Avoiding the Whirlwind of Regret

The #1 regret of the dying  is not living a life true to one’s self, but instead living the life others expected of you. The 2nd regret is working too hard.

Living without regret means:

  1. Attending to your own needs before helping others — like the oxygen mask on an airplane.
  2. Learning to moderate you life so there is less stress and overwhelm.

I have made these 2 point in numerous speeches. Stop trying to please others. Do what uplifts you and makes your heart sing!

Like the cobbler with no shoes, I’ve been ignoring my own message.

I have been working way too hard often on activities I do not enjoy. Tuesday, cosmic forces aligned and my error hit home. If I want more ease in my life — one of my primary intentions — I would have to slow down and take on fewer tasks. I would have to start saying no, or at least hold off saying yes until I have had time to think. The universe will not do it for me.

In case I didn’t get the message, after my speaking gig last Thursday, an elderly lady in a wheelchair asked it I was making time on myself. “These presentations are all very well and good,” she said to me, “but what about you?” Oh my gosh does it show on my face? Do I look worn out? Harried? I thought about this all the way back across the Goldengate Bridge in rush hour traffic.

Caught in the Whirlwind of Regret

What I have noticed is that the faster I go, the more work I attract. It is as though my spinning so fast actually magnetizes more work — like a tornado sucking up everything in it’s path.

The next morning, I postponed one of my talks for the week and gave another to a colleague. It’s difficult for me to do because of my strong ethic of responsibility and, of course, not wanting to disappointing people. There it is, putting other’s needs ahead of my own. The arrival time was 7 am, yes that’s AM, and involves weaving through the East Bay maze at rush hour and then back through Caldecott tunnel at 8:30am. I expended three and a half hours to do a 7 minute speeche.

Friday, I really started putting on the brakes. I went for a walk at 3pm and then drew the above picture to express my whirlwind experience. I begged off multiple weekend opportunities and spent Saturday hiking in Briones Regional Park followed by a marathon reading of Jojo Moyes’ new novel. I believe I am now ready for Monday.

It’s important to take down time, to reflect, to play, and to be.

Relaxing and doing nothing is how to inspire brilliance and creativity. It’s the only way to tap into source. But watch out for the temptation to spend meditation time composing your ad copy.

When we keep rushing, we only attract more rushing. Multitasking makes us more prone to make mistakes and can actually use up more time than taking a break or doing things carefully one at a time. I spend 15 minutes trying to find material I needed for my next speaking gig. I was trying to send an email to the people at the last speaking location but couldn’t find their email. Finally I went for a walk. When I came back I knew exactly where to find the material.

Changing the habit of rushing around can be difficult  because being busy often feel normal, safe, and above reproach. We live in a culture that runs on caffeine and expects us to move at warp speed. Even when we try to slow down we can get caught up in the whirlwind of others.

To change this habit of rushing, we need to sandwich in play time. It doesn’t have to be long. It could just be a few moments of breathing or stretching every hour. Look out the window and watch a bird. Drink a glass of water. Regular respites like this can make a huge difference in your quality of life. It may even lead to taking off a whole week or two. What would that be like?

When we create space for ourselves, when we slow down, we connect to our inner wisdom and magic can happen.

Be Brilliant!


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Dr. Michelle Peticolas is a national speaker and expert on the topics of loss, emotional wounding and unresolved grief. She has a Ph.D. in Sociology and over 18 years experience coaching people through major life challenges.  If you’re ready to change the habit of rushing, download and listen to her Stress Release Body Scan audio recording. Find out where you are holding energy and learn to release it. Go to www.releaseandthrive.com

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