July Challenge: Pause

girl sleeping in red hammock
Take time to pause!

“You are what you are and where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.”  ~Zig Ziglar

Welcome to summer! Spring quickly slipped through the cracks this year and summer is upon us with hazy, hot, humid days! One week I am wearing a winter coat and hat at the Little League games; now it is shorts, tank top and flip-flops.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Summertime is a good time to slow the pace, pause for a moment and listen to your heart. It is a good time to touch upon those things that add relaxation, joy and beauty to your life. If you find yourself stressed, maybe it is time to switch your paradigm and uncover peace and tranquility with a simpler lifestyle.

One of the first obstacles faced in the simplifying process is the habit of hastily made decisions. Pause a moment and verify your direction. If an acquaintance calls and suggests lunch, pause and consider the previous commitments, even commitments to yourself. If you have been asked to volunteer your services, pause to determine if this request fits with your life at this moment. A “No” response now is better than a regrettable commitment later. Practice pausing before adding new demands on your time.

Whenever you add something new you give up something else.

Another obstacle in the simplifying process is the inability to reject the expectations of other people in your life. If your self-worth depends on approval from family and friends then you will continue to be harried and stressed. Pause a moment to question expectations. Do they fit your life right now? If not, give yourself permission to say “No thank you” and let go.

As you progress down the road in discovering a simpler life, you will run into countless choices. Don’t be easily seduced to make rash decisions. Pause… Learn to base your decision-making process on what is right for you. Why not try it and see what possibilities you discover.

Clear some space in your harried life and contemplate what your heart desires.

Beach scene with barefeet and joggers

As we all know, the ability to relax is a very good thing. BUT, relaxation doesn’t come in pill form. Nope, you can’t head down to the local CVS and find it in the first-aid aisle.

To capture the habit to de-stress, you have to add a block of time in your calendar, an appointment with yourself. You have to actively participate in the process — like going to the beach and watch the world go by; or fill the tub with hot bubble-bath water and soak in the candlelight ambiance; or crawl into the hammock and dream.

Stress impacts your whole body, so start this month’s challenge by scheduling time to PAUSE a moment and just be!

Past studies have shown that we know how to relax but we just don’t do it. We are too harried in keeping up with life to slow down our activity level. Action is a choice — choose wisely.