Tag Archives: coach

Organizing as a Spiritual Practice

Being organized is a goal that most of us would like to reach. We can picture ourselves sitting at a desk with a clear surface and beginning our work without having to move piles of papers. We want to move easily through our day, feeling calm, finding the things that we need and having space to do our projects. But instead, we often feel disorganized, unprepared, and harried.

When I find myself struggling

When I’m struggling, running around in circles or stuck, I realize that I have lost my connection to my center. You may call this your heart connection, or your relationship to the Divine or a higher Being or What Is. Whatever you call it, if you’re in conscious contact with it, you can find clarity and peace, and have a totally different experience than if you are moving through your life without awareness of this connection.

Turn a problem into an opportunity

If you are trying to integrate your spiritual life with your day-to-day activities, you can use organizing as a point of entry. You can use just about anything as your focus, but consider how you could make use of your desire to be more organized.

For many years I’ve used organizing as a spiritual practice and found that it provides amazing -and continual- opportunities for me to grow and walk my talk.

When I go through a pile of things in my hall closet, I find that they represent more than 6 coats or a soccer ball or 4 umbrellas. They offer me opportunities to live my spiritual values–to be honest about what I need, to be generous, to repair and take care of my things, to create a welcoming room for visitors’ coats. I am able to continually define what I want in my life by making conscious decisions about the material things that fill my environment.

Bit by bit, as I go through my day, I will be faced with many occasions to engage in this spiritual practice—choices about how I will live and the material things that surround me.

Go inward

Take the time to  turn your attention inward. Our thoughts and emotions get our attention easily and even our bodies tell us after being mistreated, but sometimes we need to set aside our activities and be still to hear what our spirit is urging us to do.

What do you deeply want?

When you’re quiet, take time to become clear about what you are trying to achieve in getting organized and how that relates to your values. Consider how you can use a commonplace event as an opportunity to live your values and create order.

For example, your daughter hands you a permission slip to be signed. You have just gotten back from picking her up at school and running errands, and are now focused on your desire to make dinner so your son can get to soccer practice. Your first thought is “I don’t have time to deal with this now”. You feel frustrated, feeling torn between wanting to handle the permission slip so that it can be returned, signed, at the appropriate time and getting dinner on the table quickly.

“We are free up to the point of choice.  Then the choice controls the chooser.”
Mary Crowley

It is important that you recognize that this is the point at which you can make a choice that will either result in you rooting through the papers on the dining room table next week while the car pool waits, or in you making a decision to set aside time next Saturday afternoon to make a space to put such action items for your children’s school forms. Then when Saturday comes, follow through with what you decided to do.

Emotions can be cues

Let your emotion, frustration, be your cue. Frustration is caused by wanting to do several things at once, with a little irritation at being in this position thrown in. Emotions can be gentle taps on your shoulder to remind you to drop down into your heart and recognize that you have a choice.

Bringing your heart into your decision adds another dimension. It offers the possibility of practicing mindfulness and aligning yourself with your spiritual values instead of using logic and reason alone or following the lead of the loudest emotion. As you start your decision making process you need to be grounded in that part of you which can sense what is right for you at this time.

Remember your intent

A spiritual practice is a journey, and where you are at the moment is where you live your life. Now is the time you can make choices to live your life based on your deepest understanding and desires.

Coaching can help

Without taking the time to go within and check with my heart, I find that my emotions and mind can run unchecked and that my energy becomes drained. This is often the point at which I need help in bringing my whole self into the process to release emotional stuckness and connect with my deepest desires. I’ve found gentle reminders and assistance at this stage invaluable. Over and over I have grappled with this, which, ironically, makes me the perfect person to help you do this, too!

Am I centered all of the time? No, I’m not. Sometimes I’m in the flow and sometimes I find myself struggling or stuck. However, the gap between forgetting and remembering shortens with practice, and I don’t beat myself up for forgetting, I just get back on track. It’s like exercising a muscle–the more you practice, the more mindful you are.

As a coach and organizer, I’ve found that by using my awareness of disorder in my life along with awareness of my inner connection, I am able to choose actions that will help me achieve balance and peace in my day-to-day experiences, and you can, too.

If you need any help along the way, I’d be happy to hear from you. You can use the comment feature of this post and I will respond to your comments and questions. Or you can email me at thesherrymonroe@gmail.com or give me call at 573-446-3783.

This week look at frustration as a cue to drop into your heart and choose wisely!

Sherry

Procrastination

Do you ever have a hard time getting a project started?

I like to have things done on time and done well. I meet my deadlines, but that’s not to say that I make steady progress towards my goals or that I don’t experience stress when I can’t seem to get started.

Procrastination is not a stranger to me; it is something I face over and over. I know I have a task or project that I need to get done.  Whether or not to do it is really not up for discussion; I either need to do it or have determined I want to do it, and here it is— it’s time to get started and I have yet to begin.

It looms over me for days….

Let’s look at my experience in trying to write this blog and see if my progress (or lack thereof) sounds familiar to you:

I had already picked the topic (procrastination) and chose to use myself as an example.  So all I need to do now is sit down and start to write, which should not be too difficult.  Let’s see if it is….

1.  I bought groceries (what if I starved while trying to write?)
2.  I re-arranged my living room furniture, (no excuse, I just wanted to) which led to…
3.  Re-arranging the furniture in my meditation room (that feels better!)
4.  I decided to clean off my desk (who could write in this mess?)
5.  I organized my notes from several meetings (what if time goes by and I forget?)
7.  I replied to three e-mails (before they move down the list and I forget)
8.  I made 2 phone calls (OK, I’m just out-and-out procrastinating here)
9.  I got a drink of water…

You get the idea.

I feel productive with these other things done but I’m starting to feel stressed and anxious and the longer I procrastinate, the more stressed I feel.  All along I realize that I am doing things that are lower in my priorities, perhaps not even on the list! And, I’m doing an amazing job rationalizing my choices.

So I sit down and think about the job ahead, and snap, bang, clunk! I step into another place that I don’t need to be.

Avoid the trap of “Awfulizing”

When you are spending a good part of your energy projecting your life forward with various scenarios and awful outcomes, Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, called this “awfulizing”.

Awfulizing. I love that word! It’s so ridiculous that it reminds me that I’m being ridiculous and out of touch with reality when I do it.

Instead of writing my blog, I first awfulized about a lot of things that might happen: What if I had nothing to say that appealed to anyone? What if I sounded too serious? What if my sense of humor turned people off? What if my writing wasn’t good enough? What if…??? If these things happened, people wouldn’t like me, respect me, trust me, etc. I was boxing myself in and I couldn’t mentally find my way out.

How do I get myself in gear?

This is when I need to do what I call “prime the pump.”

“Prime the Pump!”

My grandparents lived in the country and had a hand pump in their yard that was hooked up to their well. To get water to come out of the pump, they first moved the handle up and down several times. The motion of raising and lowering the pump handle was necessary to get the water to flow. As a small child from town, I thought the whole thing was weird:  why do you need a pump in the yard and why do you have to pump it up and down so many times before the water will start to come out?   More important than learning about the science of pressure, that visual image of my grandparents priming the pump taught me something useful that I apply to my life frequently:

Action begets action!  And sometimes you have to start a process in motion before you can expect to see some results.

A similar principle is referred to when you hear people say that to get something done, you should ask someone who is busy. They are already in motion, so they don’t have to start from a dead stop.  Inertia is hard to break out of—it takes effort to start moving.

Below are some suggestions on how you might “prime the pump” to get yourself in motion when you find yourself “stuck” and unable to get started:

Prime the Pump # 1:  Be creative

For me, priming the pump is usually doing something creative that allows my mind to take a back seat. When I sit down to do something and I’m stuck, I will get out my sketchpad and pastels. I’ll draw or do some abstract art about the task ahead. I lose myself in the artistic act itself. I become energized and more creative just by doing something creative. It gets me moving. I can then shift back to the task that I hadn’t been able to begin with my mind freed from my fears and unproductive thinking. In other words, I first get my creativity flowing and can then transfer that energy and creativity to my project.

For you it might not be anything artsy. It might be playing a round of golf, or taking a walk in nature, or cooking a casserole, or…name something relaxing and fun. The idea is that you become absorbed in what you are doing and lose yourself in it.

Prime the Pump # 2:  Lose yourself, find…inspiration

Losing yourself in something can be useful. It allows you to relax; you don’t have to keep thinking of reasons why you can’t do what you are “supposed” to do. You don’t have to keep banging your head into that wall.

When you are truly focused, you also are tuned into this moment now. When you lose yourself, your entire focus is on what you are doing. You can see it and sense it with your entire, undivided being.

Inspiration strikes when you are fully in the moment. Or, it may sift in on wings with a “ta-duh!”  However you experience inspiration, you can be sure that it won’t have a chance to be seen or heard if you are dooming and glooming.

Prime the Pump # 3:  Reach out for help

Just reaching out, to a friend or a coach, to discuss the task or project you are having trouble with can be a tremendous start.  Discussing the project with someone else is taking action! There are various “tricks” you can use to get yourself moving, and I can help you find some that will work for you if you are stuck.  Being stuck is a very unpleasant feeling, particularly when you really want to get somewhere and you’re running out of familiar options. It’s also helpful to have some support so you can avoid awfulizing and overcome obstacles you encounter.  Sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective and you can find a way to get started and get moving on a path that will end up where you want to go.

One of my favorite quotes is from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.:

“The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand
as in what direction we are moving.”

Have an inspiring day—take a creative break—and get moving!

Sherry