Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Creating Calm After a Storm of Work

Rainbow

I just completed an engaging work project, a memoir manuscript evaluation.

What do you do when you finish a big project?  Do you shoot directly into another?

This is what I did:

I soaked in the lava-lined warm pond surrounded by the jungle, listening to the surf crash a few feet away.

I joined friends for a birthday celebration under towering pines at the edge of a cliff tucked against the vast blue ocean-sky.  Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and mint, fleshy lychee fruit and plump sweet strawberries, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and champagne.  Rainbows and raindrops.  Wild conversation, wandering pups, and a kitty named Captain.

In the evening, I rested till a flow of words spontaneously spilled on the page just before bedtime.  Then, sleep gently covered me with a blanket of peace all the way till 8 am.

Over the next few days, I will intentionally keep a calm pace to restore and rejuvenate myself.  Time will be set aside to review and recalibrate and catch up on my personal loose ends.  I will be a good citizen and get my Vehicle Safety Inspection, finally call the dentist, and decide on a new pillow.

Different routes can lead to work-life balance:

  • Clear priorities;
  • Self-respect;
  • Knowing your own limits physically, mentally, and emotionally;
  • Placing value on your time;
  • Recognizing the limits of time;
  • Punctuating your day with relaxation and space;
  • Allowing for adequate downtime as you plan your week;
  • And, making sure to create calm after a storm of work.

My friend Maia from the Liberated Life Project reminded me that it’s not always easy to slow down after all the momentum spent on a project. She compares it to stopping a train going full speed ahead!  Maia finds that physical activity, like a big walk or hike, helps her to switch gears and slow down.

What do you do when you finish a period of full-on work?

Thank you for reading and sharing!  If you enjoyed this article please subscribe for free updates by email.  With love,  Sandra

Photos:  Robert Kent

 

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17 Comments

  1. For me the most useful routine following a period of being too busy is to imagine myself at the end of my life looking back. Helps me know if I’m on track. I then speend some alone time riding a bicycle, hiking, or just sitting outdoors and reflect.

    I like your idea of “Recognizing the limits of time”.

    Thanks,

    Dan Garner
    ZenPresence.com

    • That’s an excellent suggestion, Dan. In fact, if I imagined myself at the end of life looking back more often, it would probably curtail me from engaging in some of the activities that keep me too busy!

      From another perspective, we could also consider that “time does not exist”. That could bring another lens to the experience! Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Yes, this is a useful reminder that, when I complete a big project, the issue is not whether completing the project was significant to anyone else, but the amount of time and energy it consumed for me, and that it’s important to take self-respecting actions at that point like cleaning up my place and just generally messing around.

    • Chris,

      This is an important point about how our energy has been consumed. And, I find in some projects, more energy is consumed than necessary because I fret or do more than is necessary. So this is an interesting angle from other perspectives as well. Thanks for that!

  3. This is timely, as I’m coming near to the end of a big editing project. I often wander around at loose ends after completing something, so much better to be intentional about what activities I choose. Oh, and I have a cat named Captain (and his brother, Lieutenant) as well!

    • Charlotte,

      I think that “wandering around at loose ends” is your being providing automatic corrective measures and balancing! So maybe not all that bad though I agree it’s good to be intentional.

  4. Since my personal work projects are lately all about writing, which is work done from my inside-out, I do much as you did after. I go outside, and let what’s outside-in. That photo said a lot too. It’s a story all by itself. Friends, food, animals and affection, just as you described.

    • Hi Mike,

      I like the way you think about writing as from the “inside-out” and allowing the “outside in”! It reminds me of where to stay anchored. Many thanks!

  5. jean sampson

    When I have just finished the paintings for a big show, I am at loose ends and I, just like Charlotte, wander around trying to figure out what to do next. The only problem with that is that I don’t find it at all restful or restorative—-it CAN be guilt-provoking because I am not doing “what I am supposed to be doing”, which is painting another piece. I always clean the studio at the end of a series of classes and that feels “right” because it is useful work, I guess. What I like to do for decompression is to be at home with no agenda, workout, walk, write a poem and read, play with the kitty. go out to eat with hubby. The truth is that I am partially an introvert and I have a studio that is open to the public because I am in a city- owned art center which focuses on interaction with the community. When I can, I love to hide out at home.
    It looks like I need to take some lessons in relaxation after a project with you. That picture is a little peek into Paradise!

    • Hi Jean,

      It seems like you have a good intuitive sense to be at home without an agenda. The “without an agenda” part is hard for me, but I am attempting to learn this myself. It’s all a grand experiment, isn’t it. I’m more of an introvert myself so it’s breaking my pattern to socialize but I enjoy this in small groups. I’m lucky to live in paradise though keep in mind it’s the rainy side of heaven!

  6. Like Jean, I like to clean my work space. Making sure I take time to visit with friends and slow down is important to me, too. This post made me realize that I need to give myself a bit more space after I complete work projects, too, not just after completing my personal projects.

    • Beverly,

      This is a good reminder for me to allow time to clear the physical space as well, which I’m less likely to do, but always feels so good. Thanks for that reminder!

  7. I know the memoir manuscript evaluation of which you speak! 🙂 You did do a lot of work, thank you very much! Now, it is time for me to get busy for a long spell. I will refer to this wise advice for finding balance as I work.

    • Hi Debbie,

      It was a pleasure! Still, there’s a momentous feeling after completing a project for me and a good time to switch gears for awhile. Yes, now you will be a bit busy. I’m working on the idea of “slow and steady wins the race” this month for myself!

  8. I love the feel of this message…exudes spaciousness…celebration and refreshment in all realms.

    I love your photos as well as the words..what a gorgeous place to live and be!

    The title says so much–we *create* the calm, it doesn’t “happen” to us.

    I love to balance “the work” of each day with a walk at ocean’s edge. I love to balance a work project with silence…since I use words all day, to be silent is to allow World to speak to me, space to dream, and time to refresh my senses.

    • Hi Joy,

      I appreciate how you captured the feeling of this message! I’m so happy I’m learning to refresh instead of never stop.

      I love the idea of balance a “word” work project with silence. What a helpful idea! As you know, I find a walk near the ocean a great refreshment too.

  9. Hi Sandra,
    I only read your post tonight and I couldn’t help smiling while looking at your two wonderful photos, the Rainbow and the group of friends with you.
    There was something that I particularly liked to read here… “•Knowing your own limits physically, mentally, and emotionally;”.
    At the moment I relate very well with the emotionally one and reading this just made me even more aware of it.

    I think it’s very important to have breaks, to go away and come back refreshed. To physically stop and come back with a new energy. But sometimes we don’t even have to go anywhere for that matter, but do the “mental stopping” at the right time.

    Warm wishes,
    Tree Spirit

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