Here’s a Quick Way to Stop the Rushing Around

Many years ago I was at a crafts fair and a woman was escorting her elderly mother. The mother was very old and frail and muttering something to herself over and over again. I asked the daughter what her mother was repeating and she replied “It will never work.”

I asked the daughter what her mother meant and she said that back in the day there was enormous opposition to the proposal of erecting traffic lights. Those who opposed the traffic lights said that they would never work and it was a waste of money and that no one would stop at the stoplights!uhjlmaa6s_q-julie-macey
Can you imagine what our world would be like without traffic lights and stop signs?

This little vignette has stayed with me for nearly 20 years. Its message resonates with me on many levels.

The ability to stop- to really, really stop is essential and provides the opportunity to regroup, reorganize, and decide.

Isn’t that what happens at a stoplight or stop sign? We stop. We wait our turn. And then we go.

 

Maybe we stay on the same track and go straight. Maybe we take a left hand turn or a right hand turn.

The skill of stopping gives us the opportunity to reorder ourselves, reorganize and within that framework –decide. Stopping allows us to decide to stay on the same path or turn down another path.

But unless we are driving down the street most of us don’t have stoplights or stop signs.

We live in a go-go, do-do world. We rush, we speed we can barely catch our breaths. We never stop until something forces us to stop like an illness or an accident.

But you can change that. You can stop. You can stop right here and right now.

Stop and wait and notice where you are. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you taste? What do you smell? If you are sitting then notice how you are sitting. If you are standing then notice that.

Stop and be still. Now notice the world around you and how you are in this world. Take in your senses. Experience this beautiful world.

At this point you may be asking “But how can I remember to stop? I get going and then I forget to stop.”

The answer is easy! Post it Notes! Place Post it Notes in places of transition. Place a Post it Note by the coffee maker, the refrigerator, the bath room mirror, the front door, any doorway, the dash in your car- any place that you make a transition. Just write STOP!

Let the Post it Note be your stop sign. Trust me this works and it is practically free!

Does this resonate with you? Please share your thoughts.

 

Photo: Julie Macey

What’s Stopping You?

“Certainty is a cruel mindset”

      Ellen Langer, Counterclockwise      

           

 

Want to know what really gets in the way of aging gracefully?

Preconceived ideas. 

Let me give you an example.

The other day a woman came to me for a session. She is in her 80’s and has been working with me for a while. She has some balance issues due to arthritis but all things considered she does incredibly well.

However this week she came in with a very painful hip and was having trouble sitting, standing and walking.

When she got to the chair and sat down she was feeling so defeated that she felt like she could not get up from the chair. In fact she tried to stand but could not.

She believed that it was her age that was preventing her from getting out of the chair and that perhaps she would never be able to get up unassisted again.

I knew that it was her self-limiting belief that was preventing her from standing and not her ability nor her age.

I could feel the defeat and frustration build in her to the point of tears. She was so focused on her hip and her failure to stand up that indeed she could not get out of the chair.

So I changed her focus. I asked her to sing a song with me. We started singing “Hello Dolly.” And you know what? She got out of the chair like a 10 year old. She popped in and out of the chair 3 or 4 more times.

Because she was moving better she no longer had the pain in her hip. We walked around the room. At this point we had sung snippets of a half dozen songs and she was laughing.

We had interrupted her self-limiting preconceived idea that her hip was failing her and that she would never be able to sit and stand easily again.

Self-limiting preconceived ideas and beliefs– we all have them.

They influence our expectations of ourselves and of others but most often, these preconceptions are self-limiting beliefs.

More often than not, our expectations of ourselves are limiting, not encouraging.

They are based on old tapes that are going around and around in your head. Preconceived ideas are not based on what is actually taking place here and now.

They are based on the past and are not relevant for today.

These self-limiting beliefs become a mindset and this mindset eventually becomes a reality.

I call this place of limiting self-belief the Rat Hole.

The Rat Hole becomes a vicious circle.

Round and round you go focusing and obsessing about your limitations and what you can’t do.

You become disengaged from your active life and retreat to a place of discouragement and self -doubt.

And then you start to believe in the stereotypes about aging and what it means to get older. You invest yourself in these stereotypes and cannot imagine yourself any other way.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You do not have to do a 180 degree turn to change. All you have to do is shift your position or attitude a few degrees to set off on a different course.

What are your preconceived ideas about aging that could be limiting you?

Here are some that I have heard:

  1. Pain and stiffness are an integral part of getting older.

This is false. Pain and stiffness are often the result of how you do what you do. Pain and stiffness are not an inevitable part of getting older. If sitting is painful for you then chances are it is the way that you are sitting that is causing the pain. You can learn how to sit differently. In my next video “Slouch No More” you will learn simple ways to improve your sitting.

  1. I am too old to change the way I do things.

This is false. Change occurs by bringing attention or mindfulness to your activities. We can learn at any age. You are never too old to change.

  1. My balance will inevitably become compromised.

Ok so it is true that your balance decreases as you age but by challenging your sense of balance that decline can be reversed and drastically improved. There are some very simple ways that you can challenge and improve your balance. Very soon I will be completing my 3rd video “Balance and Confidence Everyday”- look for it here.

  1. I’m a failure. I try hard to do X but I can’t do it no matter how hard I try.

Guess what: it’s not you. It is the trying that is getting in your way. Don’t try. Stop trying. Think of allowing yourself to do the activity. To allow is a much more constructive way to approach a task.

  1. I’m in pain now and thus I will never be able to go back to doing the things I love the most. My pain has put me in a place of inevitable decline.

The truth is that many of the aches and pains that we experience are caused by how we do things. You can learn how to move with less pain and stiffness. Pain and stiffness do not have to be an inevitable down ward spiral. You can regain those activities that you thought you would never be able to do again. I can teach you how.

 

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for more tips on how to get out of the rat hole of self- limiting preconceived ideas…

 

Book your session with me today and learn how to move with better balance, agility and ease!