Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stepping Back, Creating Clarity

Sometimes I think my favorite part about going away is coming back. Call me crazy, I know. But *clarity* just feels so good... Vacations, holidays, retreats, road trips, breaks, sabbaticals, weekend getaways, stay-cations. All are opportunities to step back from the day-to-day flow, stories and stresses, to get fresh perspective and clarity.

Stepping Back --> Perspectice --> Clear Views & Clarity

July has been my step-back month. I spent 10 days in Italy and then 4 more days on a road trip to Washington state for a camping music festival. Travel creates white space: for thinking and reflecting, and, perhaps more importantly, for not thinking or doing anything at all, for just being present with where you are and what you're doing.

Whenever I take any sort of break, I always find that I return to my regular life flow with more clarity about what IS flowing and what isn't feeling so good.

Going back in, I ask myself:
  • What am I looking forward to, and what am I dreading?
  • What feels exciting and expansive, and what feels heavy and constrictive? (The body doesn't lie.)
  • What's working well and serving my visions and goals, and what's distracting me or getting in the way? 
  • What do I want to do differently, and how can I set myself up for success?

I promise, even if you don't think about work or your life at all while you're away, you'll discover that even just a few minutes of reflection (I love doing written "brain dumps" during airplanes or car rides) will bring the clarity right to the surface. They key is that stepping back disengages you emotionally from the stress, energy, stories and tensions that might otherwise keep you in their wraps. So take advantage of the situation!

Here's my tried-and-true secret tip for ultimate clarity:

Always carve yourself a few extra days to re-integrate from your breaks. Put your vacation email auto-responder up a few days before you leave AND leave it up a few days after. Tell everyone you'll be back a couple of days after you actually get back. This will give you the space and time you need to rest, reset, reflect and re-enter your daily flow feeling rejuvenated, calm and clear.

What is the most powerful part about stepping back from daily life for you?

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