Two days ago I was cruising up I-8 on my way to Phoenix from San Diego to pick up my mom at the airport. If you have ever driven out West, you will know how straight and narrow those highways can be. You can go 100 miles without really seeing civilization. With good tunes on the radio and a bit of mindlessness, it is easy to go a tad over the speed limit.

It is embarrassing to admit to you that, right after a pitstop in Yuma, AZ for some breakfast at IHOP, I was pulled over by one very nice Officer Sanchez for going too fast.

Picture it.

“Hi, Ma’am. The reason I pulled you over is because you were going too fast.”

“I was? I thought the speed limit was 70!”

A warm smile.

“I clocked you at 81.”

Oops.

He asked me where I was going, where I am from and what I do for a living. I cheerfully explained that I had had a spiritual prompting and was on my way to Sedona. Admittedly, I thought the spiritual angle might soften his heart. And I told him how ironic this all was, given I am the author of The Power of Slow.

He made me wait a full ten minutes while he checked out my profile in his car. When he returned, he kindly handed me a warning instead of a ticket, told me I really needed to slow down, and ,”Oh, Christine? Read your book!”

I giggled to myself all the way to Phoenix.

Thank you, Officer Sanchez. You are right. Slow really is faster.

Social connection is the healing bond that keeps us centered. When we disengage from the world, withdraw from our loved ones or wander down the path of isolation, we aren’t able to cope as well.

According to the new book, Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World, love heals. We all know this, but what is surprising is that a lack of social connection is more toxic than smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, obesity or a lack of exercise. That’s pretty significant when you think about it. You could be the physically fittest person on the planet, but without someone to love, and be loved by, you’re in bad shape after all.

A dear friend of mine entered the hospital yesterday for a fairly routine operation, but before he did, he reached out to me to tell me how scared he was. He needed reassurance and I was so glad to give it to him. It helped him manage his stress better and I felt good for being there.

That’s what it’s all about. Being there for each other to manage the ups and downs of life.

So if you are feeling stressed, reach out to someone you love today. It’s the best win-win situation you could create for yourself. And you’ll live longer, and better, for it too.

Mind Mapping the Slow

August 17, 2012

The folks at MindMaple approached me with an irresistible offer to try out their new mind mapping software. Having never created a mind map before, I felt a little daunted, but the software was so easy, even someone as non-technical as myself could grasp the concept quite readily.

If you are looking for a snazzy way to shape up your power point presentations,  your office walls or even your screen saver, check out MindMaple. They offer a lite, free version so if you don’t want the bells and whistles, try it instead.

And for those of you who are curious what I came up whilst trying out the software myself, I offer you this. Slow. In true colors.

 

It has been four years since the global recession grabbed hold of the world. It seems in the United States a lurking pessimism has undermined the once unshakable can-do spirit of a nation I’ll always consider home.

Yet never before have we had the possibilities we have today. We are desperate in so many ways — informed usually by fear (of losing or getting a job, of finding the right spouse, of making the right decision, etc.) and yet fulfillment lies within our grasp.

If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it one thousand times. Abundance lies within.

When we are desperate for something to happen, we pine away the hours, hoping, wishing and praying for That Thing to occur. And then, when it finally does, it doesn’t have the flavor of satisfaction we thought it would. All that energy we wasted wishing for the very thing that would happen anyway! We would enjoy it more if we expected it less.

What would our lives be like if we allowed things to unfold in the divine scheme that is our DNA instead of pushing, wishing and wanting things into existence?

We would be much happier indeed.

Whenever I start to obsess about something, I ask myself what the origin of my yearning truly is. It is typically intertwined with a feeling of lack, as if filling the whole from the outside will finally quench my eternal thirst.

Not so.

Eternity is in each one of us. We share that common bond. Life is about a constant giving, receiving, allowing and releasing.

We live in an age of plenty. We needn’t grab at anything. We already have everything, and I mean everything, we will ever need because we are born with an entire package that makes living possible. Now is the time to uncover its mystery.

And that mystery, you will find, is you.

Dump that Detritus!

August 2, 2012

Are you grappling with a toxic situation in your life? Maybe it’s a so-called friend who is not only unreliable, but only ever calls you when she needs something. Or maybe it is a work environment that spells poison. Perhaps it is your house that is bursting at the seams with too much stuff.

Whatever it is, it’s time to dump that detritus.

You all know I’m a fan of living life without baggage, whether it is your long-suffering negative relationship with time or with actual clutter that’s filling your halls and walls. Energy is meant to flow. Trapped energy not only frustrates, it also constipates.

Make a list of things you could do without. They can be material items, relationships or habits. Take one action step toward liberating yourself from it every day. Some things might take longer to remove than others. Be patient, but stick to your plan.

Once you’ve made a commitment to toss your trash, you will soon be free of it. And in the process, you will become lighter, freer and happier than ever before.

I promise.

The Cleanliness Code

July 18, 2012

Filth is something I’m very familiar with. I grew up, after all, on a horse farm with barnyard cats, half-feral dogs and enough land to scamper gleefully without seeing another person for miles (or so it seemed). But as I have gotten older with a home of my own, I have grown to appreciate the serenity of spotless surfaces gleaming reverently in the sunlight.

While they say cleanliness is next to godliness, it is not the divinity I seek in order, but more an expression of the love of place. When we care for our things, we extend a warmth and respect for our surroundings and ourselves. It is as if our environment mirrors what is going on within us (I am fully aware of the level of chaos a teenage mind must experience. Daughter’s room says that so nicely!).

At a trade show recently I found the funniest doormat that read: “If you’re not God, take your shoes off!” I can hear myself saying that to my kids. Can you?

For years I battled a disorderly desk, but lately I have found even here a sense of calm. It is as though my Universe has rightly aligned itself. All tops are spinning on their axes. All is well.

If your life is overtaken by clutter, take a closer look at what you need to release. Everything holds energy. Do you want that kind of energy around you? The Cleanliness Code dictates that you let go of the baggage. If you do, your world will find a new order. And you, my friend, will have the smoothest surfaces to prove it!

In Deep Water

July 14, 2012

The other day I read a great saying: “If you get into deep water, dive.”

That says it all.

Courtesy of Orlando Family Magazine

Sometimes we get into situations in which we feel we are over our heads. Last year I was commissioned to write a full-length statistics-laden report for a client. For those of you who know me, I’m a wordsmith, not a bean counter. So when it came to analyzing, dissecting and evaluating all that data, I felt like a fish out of water. Or a person in the deep. Waaaaaay too deep!

So I dove into it with everything I had, asking for help when I needed it and coming out alive at the end. It was, needless to say, one of the most intellectually stretching experiences of my life.

And I got to do it all over again this year. But because I had already been equipped with a level of experience, the deep dive felt a little less taxing. My lungs didn’t feel like they would burst as I scrubbed the ocean floor, mining for meaning in a sea of percentages. We altered the graphics to make it more appealing to readers and I built an overarching narrative to make it more readable (once a writer, always a writer. I couldn’t help myself!).

If you are confronted with a new situation that feels less than comfortable, put on your wet suit and plunge into it with eyes wide open. What do you see? What fears arise? Allow them to be there because they want to be heard. Love them to ease their pain, then let those fears go like water between your fingers.

If you are in deep water, you won’t sink unless you let panic take over. Trust that you have everything you need to make it through. The Universe offers us so many opportunities to grow. So dive right in and give it a try. You might just surprise yourself at what you are truly capable of!

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