We all recognize the fact that life can be very hectic. Many of us are faced with a myriad of problems, questions, chores, duties, obligations, deadlines, mechanical and technical breakdowns, and all the other "regular" (and not so regular) stuff that our everyday existence throws our way.
However...there are some things that we can do to make our lives calmer. Here are 5 things that, hopefully, will help you be more relaxed and calm throughout your day (and night).
1. Understand and implement the "Power of No."
"No" is an amazing word. It can prevent you from doing things that you don't want to do, don't have the time to do, or shouldn't be doing. The problem is that too many people have a hard time saying that little two letter word. Especially when you feel obligated to say "yes." It take a lot of strength to understand that there are certain times when you have to say "no," both for your benefit and for those asking you. Often a "no" will empower you to teach someone that it's their responsibility to do something. Or...perhaps if you say "yes" something else may not get done. Or...maybe, you have to assert yourself and stop being made to always be the "go to person." Say "no" enough and people will stop asking! Of course - you have to understand the "Power of No" and when to us it...just like you have to with any power! But...rest assured; learn how and when to say "No" and you will feel less pressured and much calmer.
2. Understand and implement the "Power of Know."
Yep...that's right - know know! As the saying goes, "Knowledge is King." So...the more you know, the more you'll be in a position to realize how to be calm, how not to be frantic, how to revel in life. Knowledge teaches us what we need to do to fulfill our objectives. If your goal is to be calmer, spend some time reading, learning (not where there are tests involved or tasks you MUST do to get a passing grade), stimulating your brain, and using it to understand what calmness really means. Look at the stars, the trees, the flowers and learn about them so that your trips through your garden and nights glaring at the heavens will give you a feeling of the contentment, happiness, and calmness that knowledge (and wonder) can bring. And...afford you the luxury of feeling closer to the things you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. You will soon understand that there really is a sense of calm in "knowing."
3. Understand and implement the "Knowledge of Power."
We are all powerful beings, yet many of us use power to drive ourselves and others into a frenzy. Power does not have to mean what we've come to think it means...controlling others, achieving a position of influence and being self-consumed. Ultimate power is knowing that you don't have to do any of those things to be truly powerful. Power lies within you. You have the power to understand yourself and others, the power to turn away the "noise" that surrounds you, the power to separate yourself from the daily mania of life and remove yourself to a powerful place where your "self" resides. Others will know you're there (if you want them to know). If they don't recognize where you've gone...you may want to tell them, "I'll be back. Right now I have to take care of something very important - me."
4. Understand and implement the "Power of Silence."
"Silence is Golden" as my 8th grade art teacher used to say. And...guess what? He was right. Silence is very powerful. You all know that it is often more powerful than speech. A silent expression can convey as much as a thousand word monologue. Silence can also be the vehicle that brings a person to a place of peace and calmness. The stillness of the mind and body can do wonders for your being. Shut the door, turn off your TV, smart phone, computer, and all your other "devices," and lose yourself in your silence. Look around without a word being uttered and you'll notice things you've probably never seen. Even though you've been with them for years. Quiet your mind and bring your world and yourself closer. It's a wonderful place to be. The world is filled with a cacophony of sounds...take some time away from them and you will be better off, and calmer, for it.
5. Understand and implement the "Power of Art."
Soothing music, paintings, photography, museums, sculpture, pottery, poetry, books, illustrations, and all our other forms of art are the workings of our creative minds. Yes...there are varieties of all of these mediums that are far from calming, so...it's up to you to choose to be in the company of those that make you feel a sense of calm. Our environment is teeming with so many variations of art. Sitting by a stream and taking its picture is art. Writing or reading a poem or prose is art. Sketching is art. Listening to the rhythm of soothing music is art. It doesn't take much to be involved in art, whether as the creator of it or the viewer or listener of it. Whichever way you decide to avail yourself of its power, you will understand its ability to create calm in your life. You may even become so into it that it becomes that relaxing retreat that you can't wait to visit.
I, like most people these days, am a pretty busy person. Many of the things I do are passions of mine. Teaching, keynote speaking, writing (including; here, my books, and my social media posts), spending time with family, friends, and clients, and watching baseball, are all things I enjoy. Quite a few of them encompass, what many would call, my career.
With all the time I spend in front of groups of people, my computer, and on the road, I know how important it is for me to "do nothing" but contemplate life. It's my way of focusing on the beauty around me. Don't get me wrong...I do that on a constant basis in what I call "my yogic lifestyle." Yet...there are times when I just want to slow things down and look at a stream, check out the trees, look at people, or watch the ocean ebb and flow.
Spending time alone "doing nothing," except enjoying contemplative thought, is like detoxing from the humming of life that surrounds us all. I don't chant (not that there's anything wrong with that), I just let nature do it. I listen to the gurgling of a brook, the rustling of leaves, the power of the wind. I also love to look at the sky, watch the sun rise and set, see the movement of the clouds, and witness the spectacular array of distant stars and planets. It also reminds me of the fact that I'm a tiny piece of a massive universe (perhaps even multiverses) that we sometimes call "everything." And - I marvel at the fact that everything out there, is also in me. It's quite awe inspiring to know that, if I want - I can experience the different aspects and energies of life - often...just by "doing nothing."
There's something invigorating about challenging students to think and having them challenge you in return. Listening to them discuss topics you've introduced in class is what (to me anyway) teaching is all about.
What are their real thoughts (not something they're saying to placate me)...what gets their blood boiling, their energy flowing, their minds stimulated and excited? Perhaps it's something I said, maybe it's a topic in a book, or a point made by a classmate. Whatever it is...they're thinking...really thinking. Seeing them mentally dissecting, questioning, responding, and getting their opinions out is a thing of beauty.
Often they'll stop me as the class is leaving to continue the discussion or add a point that they may not have brought up in class. Sometimes they'll approach me on campus, or sit with me in the cafeteria or lounge area, to ask me my thoughts, tell me theirs, or just continue the dialogue. It's great! I love it.
Of course, not all of them feel comfortable speaking in public, approaching their professor, or challenging the beliefs of a classmate (or me). That's where their papers come in. I am awash in pages of opinions right now. Their writings are upon me...hundreds of pages waiting to be read. This is when the introverts speak, the extraverts expound, the opinionated reinforce, the contemplative express, and the shy can yell. Papers give me a bit more insight into who sits in those seats, watches my moves, listens to my words, raises their hands, laughs, speaks, texts, dozes, or saunters in after the start of class. They're people - with lives that are textured and families who love them. They all have their problems, joys and thoughts about life. Now is when I get some additional information about who they are.
It's more difficult to read papers, from a time and energy perspective, than it is to test. Tests can (although I don't normally hold to that structure - or at the very least...not completely) be generated by a CD sent to the professor by a textbook company and run through a "scantron." All without much effort (not counting, of course, all the energy expelled by teaching the subject you're testing about!).
Sometimes...a student will try to pull a "fast one" and give me a paper that they really didn't write. Perhaps a friend took may class a few semesters before and just happened to have a paper he or she wrote for me on the same topic tucked away in a file on his or her computer. But...unfortunately for my all my students - I have a, sort of, photographic memory when it comes to papers. They flash in front of my mind when one seems a bit too familiar or similar to one I've read before. Yes...I've caught a few folks who thought they'd "pull the wool over my eyes." But...I can see in the dark and they, to their dismay, found that out. However, that's only happened on very rare occasions - maybe two or three times - in all my years of professing.
Now it begins - I will "hear" the silent students speak and find out how those who aren't the "quiet ones" express themselves in the written word. It's always interesting, if not always grammatically correct.