How much space do you have in your life? How much of it is filled with obligations you’ve accepted for others? What percentage do you give to yourself for pursuits that are just for you? Could you stand to make a little more space in your life just for you? Could less commitments mean more quality time to focus on your Vision for your life?
I asked myself these questions recently and discovered that my life was almost entirely filled with obligations, guilt and hardly any room to pursue my own passions, or time to rejuvenate. One of my core values is to be of service to people - I love being helpful, creating value, offering support and transformation as a coach. Because of this, I felt obligated to serve my clients whenever they needed, whether it cut in to personal commitments or not . I would feel guilty if I wasn’t able to be available for them. It became that I was always putting everyone else first, and I was way at the bottom of the list —or sometimes I never made it on to the list at all.
When I noticed how busyness had taken over, I devised what I call “the Mason Jar Exercise”. I needed to create space and reconnect with Vision and Purpose and, have time to contemplate what’s next so that I can choose actions that support my next big chapter.
Many of the folks I coach have similar challenges. They feel overwhelmed, have no time for themselves and feel so busy in their lives they’ve lost their way, lost their deep connection to their vision and purpose.Do you find that any of what I’m talking about applies to you?? Can you check in with how your life is resonating with you, how much you feel in tune with your values in all of your pursuits, supporting roles and actions?
If you find, like so many of us, you could use more space and time in your life, try out the Mason Jar exercise for yourself. Here’s how:
The Mason Jar Exercise for Spaciousness, Choice and Resonance
1. Take a Mason Jar and fill it with gravel (or any other small rocks) in proportion to how full you feel your life is out of integrity with your values. It’s a great way to visualize the things taking up space in your life, I was at about 85%.
2. Fill the remaining space with some of your favourite things e.g. momentoes, shells, etc.
3. As you stare at this now full, or even over full jar, contemplate what you want for your life and write out your ‘stake’—the mantra or statement that propels you forward in integrity. For me it was “with laughter and steadfast focus I open the door to my new way”.
4. Each day choose a stone to ‘throw back into nature’. In my case, I would declare my stake, open my front door and toss it into our forest. Then you must challenge yourself in the day to let go of or get rid of an obligation or choice you’ve made that’s out of line with your values until the jar is empty save for your few favourite things. For example, ‘Today I am ridding myself of the obligation to ___ and this is making room for me to embrace ___". Now you can begin a study of the space, the singular beauty and significance of the items that remain. Notice what you want more of and where the draw is to fill it back up again.
This was a powerful and transformative exercise for me. It took me about a month to complete. I noticed how full my life was in activity and distraction and that I felt out of integrity with my values and that I wasn’t making resonant choices. The result was a beautiful appreciation for my life and a deep acknowledgement of how I want to live. Less has become more. Stillness has expanded my perspectives. Now I feel like I can take on my next mountain.
What are you noticing?