AHA MOMENTS IN ITALY
I’m absolutely bursting at the seams with new inspiration and energy for what I do and who I am after just a little intentional time away.
Ever experience that yourself?
It helped that I was visiting my favorite country… Italy. And with each visit to Italy I’m reminded about a few critical ways to truly live by design … not default. I find it’s so easy in my day to day to get caught up in the [false] impression that more = better. I can tell when I get to this place of haste, my default response becomes “busy” when asked how I’m doing. I hate seeing myself get there but I’m feeling so empowered to change the script.
Here [on a silver platter] are my top tips for both myself and YOU to reverse the trajectory and carve out space to be your best self.
1. show up for yourself- I always love it when someone encourages me to do this but I really LIVED it these past few weeks. Walking the streets of Italy I simply loved how everyone seemed pulled together- dressed to impress. While I didn’t pack my whole wardrobe [thank you United weight limit], I woke up each day inspired to really show up. I popped a scarf around my neck, some bright green shoes and man I felt like a million bucks. Take it one step further into the world of food and I was even MORE compelled to show up. Sitting a table adorned with a simple flower, a bright white napkin and silverware intentionally placed, I felt like royalty. I tended to eat slower and really savor the whole experience. Are either of these two things out of reach in Denver? NO! So why haven’t I been doing them all along. My [lame] response? I don’t have time. I dropped a #truthbomb on myself on the way home as I journaled about all I had experienced. The fact of the matter is, I absolutely do have time for both. I have time to adorn both my body and my table with elements that truly make me feel special and mark each day as special. Will I be tempted to forego both for the promise of productivity? Of course, but here’s my pact to you [my faithful nourished champion] – I will make it a daily “meditation” to show up both with how I present myself and how I sit to dine. Are you in on this with me?
2. un-commit- “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.” – Josh Billings. While we live in a society that idolizes “busy-ness” I see in my daily practice the negative effects [on a deep biological level] from overcommitment. It stretches us both emotionally and physically, preventing us from producing our best work and unlocking our best selves. Uncommiting can be harder than simply not committing in the first place but often times we feel guilty saying no to something or someone we have already committed to, which of course triggers a pre-mature… yes! Here’s my challenge to you: pause [even just for 5 seconds] before you say yes OR no. Give yourself time to evaluate whether you can truly commit. This will greatly reduce the possibility of making a commitment you’ll regret. Here it is in a nutshell… if it’s not a hell yes than it’s a no. Deal?
3. eliminate snacking- When food and environmental cues to eat are sprinkled throughout our day, it’s tempting to have a few bites of this or a few bites of that between meals mentally “discounting” all the morsels by the end of the day. I’m speaking to this intelligently not because I’ve mastered the art of no snacking but because I too am working on eliminating the mindLESS snacking. I find it truly takes accountability and diligence in the food culture we live in but the payoff is well worth it. Not only will you experience an appetite before meals [the best first course!], but you’ll also gain a better understanding of where sugar and processed ingredients sneak in. We are designed to digest food to completion for upwards of 3-4 hours. Bringing new foods in while the body is still extracting nutrients from our last meal can put stress on the digestive system. Having experienced the absenteeism of snacking first in France and then to an even greater magnitude in Italy, I’m feeling so empowered to make it a principle in the protocols. Start now by simply tracking for 5 days straight what happens between meals. You might just surprise yourself!
4. escape- Last but not least I came away from my time in Europe, adamant to mandate periods of solitude and “white space” into my life. While the “productivity monster” in my brain tells me I don’t need it, I realize each and every time I escape that it is the only thing allowing me to differentiate between the essential tasks and the trivial tasks [both in life and work]. Space breeds creativity, concentration, and contemplation. But if we don’t intentionally carve out time in our daily + weekly + monthly calendar to escape into our thoughts without an agenda, we fall prey to the paradoxical disaster of the busy but unproductive lifestyle. If setting aside a full week sounds daunting, start with a day. Mark it on your calendar as a “tech holiday” and put everything [even your phone] on airplane mode. Consider this your strategy for efficiency because I guarantee you the time you take to escape will clarify what truly matters and you’ll slowly become addicted to the recharge it gives you from cell to soul.
Now off you go, commit [or uncommit!], escape, and truly show up for yourself today!