We have family obligations, household chores, work commitments and miscellaneous other tasks to manage on a daily basis. We have on-going and occasional problems to contend with. Most days, we honour our commitments joyfully and handle our problems with wisdom and grace. Still, sometimes, we long for a little freedom – a little time for ourselves, to breathe deeply, do what relaxes us, nourishes us and feeds our dreams. Life though, can be a busy-go-round with few stops. Leisure time may be too infrequent and when it comes, it doesn’t last as long as we’d like. No wonder we feel as if we are caught in a bind.
We can have more time for ourselves and our interests, if we loosen the ties that bind us. Here are 3 ways to do that.
1. Set boundaries. Boundaries may seem like a dirty word when we are used to allowing things, people and situations to tie us up in their demands for our time and energy. Setting boundaries though, is not only an exercise in saying no to what confines us but also in saying yes to what defines us – who we are, what we want, what fills and frees us. When our lives feel like bondage to responsibilities and demands from multiple quarters, setting boundaries will help to loosen the ties that bind us. Every boundary we set gives us time and space to regain and preserve our sanity, seek out opportunities for self improvement and to nurture our dreams. Every no we say echoes with a reciprocating, resounding yes to understand and embrace who we are and what is important to us. In a world that has gone mad with busyness and gadgets, setting boundaries will set us free to live a simpler and more satisfying life.
2. Sip from your cup of blessings. Left to settle in our cups, our blessings go unnoticed and unappreciated. Eventually, we forget about them and settle into the false belief that there is nothing good in our lives. Ungratefulness gives way to discontent. Before long, fear wraps its cords around us. Our cups may not be running over but surely, it is not empty. However high our blessings rise or however low they sit, we must not ignore them. Every day, we should sip their goodness and inhale their aroma, allow them to wash our hearts and share their richness with others. Our blessings help to loosen the ties that bind us when we acknowledge them with gratitude.
3. Swing to your own music. Often, other people’s music drowns out our own. We can barely hear ourselves think, barely make a rational decision or even a wild and adventurous one, barely recognize our own music. We begin swinging to their music and gradually, we’re absorbed into their life stories. Despite the busyness, challenges and noise in our lives, each of us should take time to identify our own music. If we listen carefully, we will catch its unique rhythm. People may not understand. They may frown. Nevertheless, we owe it to ourselves to crank up the volume and choreograph our own moves. Each aspect of our harried lives has its own music and over time the noise binds us to a way of thinking, feeling and living that does not nourish us. We can loosen those ties by swinging to our own music.
Do you feel tied down, locked in a vice of responsibilities and demands? Do you feel tied up in other people’s lives and pursuits? Let’s loosen the ties that bind us to make time and space to create a rich personal life.
(Published August 26th 2012, in the Trinidad Guardian’s Womanwise Magazine)