual for me. I wanted to chide myself, particularly after my blog post earlier in the week about Steve Prefontaine. His immortal statement, “to give less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”, pounded in my ears.

Then I realized I was just off my mark. It was just a day when I did NOT have it. I had two choices. I could push through and produce a bad blog post, or I could rest and regroup. Fortunately, I decided to rest.

I know you have goals and dreams. Many of you work hard at fulfilling those dreams. Sometimes your efforts sail along like a 747 jumbo jet on autopilot. Other times, it’s like you’re trying to row a canoe upstream in a windstorm with sore shoulders.

Let’s face it. As much as you really want to pursue your dream—and you should—there will be days when you just can’t give it your all. Or even a part of your all. You are physically and mentally exhausted. You just can’t think. Here’s what I recommend you do:

1)   Recognize those days. There is a huge difference between those days and when your lazy side wants to play rather than work. If you recognize them, you can fix them.

2)   Give yourself time to regroup. Last night I shut down my computer and watched a movie. I stopped trying to forge out word count. Today, I’m rested and back on top of my game.

3)   Take it easy on yourself. Most entrepreneurially spirited individuals push themselves to the brink of collapse every day. Most of the time that is very productive and reaps wonderful rewards. But on those days when you’re just not getting it done, take it easy. Don’t bust your chops.

4)   Have other tasks ready to do. If you really can’t think well enough to be mentally productive, you can still make an impact by doing other, less mentally demanding tasks. You could file, straighten your office, write in your journal, send emails. You’ll sill feel productive without causing your brain to explode.

These are just a few of the things you can do to help you find your own true north on those days when you just feel out of kilter.

Today’s Challenge: Write down how you can identify when you are having one of those days that your thinking energy just isn’t there. Then come up with 3-4 ways you can overcome those days.

Have you had a day like mine recently? How did you handle it? Leave a comment here and share your success with us.

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