Rushed

Although Andrea originally wrote this blog during her July 2014 vacation, we think now is a great time to slow down, and practice deliberate assessment of our need for speed as we dash into the holiday flurry!

by Andrea Chilcote

I’ve been rushing a lot lately, even when there’s been no compelling need to. Given that I’ve spent 10 of the last 14 days on vacation, rushing might just be a bad habit.

When I looked up the synonyms for “rush,” I found many words that describe my demeanor. While I can’t say I’ve used all of these words, they sure describe many of my actions: hurry, dash, run, race, sprint, bolt, dart, fly, speed, zoom, scurry, scuttle, scamper, hasten, tear, belt, pelt, scoot, zip, hotfoot it, hightail it

This “problem” came into my awareness precisely because I was on vacation. From the first day, I questioned why I still felt stress, even though I was supposedly free to relax and enjoy. The very first thing I noticed was my language.

“I’ll hurry and shower (or eat, dress, pack – fill in the blank).”

“Let’s dash over there.”

“Speed up!

And I noticed other’s responses:

“There’s no hurry Andrea. Enjoy your lunch.”

“Take your time.”

“Relax. What’s the rush?”

But… did they mean it? Seriously, it’s easy for others to say “relax,” until my pace encroaches on their expectations. Did it?

Analyzing further, I realized that of late I have two speeds, high and off. Off is usually reserved for sleep. High is for everything else, and not everything requires that amount of energy expenditure. And, it sure depletes the enjoyment of simple pleasures.

Have you also experienced this? If you have a habit of pedal-to-the-metal and jackrabbit starts (and I’m not just talking about driving), what are the costs? Are you, like me, burning precious fuel?

Yesterday I began a deliberate practice of assessing my need for speed. In the last 24 hours, I have had more productive conversations and more presence. I’ve enjoyed small rewards from a slower pace, and I’m sure breathing more freely. (Oh, and I’ve still gotten a ton done).

Andrea and Whisper —Cambria, CA 2017

It’s a bit bittersweet that I didn’t embrace this lesson a week ago, while the ocean breezes blew. But I can wait for another vacation, or I can consciously embrace a variable speed commensurate with what’s required. It sounds inviting – I’ll let you know how it goes.

[Rushed originally written July 17, 2014]

Inspired

Andrea Chilcote, Erik's HopeThink about something you do that inspires you, something for which you feel such passion that you never tire of it. Time seems to pass without notice.

Does that inspirational activity come to mind easily? Is it what you’re doing right now (or at least right before you began reading this post?) Is it your work? Your hobby? Your longing?

I’ve been thinking about inspiration a lot in the past few days, as I’ve prepared for an overdue vacation. I definitely am inspired by my work – oh, I don’t mean to imply every day is bliss, but the work itself is something I pursue with passion. And I can tell when I need a break, because I begin to get impatient and cynical, and the feelings start showing up, ever so slightly, in my day-to-day communication.

Writing is part of my work, a part I love. And one of the symptoms that appears when I need a break is a lack of inspiration for writing. So odd – that which usually energizes me becomes a drain. It’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s more that the things I hold precious get lost in the sea of demands and to-do’s.

Just this week I saw a LinkedIn post entitled “What if you’re not passionate about anything?” I rolled my eyes and read no further. But seriously, I thought a lot about it. “How can that be?” I felt a sense of compassion for whoever wrote the statement, and wondered if lack of passion was an indication something else was at play.

One meaning of the word “inspire” is inhale, or breathe in. How interesting that taking a breath, literally or metaphorically in the form of a vacation, serves to engage. Regardless of the sense of mission or passion felt, we simply cannot give of ourselves without taking in. I think it’s a rule of our humanness.

So back to my earlier question, does the source of your inspiration come to mind easily? Or do you need a breath (or several) to gather the mojo or light the fire? I’ll be rekindling mine by the sea. Perhaps I’ll see you there.


This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a blogger. Enjoy it!

Harmony

Harmony, California, Andrea Chilcote

What if you could go on vacation in your mind, even just for a moment? And what if that resulted in a more harmonious day? I just tried it, and I hope you will too, after you read the post I wrote on vacation last summer.

by Andrea Chilcote

I’m on vacation this week, a vacation that I anticipated and now savor. I am graced by rest, beauty and pleasant activities.

When my pace slows enough, I’m able to hold a perspective which seems inaccessible on the usual busy days of life. Oh, even on vacation I feel moments of stress, due to anything from a minor work request to misplacing the rental car keys. But the difference is that on vacation, I almost always observe it and decide if it’s worth the emotional energy. Even when it is, there are energetic bookends of peace that keep stress in its proper place.

There’s a very small town near where we are in California, called Harmony. We’ve visited there three times this week, as it’s the home of one of our favorite wineries. We picnic on their lawns with our dogs, enjoying cool breezes, gorgeous scenery and the scent of lavender growing in the gardens. (And yes, good wine, of course). Early this week, I decided that “harmony” was my intended state of being.

As I began to write this post, I assessed my performance in that harmonious state. At first, I felt a touch of self-judgment, as I knew I have not been what I previously defined as “harmonious,” 24-7.

Then I googled the word. Amazingly, harmony results from the balance between tense and relaxed moments. You musicians know this of course. But for me, and for the rest of you, this information is powerful. Harmony exists when there is wholeness and acceptance of the human experience.

There’s no doubt that I will again lose my car keys, as well as experience many other so-called stressful moments. My intention is to bring harmony home with me and weather them to the sound of beautiful music. How about you?

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This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!

Just Chill

Cambriaby Andrea Chilcote

The following is a repeat of a post I made for The Spirited Woman Community in August, just before departing for vacation. While I am in Cave Creek this week, not Cambria, the spirit of “Just Chill” seems appropriate for the holiday weekend. Enjoy!

August 2012

As you read this post, I am officially on vacation. I am in Cambria, California an idyllic haven that offers my family and me a unique sort of respite, a place to “chill out” figuratively as well as literally, given that it’s also a cool escape from the blistering Arizona summer.

I strive for peace and quiet amidst the busyness of my life. Yet the world is not quiet. That is not a judgment, rather it is an observation. Whether one is a public servant, a public figure – or even a monk – this “disquiet” can seep into the psyche, creating discord that impacts the quality of our lives and those we care about and interact with daily.

In the past, I have written of the importance of rest and renewal. And, as is so often the case, I have observed a theme this past week: A dearth of rest. So many people are starved for a break, for peace and for release. The definition of rest is broad. It can mean temporary cessation from an activity as well as relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance. Rest includes recreation, and it can literally re-create our outlook, equipping us with renewed drive and energy to use as we choose.

Some of us “rest” in motion…through vigorous physical activity, or an active break from routine. Others need stillness and contemplation. The idea of a nap or an afternoon under a beach umbrella may satisfy some and not others. For me, the simple absence of a schedule provides supreme rest.

We’ve been resting in Cambria each summer for the last six years. On the first day of our first trip there, Arthur and I were having lunch at a wonderful sidewalk table at a Cambria classic, the Indigo Moon. Our dogs Whisper and Amigo were with us. Just as our server approached, another vacationing dog passed by our table. Whisper, the Malamute, tends to challenge other dogs, and this was no exception.  The server looked her straight in the eye and cut her off mid-growl. “Chill doggie,” she said calmly. “This is Cambria.” Amazingly, both dogs “chilled.” From that day forward, time in Cambria came to represent a time to take a deep breath and relax.

Maybe you too can visit Cambria, in person or in your dreams. Until then, just chill.

It’s that frenetic energy that keeps us stuck in perpetual ‘fight or flight’ and that keeps us in an energetic fear loop that robs us of truly being present, enjoying life, and connecting deeply with our loved ones. – Resting expert Dan Howard