The complexities of finding a job, making enough money to support a family and then having quality time to enjoy the fruits of their labor seems to be a steady theme in my practice. It is also one of the greatest sources of depression for many individuals. There are a lot of people working “hard, ” but not working “smart.” Employed in jobs that require long hours, exhausting responsibilities and little if any flexibility, they expend most of their energy working to support a family who never sees them.
This pattern begs the question, how often do we set aside space and time and energy to evaluate, ” Is the way I spend my time in alignment with my priorities?” If we spend 50% of our time away from home working and our children spend 50% of their time away from home in school and activities where do we overlap? Are we too tired from working long hours to spend quality time with those we love? Are we rejuvenated from taking time for ourselves to be present for them? I think there are many families who avoid these questions and stay on the wheel just like the hamster. Paying no attention to how long he stays on the wheel, the hamster basically keeps going, getting nowhere!
I have found the most productive energy I expend during the day is the time when I am not “DOING ANYTHING”. Rather, I am taking time and making space to reflect. By asking myself daily if my values and priorities are in focus, I believe my life stays on track with my greatest joy, spending time in my relationships with others and with my own greater purpose. I live each day with the goal of making it better than yesterday.
The days when I work too many hours, neglect my meditation or exercise time, are those times when I lose my balance. I feel like I am getting nowhere because what is most important is right in front of me and I am running past it.
The practice of regularly evaluating what’s most important to us such as how we are spending our time and energy and are we enjoying who or what we value is essential to our well- being. Working “smart” is ensuring that TODAY we are able to spend time enjoying our lives. None of us is promised tomorrow and yet we all at times live our lives running today in effort to get to tomorrow.
I urge us all to stop, do nothing and reflect on our three greatest priorities. Make sure your health allows you time to enjoy your priorities to your fullest capacity-whatever that takes. Find a way to focus our time and energies in the ever present now. Think and rethink your goals, could you do with less and really have more? Think about it.