Flow

Day Two

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Day two of my meditation experience was all about staying in the present moment and being in the flow of life. Deepak says “The present moment is fulfilled with new possibilities.” He was saying that we can do more in the moment to be happy. Paying attention and being in the moment is something I’m always working on. Here Deepak was asking to think of three things I get totally absorbed in that I love. When I lose track of time, that’s being in the flow. It’s good to recognize those things that create a state of flow for you. Mine were:

Meditation
Exercise
Reading

I’ve already talked a lot about meditation. It is most definitely a place where I can lose track of time. Not always, but a lot of the time I “go somewhere else”. It’s the best feeling of calm and transcendence.

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When I’m exercising I am VERY present. Especially when exercising in a group class. If I was at home, I could let my mind wander and it didn’t really matter (or least I didn’t think it did) to loose track of what I was doing for a few minutes because I was daydreaming. Being in a group setting immediately makes you more present. I find that I’m REALLY in the flow in yoga. Yoga is a meditation of its own. Being present is part of the practice.

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The third area is reading. Do you ever get lost in a book? I do literally! If it’s a good book I get transported elsewhere and loose ALL track of time. This is when I began my focus on reading more clearly. As you have read previously, I have a couple of strategies for getting more reading into my day. I pledged to read in the early morning before starting my day and to take my book with me wherever I go. I have continued this along with other ways to increase my reading time over the last few years and it’s worked beautifully.

This week, try the following:

Take some time to think about activities in your life where you loose track of time.

Plan to make more time for those activities.

Please comment below. I’d love to hear where you find your flow! Thanks for being here!


Time to Read

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My last resolution was bringing back one of my favorite things to do which was reading. Reading had been put on the back burner because of my neck issues. Anytime I sat down to read for more than a few minutes, my neck would flare up. This was extremely depressing. It was one more thing taken from me during this time. And something that gave me so much joy. I knew I had to start slowly, like everything else. My resolution looked like this:

Reading

My Quotation: “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.”

Daily/Weekly Actions:

Read in the morning
Take my book everywhere
Set goals
Schedule reading into my calendar

Let me start by saying I’ve ALWAYS loved to read. Since childhood. I went through phases when I read less (my teens and new motherhood for example) but the love was always there. There’s nothing like getting deeply lost in a book. It really made me dislike movies for awhile. You can get so deep into a character’s thoughts, that movies just seemed so superficial. But, I can respect them now as an artform. I’m just very selective about what I see and I tend to lean towards documentaries.

Reading in the morning when it’s quiet and no one else is up is one of the best parts of my day. I have my tea, I run through my phone to make sure nothing major is going on, I meditate and then, I read. Sometimes, that morning reading time is the only chance I get all day to read, other times I can pick up my book again and again. As long as I always read in the morning, I know I will get some reading time in no matter what the day has in store for me.

Having a book with me at all times results in a much better use of my time than scrolling around mindlessly on my phone. For example, I will read when I am waiting at an appointment, sitting at the car wash or just about anywhere. I just throw it into my bag before I leave for wherever I’m going that day.

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I set reading goals two ways. I use the Goodreads app to track all of the books I’ve read. I also use it to set my yearly reading goals. My yearly goal for many years was 20. And a lot of times I didn’t hit that. But once I had more specific goals and most importantly stopped watching TV almost altogether, that’s when the real progress came. My yearly goal last year was 50 and I went a little over so this year I set it for 60 and currently I’ve past that goal by 10! Back to TV. Ok, I learned a little something from Laura VanderKam about time management. If you haven’t read her book, I highly recommend it. https://www.amazon.com/dp/159184410X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_RdxXDbKE9CRFTTV is a BIG time killer. All the things we think we don’t have time to do, can probably be done with the elimination of or the scheduling of TV watching. The first thing I did was stop TV as background noise. If I’m doing chores at home, I will have an audio book playing or a podcast. Both of which I enjoy so much more than TV. There ARE shows I do like! I record them, then I schedule time on my calendar once or twice a week to watch them. That’s it. No more hours and hours of whatever is on. My TV watching is PURPOSEFUL. This is a real game changer for time management. It’s allowed me to complete my online health coaching certification without any disruption to my life. It’s also allowed me to write this book! I’ve taken on many, many activities since my second happiness project, and I’m asked all the time how I have the energy and time to do everything I’m doing. And there’s a few reasons. One, of course is scheduling TV watching, two, I’m an Upholder as I’ve said before, so when I decide to do something, I jump in and do it, and three, I’m a planner. I love my calendar and I absolutely love filling it up with all my goals and to-do’s!

The second reading goal I set was new to me in the last year or so. And when I mentioned it to my daughter she said “That’s how we do it in school!” I honestly don’t know where I picked up this tip, but it’s been very helpful in moving my reading along. I don’t set an amount of TIME to read, I set a page number goal. For example, I used to jot down that I would read for 30 minutes or an hour in my calendar for reading. Sometimes I would complete that time and sometimes I wouldn’t. But, when I changed the goal to “read 50 (or 100) pages” I always completed it. It didn’t matter how long it took to complete. When I made this change I started flying through books. Usually, I have a fiction and nonfiction book going at the same time. In addition, I also have a audio book I’m listening to as well. So, together, three books at once. This is how I hit my reading goals. I have an extremely long “to be read” list! And did I mention I work part time in a LIBRARY. Ahhh, surrounded by books that are calling my name and discovering books I may never have seeked out on my own. This is a huge happiness boost!

And my neck has becoming accustom to reading again. I will admit that I no longer have day long marathon reading days, that to be honest, I miss that. But I know that I would pay the price with neck pain if I read for entire day. It’s all about making it work. What I have set up for myself is working and has increased my happiness and that was the goal to start with!

Do you want to read more? Try the following:

Visit your local library. Libraries are WONDERFUL! So many books for you to choose from. Visit your local libraries website for all the ebooks and audio books to choose from. There truly is NO REASON to buy an audio book. I will still buy books if I know I’m going to have that book signed my the author (which I do often). Otherwise, everything else is from the library.

Try reading in the morning before your day gets going. If time is tight in the morning consider waking up 30 minutes early to fit it in.

Set your own personal goals. I’ll go back to Gretchen Rubin here and suggest you know your personality type. That will help you build your habits in the way that will work for your personality.

Let me know how it goes? What are you reading? Thanks for being here!