It never ceases to amaze me how selective our memories can be. My best friend remembers things from our school days that I can’t even conjure up in a dream. I have no recollection whatsoever of some experiences, while she can’t remember other things I do. I am not certain whether it was our adolescent minds, not yet fully developed, that allowed for such lapses in our memories or if we are simply wiser today and carefully choose what to remember.

We place blinders on to filter information. Our world would otherwise be too overwhelming if we were to take in every nuance in our surroundings. But lifting the blinders, if only a little, would also widen our lens and our view of things.

They say we tend to get more narrow-minded as we get older. Our horizon shrinks, our attention span shortens. But what if we were committed to fully embrace every aspect of a moment as it is laid out in front of us instead of putting it through our translation machine of meaning-making nonsense? What if we were to take on the entirety of the experience, such as eating an ice cream cone on a sunny day, instead of checking our smartphone while we lick away at it? Would we have a different memory of it then?

There aren’t many things we do with a singular focus, except perhaps sleeping. Even then, our subconscious mind is active, feeding us dreams and processing data in its memory bank of time.

Dreams can be helpful for memory recall. I recently had a dream about an actual car accident I had ten years ago. In my dream, the car swerved toward another car. All I could think in my dreaming mind was :”This is it.” I had a similar thought in real life as the car turned 180 degrees one way, then bounced back in the other direction, but luckily there were no cars in sight. In my dream, I was ready to take on death with a singular beat. It was a moment of full acceptance of the experience.

In our dreams we are capable of doing things we can’t do in real life, such as fly. But the symbolic meaning behind the dreams, such as the one I had, can tell us a lot about what we are really thinking.

Pay attention to your dreams for they are the land mine of our memories. If you can’t remember your dreams, go to bed at night telling yourself you will remember at least one aspect of the next dream you have. As you wake up, write it down right away. After a time, you might start to be able to remember more. You might also start to see patterns.

In your waking moments, absorb the entirety of one experience today. It might not help you remember your dreams any better, but it will help you remember the life you lead.

It’s one thing to take a day off on the weekend, but entirely another when you decide to take a mid-week break. For those of you new to The Power of Slow, it may seem like a daunting task to even consider taking a day off “just because”. If panic is seizing your throat as you read this, hear me out for a moment, okay?

This past week I opted to explore a new area smack dab in the middle of the week simply because I wanted to. Husband was travelling, the kids were at school for their only ‘long day” until 3 pm (don’t get me started about half-day schooling in Germany!) and I saw no reason to sit on my fanny in front of my computer when I have an iPhone to check in for any client fires I might need to put out.

And so I tapped in an address that looked fascinating in my GPS and, as my mom likes to say, took a God trip for the entire day. As if carried by angels, I maneuvered through traffic and reached my destination with plenty of time to enjoy the day. A nice walk through the park, a delightful lunch and some cherished alone time in my car as I listened to my favorite music, made me a patient, loving person again. Because let’s face it: too much stress, too many demands and too little fun are not conducive to a balanced life.

When I got home, the kids happily greeted me, did the chores I asked them to and seemed genuinely grateful to see me again. And you know what? No one died, my clients didn’t fire me and I had a song in my heart from all the fun I had that day.

If you’re thinking “yeah, but that can’t apply to me” right now, here’s the thing: it’s about creating the opening for new things to come into your life. When you say “I can’t do that,” “It’s too difficult,” “I don’t know how so I won’t even try,” you are creating the mental parameters for your predictions to come true. In other words, you are right! But if you approach your life with possibility, with the thinking that “This is what I want and I envision a world in which it happens,” there’s no arguing with you. You’re right again. With that kind of thinking, the sky is the limit.

I promise you this: if you create sacred space for your own evolution, the world will adapt to you instead of you always having to adapt to it. And who wouldn’t want to live a world of their own making? The truth is we all do. The question is what world do you want to live in?

Have you ever spent what felt like hours at the airport gate desk, trying to wrangle a new seat assignment because you discovered too late that your seat is right next to the lavatory on an overcrowded flight?

For those of you who travel long distances, I just found a great online site that shows you exact where your seat assignment is. SeatGuru.com has a database of every flight, airline and airplane imaginable so you can be assured the best seat in your price class. Once I discovered my Economy ticket couldn’t upgraded using frequent flyer miles, I referred to the site, then the travel agent, to ensure I don’t land with a crick in my neck eight hours later.

The best part? You’ll be guaranteed never to get that seat that doesn’t recline on your transcontinental journey because it tells you just about every seat feature it has. On top of a better flight overall, it will save you yet another trip to the chiropracter too!

Family Vacation

August 7, 2009

Air travel leaves me with a blend of thrill and fear. There’s something remarkably impossible about lifting people into the sky for a few hours, only to land safely on the other side of the world. When packing, I usually reach a point where I say “If I don’t have it by now, I don’t need it.” It’s a motto of mine I use for most every occasion that involves hunting and gathering.

The holidays is another time of year in which I engage in the “Done, not perfect” attitude. We can only get so much done, see so many people, wrap so many gifts.

Taking vacation to see family, like we are tomorrow, is no different. Everyone wants a bit of your time; it is a loving and joyous request that can sometimes pile up into a scheduling nightmare. We are challenged to learn to say ‘no’ with kindness, to set boundaries and to preserve the integrity of what vacation is all about ~ rest, relaxation and fun!

Take the power of slow wherever you go. I am reminded to do the same.

Give me a break

June 30, 2009

In its July/August 2009 issue, Experience Life magazine covers a most intriguing topic about the importance of time-outs in our lives. It is a scientific facts that our bodies need a rest after only 90 minutes of focused head work.

According to psychobiology researcher Ernest Rossi, PhD, a leading expert on ultradian rhythms and how they affect human biology, people are programmed to want to take a 20-minute break after every 90 minutes of intense focus or activity. And it’s not just that we want a break, says Rossi, we actually need one if we hope to operate at peak effectiveness and efficiency.

I always knew taking a nap was a good idea. But not only that ~ we benefit from a daily time-out in other ways, too. The article cites the classic example of Google’s 80/20 rule in which 20% of the time should be spent ‘goofing off’. It is meant to raise people’s productivity levels. Given Google’s global grip, I’d say they’re on to something.

Mid-day respites are not just for the IT industry. My husband’s biotech company encourages a round or two of Fussball during their lunch break. Since I work for myself, a brief jaunt outside to smell the roses does me a world of good.

How do you rest each day?

Battery Recharge

May 26, 2009

As I stared down at my camera battery gleefully soaking up more energy from its charger cradle, I realized we are a lot more like machines than we realize.

We need to recharge our batteries like everything else. Taking time off is as important as breathing because it helps us do it better. It needn’t be just another item on your to-do list (unless lists are your thing). It can be a liberating experience to drop the cloak of responsibility and to step into a robe of relaxation.

If our cell phones, cameras, and hybrid cars need it, so do we!