“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
One spring in my late twenties, I enrolled in a black and white photography class at a community arts center in downtown Austin.
Once a week I rushed from my corporate public relations job where I handled international media relations, and fought congested traffic to make it to my class at the other end of town.
Hurrying in one evening, I apologized to my bohemian instructor for being late. I told him I had hoped to get to the darkroom earlier to work on my printmaking, but it just wasn’t possible with my work demands. He shrugged, “Well, it's your choice." “No,” I protested (a little too vehemently), “you don’t understand! I had to lead a satellite media tour for German press today and had five back-to-back meetings and ten phone calls to return before I could leave.”
Again, he stated, smiling, “It was your choice.”
I opened my mouth to argue with him, thinking, this guy is really out of touch with reality. And then I shut up. As irksome as his statement was, he was right. I did have a choice. I had chosen where I lived, where I worked and how I spent my time. I wasn’t a puppet on strings; I had made a series of choices that determined how I spent my days.
We each have a finite amount of energy, time and resources. Most of us give away and waste our energy daily without even realizing it , through lengthy, unfulfilling or unnecessary phone conversations; endless time online; watching TV; tolerating disorganized spaces that cause us to spend hours looking for items; going to social gatherings or volunteer events that we don’t want to attend but feel we should attend, and the list goes on and on.
Not only are these activities unfulfilling—and often draining—but they are zapping our precious energy and resources. And, they’re keeping us from spending time on things that truly fuel us—like being with friends, enjoying our children and partners, spending time outdoors, working on creative pursuits or just relaxing into expanses of unscheduled time. (Read my recent blog posting on how I manage my energy and practice radical self-care.)
A mentor once said to me--"You want to know what you place a value on in life? Look at how you spend your time!"
OCTOBER ENERGY CHALLENGE: Set aside 20 minutes (this is a great exercise to do with your partner or a friend) of quiet, uninterrupted time. Review the short chapter from The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal on Managing Your Energy and Saying No and complete the guided journaling exercise on identifying and re-defining your life priorities. Share what came up for you in the exercise with your friend or partner. Anything need to shift? Look at this exercise as an opportunity to hold a giant magnifying glass up to your life and observe how you spend your time and where your priorities lie. And, above all, be easy with yourself.
P.S. If my photography teacher’s words touched you and you believe your work could be in greater alignment with what you value, join me at my upcoming Finding Your Career Mojo Workshop Oct. 22nd (details below). I hold this popular evening workshop twice a year for professionals from across Texas.
Upcoming Events and Training:
- October 22nd: Finding Your Career Mojo: A Workshop for Professionals in Career Transition Hosted by St. Edwards University, Austin, TX . A small, dynamic group-coaching workshop focused on helping you strategically map out your next steps and find work that is a “fit” for you. CLICK HERE to register online.
- October 29th 7:30-8:30 p.m. CST FREE Live Inside Out Class with Renee Trudeau. Topic: The Transformative Power of Self Care. Join Renee and women from around the world in a "virtual living room" as we explore how to live life from the inside-out. Register here to receive call information and details.
- 2009 LIVE INSIDE OUT Campaign: Join the Revolution!
Join the LIVE INSIDE OUT revolution and learn strategies and ideas on how to live more intentionally every day.
- Are you a therapist, coach, doula or women's empowerment advocate who loves supporting women and helping them nurture their emotional well-being? Learn more about becoming a PRG Facilitator and join a national community of leaders who are changing women's lives through powerful life coaching groups centered around The Mother's Guide to Self-Renewal.
- Did you know Renee travels around the world speaking to corporations, organizations and at national conferences on Creating Balance from the Inside Out (and other related topics)? Learn more about having Renee speak at your next event, workshops or conference. We're scheduling fall events now.
- Visit our online calendar to learn about upcoming self-renewal retreats and events. We're scheduling 2010 events now.