Have you ever felt like you were sinking? You are so busy with work, running around after the children, worrying about paying the bills, maintaining the family home, volunteering on the P&C that you feel like you are treading water with your head just breaking the surface. Everything seems out of balance and your centre of gravity is off.
Building a ship is like building a great life. If you don’t get the centre of gravity right you will sink like a ship
Getting the centre of gravity right in shipbuilding is paramount to launching a ship that floats. Many a naval architect has got it wrong only to find the ship moving down the slipway into the water and quickly either lists heavily to one side, or worst still sinks to the bottom before it even goes on its maiden voyage.
Shipbuilding provides a great analogy for life.
To build a ship you need a design and design checks, a plan, materials, resources and time to put it all together. Likewise to ensure a life that floats you need the same things. Most people don’t have one or more these elements and much of the time life is pretty hit and miss with people finding themselves in deep water on a leaky boat and in crisis mode where emergency help is required.
There are 5 basic stages to building a ship and your life:
Stage 1 – Design with the Life of Type in mind
In ship design, “Life of Type” means the expected lifespan of the vessel that is being designed and built. The Huon Class Minehunter vessels, for example, built in the late 1990’s in Newcastle were designed with an expected lifespan of 20 years.
Staying mindfully in the moment – or miss them all together!
Our son recently got married and when we sat back afterwards and people started asking us for photos I realised that I had been so in the moment with the whole day that I had not taken ONE photo!!
Coming from a family whose grandmother made sure we posed for at least seven photos every time we met for a birthday or anniversary this was completely out of the ordinary.
Being in the moment is about having all your senses switched on and experiencing each second as the moments unfold. When you are in the moment you smell the smells, feel the emotions, hear the noises, and catch the glances and smiles. It means occasionally locking eyes with people in brief moments of deep and personal sharing and feeling like you are part of something bigger than yourself.
Sometimes we get so caught up in life and it’s busyness and about worrying about the future that we forget to enjoy the moments. Life is so fast paced now that we can be trapped in the cycle of always thinking about the next thing.
You may have just dropped the kids off to their sports training and your mind is already turned towards what is happening for dinner and getting them to do their homework. You race off to fill that gap when they are there to fit something else in. You go back, pile them in the car and go home to make sure all the nightly routine is done without a hitch and then you fall into bed wondering where the day went.
Did you really even connect with them? Did you have a conversation about their day and REALLY listen? Did you give them a hug?
You might go for a daily walk like I do. Some days you find yourself planning the day ahead and being so in your own mind that you walked past someone without even acknowledging them or you didn’t see the flock of black cockatoos pass overhead on their daily journey, or wave to your friend as they drove past on their way to work.
On days like that something is usually weighing heavily on your mind and you walk in auto mode with your head down and eyes directed on the ground, not seeing or hearing anything going on around you. You are home before you know it and don’t feel any more relaxed than when you started out.
How many times have you missed the moment because you have run to get your camera or have been distracted by fumbling to quickly get the phone out so you can take a photo of the moment?
You end up asking everyone to “do it again so I can take a photo because I missed that!” Then you miss it again, only seeing it through the mechanical lens with your mind thinking about whether you got it all in or if the light is good enough. Everyone groans because they have moved on to the next moment already.
Some moments are so fleeting in their spontaneity there is no way to recreate it. That moment your child took their first step, witnessing the look on their face when they won the race they were in, catching the wildlife moment on your safari trip in South Africa.
What makes you feel more alive?
Being in the thick of the moment, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling OR looking at life through the lens of a camera?
Sure, get that photo that reminds you of the moment you were part of which will jog your memory of the more juicy and memorable moments you experienced. Just don’t let it take away from living the moment in the moment or worse still missing it all together!
Here are 5 steps for staying mindfully in the moment by focusing on your breathing:
Step 1 – Notice how you are breathing.
How you are breathing is a pretty good indication of whether you are in the moment or not. If you find yourself holding your breath you are probably off with the fairies thinking about something that has happened or worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Your teeth may be clenched and your body tense.
Step 2 – Look up and look around
Put the camera down and look at and listen to the person you are with. What are they wearing, what are they saying, how are they feeling?
If you are on your own and in auto mode with your head down and your mind is caught in a tangle of what if’s and what for’s, look up and look around. Where are you, what is going on around you?
If you are at work, stop thinking about what it is you need to do next and start listening to and focusing on what is happening right now.
Step 3 – Take a deep breath out
Stop. Take a deep breath in and fill your belly then let it out at your own pace. Feel your shoulders relax, your jaw slacken, your neck release. Feel yourself settle into your own person again as you become aware of what is happening in the moment.
Step 4 – Continue with what you are doing.
Step 5 – Notice and correct (Repeat Steps 1 – 4)
Throughout the day just take a moment (no pun intended) to repeat the steps. Being aware or mindful about your breathing helps you to cope with stress, regain composure, and stay calm during the day to be fully in in the moment. There is no right or wrong. Whenever you remember or notice you are caught up in the daily pressure of life gently refocus your awareness on your breathing and go through the steps.
In reality it only takes less than a minute to bring yourself back into the moment.
ABOUT YOUR BREATH
Breath is life. It is a fundamental necessity to living. To get to know and understand your breath is to strengthen your relationship with life itself. Your life!!
Breathing is our link to survival, without it we cease to be able to live in our physical body.
Did you know as adults we take up to 30,000 breaths a day when at rest and up to 50,000 breaths if you add in some daily exercise.
How many of those do you take notice of?
You are invited to contact me to find out more.
When I was in my 20's I connected buying a house with having to settle down and stop doing the crazy, spontaneous things I loved to do.
I used to think planning meant my life was rigid, everything was known within an inch of my life, no surprises.
NO WAY! NOT ME, THANKS! I LOOOOVE SPONTANEITY!
I loved being able to take advantage of opportunity to do things in the moment. Something amazing comes along to go somewhere or do something and I am there to make the instant choice to make the investment and go off and do it.
WHOAAAAAAA! Back up a little. Light bulb moment!
The very thing that I didn’t want to do (planning) was the thing that was going to support my ability to be spontaneous!!
Think about it. PLANNING IS ACTUALLY POSSIBILITY THINKING! With a little advanced thought and planning around putting some fundamental principles into your understanding you expand and open up your life to many many more possibilities for being spontaneous.
Now being spontaneous and acting without thinking can be great sometimes and can get you into heaps of trouble at other times!
Maybe you are not one of those spontaneous impetuous people. Great!
Would you like to be prepared for those sound opportunities that come along in life?
There are four things that you need to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
There is nothing worse than being presented with an opportunity to have that dream holiday and you look at your schedule for the year and find that you don’t have the time, or worse still you have run out of annual leave because you squandered it doing something else that you really were not that into.
Now, there are plenty of spontaneous things we can do without have to spend a lot of money. Things like deciding to have a picnic dinner by the sea late on a stinking hot day, or hopping on a train to Sydney for the day with the kids to go to the museum. Yes, it is not ALL about the money. These more cost effective things we do can be the most fulfilling and the ones that create the fantastic memories.
They are great and valuable to keep life interesting from day to day but what about when you see your perfect home up for sale, you know the one that you have always dreamed of owning, or you have an opportunity to take advantage of a sound investment deal. Or maybe your brother who lives overseas is getting married and want you to be at the wedding, or your best friend is going overseas and has asked you to go with them.
Do you have a reserve of finances to just go and do these things?
3. Health/Fitness and Personal Development & Learning
Energy for living life comes from looking after you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In order to take advantage of opportunity you need to be physically healthy where your time and money are not directed to poor health and you have the physical energy to go on that adventurous holiday.
Being a student of life allows you to grow emotionally and spiritually, to learn about your personality and why you react the way you do in the world. Development and learning extends also to learning the fundamentals about money, investment, time management and all the skills you may need to take advantage of future possibilities and opportunities.
So on accountability. At the beginning I told you that in my 20’s I gave no thought to the future except that I wanted one and I wanted to be able to spontaneously take advantage of opportunities as they came up.
Well this lasted until I was 34! I had a great time spending everything I had, when I got it, doing all the things that I loved to do. Suddenly I turned around and I had a family and my son wanted a dog. My husband and I were still renting and were not allowed to have one!!
Wake up call and alarm bells where ringing!! I realised that what I really wanted was my own home and that I had no understanding of how to go about achieving this.
Somehow, over the next 2 years we managed to move into our home and get that dog.
Just after that I met someone who was to become my coach and mentor. I realised I needed help if I was going to continue to live life full of possibilities as our family grew and my career put pressure on my time and money.
Most people need help. Finding someone to walk beside me and hold me accountable when I needed it has been the most useful tool to ensuring I plan for and live out my life’s possibilities.
The added benefit was having someone to act as a sounding board for my great plans and ideas. Many a time I have been saved from making poor financial investment choices in my tendency to wanting to act spontaneously.
In summary, sufficient time and money go hand in hand to some extent and are the basic resources you need to be able to live out the life you would like to lead.
Health, fitness and personal development and learning provides the energy and the understanding required to step into the future possibilities when they show up in the moment.
Finally having someone to hold you accountable and act as a sounding board helps you stay on track and avoid disastrous mistakes.
Imagine, no more, “I could have done that if only …….”.
We can all insert some reason in the space at the end of the “if only” sentence.
Maybe it was if only: “I had the time”, “I had enough money”, “I hadn’t been ill”, or “I was more educated about investment”.
There are lots of ways that you can become possibility ready and maybe you just needed someone to point it out for you to get your own act together to plan into YOUR future possibilities.
I didn’t. I needed extra help and now I walk beside others to do the same.
Let’s have a chat if you would like to know more.
My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.