by Karen Susman
Note from Terry: This article is a bit different than the ones I usually post, but it’s something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my own life/business this year … and I must say, Karen’s article is spot on! As business owners, I think many of us often get so caught up in running our businesses and getting things done that we forget about the simple things and the pleasure they bring to our lives. It’s amazing what a little “freeness” can do to help restore that balance many of us crave.
At a picnic last week, I had an enlightening conversation with a six-year-old imp we’ll call Betsy in order to protect her parents. I asked Betsy what she was doing this summer. She said she was attending several week-long camps such as drama, soccer, and Barbies. (I made up the Barbie day camp, but there is a camp designed now to appeal to every interest of child or parent.)
I asked Betsy what she was doing the rest of the summer. Betsy answered, “I have a week long swimming camp. Then before school starts, I have two weeks of freeness.” Glee broke out on her freckled face.
The over scheduling of kids is a topic for another day. This six year old was looking forward to sublime “freeness.” I picture her lying on the grass staring at clouds. I see her conducting an orchestra made up of stuffed animals. I imagine her jumping on the trampoline, sliding down the slide and inspecting the progress of her tomato plant.
How many of us crave “freeness?” Our minds, schedules and e-mail in-boxes are fully loaded. In this 24/7 on demand day, we need some quick and simple ways to get some freeness. Here are a few:
1. Carve out short freeness times and keep them sacred. Get up 30
minutes earlier. Sip your coffee and do the crossword puzzle or read the news. Read ten pages daily of a book you aren’t required to read.
2. Designate a freeness place, area or object. I have a porch swing
where I go for a few minutes daily to read, listen to tunes or just stare.
3. Turn off technology for an hour a day. Don’t check your e-mail,
phone, or smoke signals. Most of the time, you don’t need to respond immediately. Sorry, but you’re not that important.
4. Get close to nature. There is something about putting bare toes in
the grass or your fingers in dirt or scrutinizing the design of a daisy that feels chock full of freeness.
5. Take a tune break. Listen to just one favorite song.
6. Savor your food. A Colorado peach purchased yesterday dripped down
my arm as I stopped to marvel in its perfection. Juicy peaches and multi-tasking are mutually exclusive. That’s a good thing.
7. Take a Sabbath. You may not have time for a sundown-to-sundown
Sabbath, but you can declare a 10-minute Sabbath. Ritualize your Sabbath with candle lighting, a change of venue, or a cup of herb tea.
8. Maintain eye contact. When someone is talking to you in person,
put your reading, Blackberry or other detractors down and get eyeball to eyeball. Then, just listen. Get into the moment with the speaker’s conversation. Withhold judgment. Don’t plan your response. Just be there.
9. Practice the art of enjoying simple pleasures. It’s cheaper,
quicker and easier to go to the park than it is to go to the Bahamas.
Peanut butter and jelly on really hearty bread is not quite free, but it induces a sense of freeness.
“Freeness” is a word that isn’t found in all dictionaries. It is a
word found in the hearts and minds of all of us who desire a break
between the activities that make up the din of our lives. You might
have to practice freeness until you get the hang of it. No time to
practice? Funny, we have time to practice procrastination, worry,
guilt and over-scheduling. Freeness isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
I’m on my way to the porch swing now. You can contact me in fifteen
Karen Susman – Business and Professional Development
3352 S. Magnolia Street
Denver, CO 80224