How to Slow Down and Move Forward

With the light fading away earlier in the evenings, leaves beginning to change color, and the cooler nights, summer is ending and autumn is just beginning.

Before summer ends, it’s easy to feel a sense of urgency to complete the things you wanted to do, but didn’t.

In fact, that’s exactly how I felt earlier today. My inner critics were starting to stir things up and I was well on my way to letting them make me miserable.

But then I looked at this photograph. Its stillness, its peaceful beauty, had a message for me.

Reflection of trees on lake

This is the time to reflect. To slow down and appreciate all I’ve accomplished.

Looking back over a busy summer, my memories waver in and out of focus, like images reflecting off a lake:

  • Writing weekly blog posts, even when I didn’t think I had anything to say.
  • Playing with my sweet, ornery dog.
  • Coaching some gifted, creative people.
  • Creating a travel watercolor set for myself.
  • Sorting through my house, and giving away, throwing out, or selling quite a bit of stuff.
  • Starting a regular yoga practice.
  • Completing a rigorous business course.
  • Having breakfasts with my amazing husband on our back porch.
  • Facilitating an inspiring 30-day creativity challenge.
  • Meeting with wonderful friends.
  • Hosting a transformative vision board workshop.
  • Making trips out-of-state to see my dear family.
  • Organizing my office and creative space.
  • Painting a dozen watercolors.

It’s a lot, actually!

Focusing on what you’ve accomplished silences your inner critics by putting things into perspective.

I still have my to-do list, but I’ve decided to try something different. Like most creative people, doing things the linear, “type A” way drains my energy and blocks my intuitive wisdom. When I operate too much out of my left brain, my stomach tightens, my back and neck stiffen, and—worst of all—it’s harder to see the magic in this world.

Sometimes I have to make things into a game to stay interested and motivated. So I took my to-do list and tore it into strips of paper, with one item written on each piece.

Goals written on strips of paper

Then, I put the papers in a pretty red crocheted bowl, and stirred them with my fingers.

Strips of paper in bowl

That felt good!

Now, instead of running around in my head, taunting me, my to-do items are written on paper.

They’re “under control” in one spot, but not in a list.

What I didn’t accomplish (yet) is fresh in my mind. Now it’s time to take a deep breath, wait, and see what rises into my awareness. That’s what I’ll do next.

By taking the “should” out of my linear list, and making it more of a game, tomorrow doesn’t feel like an endless list of tasks, it feels like a morning of discovery. What will I do? I’m excited to find out!

Being in a balanced perspective helps you think of new ways to solve a problem, or re-energize routines.

If you’re feeling stressed by all you have to do, take the time to appreciate what you’ve already accomplished, instead of rushing ahead to the next task. Then try making a game out of what you need to do, or changing your usual routine, to freshen up the experience.

Remember, you are in control of your own experience. Make it meaningful to you!

Posted in Creativity, Inner Critic, Inspiration, Perspective.