It’s often those themes that interest us with which we have an issue ourselves. We then have the desire to grow and develop us further. Over time we accumulate knowledge and experiences and develop into some kind of an expert in our theme of interest. And sometimes we decide to share our wisdom with the world. So did I.
Sports and food have always been a huge part of my life. My relationship with my body and the way I treat him however has shifted over time from food abuse to healthy life style, from using excessive sports as pressure valve to using the body mindfully. Actually it was a disc prolapse 9 years ago that turned out to be another real transformative milestone in my life, this was when I had to learn the hard way that there is a fundamental interconnection of body, mind, emotions and soul.
I was told clearly that I have to work on all four if I want to get well. Long story short, I did and it’s my absolute passion today to keep an eye on all four to stay balanced, sane and healthy. Sometimes it works more, sometimes less.
2 years ago I decided to share this passion. I observed that the leaders I am working with, but also my own facilitation colleagues definitely were not in their balance but rather caught in the famous hamster-wheel, spending more energy than they replenished. I brought to life what I call “renewal retreats”, 3-day retreats dedicated to refuel body, mind, emotions and soul as well as to develop ideas that maintain people’s energy in everyday life.
I sent out the invitation first to those people of which I thought they really needed it.
“Wow, cool, I love the concept and I’d love to come, but actually, I don’t have the time!” this was kind of the standard answer I got of many.
And, this was my thought, this is exactly why it would have been beneficial for them to slow down for some days, exactly because they feel that they don’t have the time.
But hand on your heart, how often do YOU hear yourself saying ‘I don’t have time!’? In fact I do catch myself quite often as well.
Surprisingly, an unexpected lesson
Since the self-quarantine and the triumphal march of Zoom, I felt more busy than I had in a long time. Two weeks ago, I was about to go nuts. I had been in Zoom meetings all day for a couple of days in a row. Many of the Zoom meetings were check-in’s with lovely colleagues, friends and family and it was a joy to connect with them, however I didn’t have any time to breath, I was definitely over-zoomed. My head was buzzing, my butt was hurting, and I felt like a Zombie. And I realized that I started slipping into my typical behavioral pattern when getting overwhelmed: I started withdrawing from the world. I just had to get out of this.
I took a day off from Zoom and any other social media (I forgot to mention all the well-meant WhatsApp groups who developed their own dynamics) and took a long walk and meditation and reflected on my situation. Despite all the difficulties Covid brought with him, wasn’t the slow down also a gift of more time available so that I could handle things more relaxed than normal? I was kind of disappointed of myself, as I had already looked forward to take it easy in the morning, do yoga, meditate and have a leisurely breakfast…
The insight that hit me was so banal that it’s embarrassing: It’s not about having more time. Just having more time available doesn’t lead to doing things differently. I only do more of the same and then realize again that I don’t have more time to calm and take it easy.
It’s about making a conscious choice to TAKE the time for the things that are important, regardless of whether with or without Covid.
Not that these are groundbreaking news, I know, but I definitely was stuck in my autopilot and not aware that I am still operating from the belief ‘more time available automatically leads to taking things more relaxed’. Practically this insight only has really landed for me the last few weeks. Thanks Covid!
Using time more consciously
This insight on the other hand also gave me hell of a relief. Finally, there were no excuses anymore (‘if I only had more time’), but I had to get my shit together and find a way to organize my time and my priorities according to what felt manageable and healthy to me. Interestingly this totally shifted my energy. Respecting consciously my need to slow down and take it easy led to an energy boost in everything else. First thing I did was a 10-day ayurvedic detox cure. My body has been telling me for a while that he would like to slow down too and have a rest from all the daily intake and get rid of all the accumulated toxins, that rob me of my energy.
The cure was typical: on day three I was right before giving up because I felt so weak, but then came the energy boost. Today, almost 2 weeks after the cure I am still bursting with energy. I got my head and heart around what topics, connections and encounters are really important to me and I thus make a priority. I found the right dose for me between Zoom, social media and relaxation.
After a couple of hours of Zooming and virtually connecting with others, I am going outside hanging around in the sun with no bad conscience that I am not productive.
Well, in fact I am productive, because these are the moments when my creativity kicks in. I always have a little booklet and a pen with me to take notes. Some of my blogs started here while connecting with nature. I enjoy having my morning meditation, a leisurely breakfast and cooking lunch for myself, experimenting with new dishes.
As I am clear about and make time for all that is my priority I am feeling lightness instead of feeling driven.
What all this means for my retreats? No need for a change, I am still utterly convinced that the concept is what the world needs. The experience shows that it’s always right who is there and that there is always a reason why exactly those people who are there have taken the time to come together.