U.S. Catholic magazine interviewed psychologist Robert Wicks, who has spent his life counseling people whose work has taken them into the valley of the shadow: relief workers evacuated from the Rwandan genocide, doctors and nurses who treat returning U.S. veterans with catastrophic injuries. But much of what Wicks had to say also applies to moms and dads trying to cope with the incessant demands of daily life in a family.
What about people who are just overwhelmed by the demands of daily life? People, say, with kids, jobs, and in-law drama. How would you invite them to find a little more enjoyment in their lives?
My classic two words are “Lean back.” Find the crumbs of alone time that are already in your schedule. People think, “I’m just so busy, there’s no time.” Excuse me. That’s not true. I think it was Stephen Covey who said, “Don’t just simply prioritize your schedule, schedule your priorities.”
The priority, for me, is some periods of silence, solitude, and being wrapped in gratitude to center ourselves so we’re not running through our lives and thinking that running is necessary. Where would you find the time? Get up a little earlier. Maybe it’s in the shower, maybe after the kids leave, maybe on your drive to work.
Rather than simply seeing these crumbs of time as interruptions or waiting time, take those moments. When we take those moments and we take a breath, we begin to see that life need not be just all this racing. I do a lot of things during the day, but I don’t feel myself racing. I feel myself active but not busy. That’s because I use those moments.
I also ask people to lean back and see the moments when they feel totally free. It could be when we’re having a cup of tea, doing a hobby, or flowing with something at work. You finish something and think, “Holy cow, look at the time.” Why? Because we were flowing with the activity.
Find the periods of silence and solitude, and find what you’re flowing with and what gives you joy, and recognize that your presence in all these things can make a big difference. People can then feel a sense of peace themselves. …continued next week
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