How can we do what we really want when there's so much to do? Do we "have to do" what we're told? Who's making the rules? How are we choosing to live our lives?
Are you satisfied with life? Do you feel alive? Do you feel free?
Do you ever take a time out? I admit it -- I do -- but I had to learn the hard way. I got sent into time out but resisted. I wasn't ready. But now, not only do I take regular time outs, I've recently put two of my boys into time out. My thirteen year old son, Matthew, and my twenty-one year old son, Tommy, are currently in time out . . . yes, they are unschooling -- they're taking valuable time away from the rigid school structure and all of its rhetoric -- they're taking time out to breathe, to re-orient, to reset . . . Time out is creating a greater appreciation for living -- being unstressed and unstructured -- is a gift of pause so that they can come out ready to greet the world, refreshed and renewed, curious, and eager for getting on with life excitedly, passionately, and purposefully.
Unconventional? Yes. Scary? Certainly. Worth it? Absolutely!
As parents we buy into the label of being "a parent;" we play our role as the authority, the disciplinarian, the rule-maker, the boss. We forget that our kids are naturally intuitive, wildly imaginative, and instinctively fair and just -- they possess the virtues that so many of us have lost along the way. Our kids are able to teach us -- if we could just allow and trust them -- if we could relax a bit and simply meet them right where they are.
Life has sidelined me, it's put me into time out over and over again, but I kept coming out prematurely -- and I often missed the lesson. But when I was ready, it worked -- because I was ready to work. It's taken years of disciplined determination, daily hard work, and tiger-like persistence, but I wanted more -- I needed to break free, to live outside the box, and to re-discover who I am.
Awakening to the truth of who we are means risking feeling differently from those you love; it heightens the fear of judgement, ridicule and criticism for choices you make that are threatening to those choosing to live according to mainstream rules and regulations; and it creates a period of greater uncertainty, chaos, and doubt [a dark night] when you're faced with stripping the self of accumulated mistaken beliefs -- faced with undoing years of mindless doing.
Thankfully I continue to persist and never caved in completely to all of the doubters. My faith continues to be tirelessly tested and God's grace enables me to walk fully with complete trust that living rightly is all I need to do.
My work has taught me that as long as I live according to His plan, the rest is easy. Silencing the outside world is necessary if I want to re-acquaint with my inner well, to access my jewels of inner wisdom. Determined to continue diving inwardly unlocks the code for humanity, reveals an innate model for right living -- for right behavior-- -- and it all rests right within me -- it rests within each of us. Within lies my guide, my compass, my peace. Learning to listen brings divine direction and comfort. It's by listening that I have gained personal experience to offer example for my children. It's through diligent personal work that I can speak through action -- not through forceful directives - not through empty words. Life has taken on such new meaning as I continue to allow God to take the wheel .
So, who am I to preach to my children? Who am I to tell them what to do? Each of us is quite capable of finding his own way, no one knows the way better than each individual self. It's our natural desire to want self mastery-- we possess the know-how, we simply lack the self trust. Following the rules, doing what we're told, and silencing the Self is how we've been conditioned, sucking self leadership right out of many of us. Human beings want to feel good; we naturally want to help others, and we are designed to overcome, to grow, and to evolve. But there are obstacles -- hurdles -- tests along the way.
Unfortunately, as parents, we limit and shunt this inborn capacity to thrive and survive by imposing our wants upon our children. We may believe that our intentions are in their best interest. We don't want to realize that the push we impose upon our children comes from fear, not love. We operate to protect -- fear inhibits trust.
While we may have lived too afraid to fully live out our dreams, we're determined not to let our kids make the same mistake. So, we insist that our kids follow our orders; we tell them to do what we say because it's what's best for them, but we don't know why. We have left out a very important step -- we've forgotten to check in with our children, to ask them what they truly want. And we do so because we're out of touch with who we are -- we just keep pushing. We don't stop to ask ourselves why. Instead, we put our trust into the system and convince ourselves that it will work out -- we silence our gut and instead, follow external rules. Essentially, we tell our children to ignore their feelings. Emotions don't matter. We perpetuate mistrust and a lack mentality through example -- we demonstrate to our children that they must ignore their inner wisdom, that they must hide their emotions so not to appear weak; they must follow blindly because we don't believe in them.
The truth is -- we don't believe in our Self. We lack faith. We lack connection. We lack alignment with our higher Self and consequently, we lack freedom. We're so locked up in fear. If we could just free ourselves, we could free our children.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Jesus sets us free to decide how to live in order to make a difference for His Kingdom. He does not set us free to selfishly do whatever we want. Real freedom is freedom from the hold that sin has on our lives. We do what's right because we want to please God.
Sadly, God is absent from so many lives. We can't freely express deference or mention His name for fear of being ridiculed or shunned. We push on in achieving material success and fame, working tirelessly in order to gain sensory riches from a world that continually tempts us. We carry on despite our true desires. We huff and puff to get through the drudgery of the days in anticipation of numbing ourselves the first chance we get. We go all or nothing. We live disjointed, compartmentalized lives. We lie to ourselves. We chant, "no pain, no gain" to cover up for the body's incessant signals screaming out to us, asking us to please STOP all of the madness. Our body cries out, begging us to just slow down -- to simply listen. We have forgotten how to pause. We're too afraid to become curious. We are fearful of fear . . . we're too scared to wonder WHY? Asking questions opens up a can of worms; there's too much at stake -- too much to lose. The days come and go, the mind continues on . . . so looped in chaos -- negative thoughts so filled with fear, worry, and angst . . . with no time out for the thought of pleasing God.
Why? Why are we racing through life -- living selfishly, living oblivious to our needs, to the needs of one another? Why do we persist . . . competing, debating, arguing? Why do we feel like victims, continually blaming and accusing? Born freely . . . so able to choose, so capable of playful engagement and joyful living, so full of love, what's keeping us so stuck? Why are so many of us feeling helpless? Where are we choosing to seek help?
Freedom starts with looking within -- to gain inner vision. Vision comes by closing the physical eyes, blocking out all the distracting stimuli, and tuning in for perceiving what's going on behind the scenes. Vision needs patience, self nurturance and lots of space. Space offers us distance -- separation from the busy mind -- for noticing its chatter and for allowing the body to step in to offer assistance.
The physical body carries so much residue. It suffers from years of abusive thinking, most of it unconsciously occurring. Clarity can come about when the body and mind start noticing one another, start working together in a respectful relationship -- the mind and body need to get on the same page.
Just feeling our two feet on the ground can be a first step in noticing our body, acknowledging that we are alive -- breathing -- capable of regaining control -- this is a first step in gaining awareness.
Awareness means stepping back, making space, taking time out to observe the self -- to watch your self -- to pay attention to your thoughts, to notice your behavior, to get curious about how your body is feeling -- what is your body trying to say?
Awareness is revolt. It's when life can no longer lead you aimlessly. It's when you have chosen to weed daily in order to stay ahead of the build up. It's when you realize that there may not be time for daily weeding, but you're able to say, "it's okay -- tomorrow is another day" because now there's space to observe -- to notice. It's when you're able to hold time -- to decide when it feels right for you to act -- time for when YOU are ready. It's when you can begin enjoying doing little things, and doing those things with a sense of appreciation, with gratitude, with a love for creating and expressing. It's when you feel creative -- it's when there's joy. It's when you are sewing, ironing, cooking, homemaking, bill paying, organizing, disciplining, painting, gardening -- when you become fully engaged, present, mindfully aware -- it's when you are performing with artful expression rather than perfunctory drudgery --
Living authenticity is choosing to live from the heart - with love, not fear.
Finally, the clock no longer ticks loudly in your ear. Things have quieted down quite a bit so you can take in the beauty in the backdrop of creation. You can hear the birds chirping, hear the wind whistling, notice the butterflies fluttering and feel the sun's warm rays shining brightly upon you. You can begin letting go, feeling safe enough to simply let the day unfold and to take shape. You loosen your grip, give up control, surrender, and allow life to present itself. You're feeling more hopeful, curious and eager for new opportunities. There's more room for new insights -- for learning about yourself -- for discovering more about life. There's no need for a "to-do" list. You've found space for life to breathe through you. You're feeling lighter; you're illuminating, feeling connected to everything and attracting more beauty and love into your life.
This is living in time out -- this is shifting into a positive frame of mind -- re-framing to fill life with love and gratitude -- allowing for detours and roadblocks. When you're no longer reactive, negativity is defused.
Time out makes behavior more mindful, more meaningful. Time out is truly instructional and it works when you're ready to work -- to move forward -- to do so with self reflection and introspection. Time out forces us to stop blaming and gives us a chance to get in touch with our inner landscape -- to learn how to self-regulate, to re-organize and to gain greater control of our lives. Time out helps us to face the facts, to challenge ourselves -- to drop our mistaken beliefs - so that we can lead productive lives that feel more fulfilling -- Time out offers safe space for finding the substance that brings meaning to our entire lives.
TRUST is vital for anyone to be able to receive help and to recover. When a person learns how to trust his body by tuning in, he can begin to feel safe, he can start to gain a sense of agency. With greater trust in the self, we can trust others. Just as infants and caregivers are in sync on an emotional level, they're also in sync physically; when the body is calm, so are the emotions.
Managing arousal is a key skill in life and parents must do it for babies --before babies can do it for themselves. BUT as children and as adults grow, we must continue to learn how to manage arousal and this skill should be taught at home and at school. Teaching our children to feel secure and safe is key to healthy coping throughout life. When we feel secure, we have an internal locus of control and we learn what makes us feel good, thus we have agency over our actions and can change how we feel so we can respond to others compassionately rather than reactively. We can become more flexible. We can mobilize our inner resources and confidently navigate our own course in life.
When we have an internal sense of security, we can distinguish between safety and danger but when we feel chronically numbed out, not only can we not adequately distinguish between safety and danger, we might seek dangerous situations to make us feel alive.
Let's face it -- we all want to live in a world that is safe, manageable, and predictable but this is not always the case. In order to overcome stress or trauma, we have to overcome our natural reluctance to confront reality and must cultivate the courage to listen to ourselves so that we may begin to listen to each other.
Why Should We Take A Time Out?
1. Reestablish ownership of your body and your mind.
2. Be free to feel - to know what you know and to be free to feel without becoming
overwhelmed, enraged, ashamed or collapsed.
3. Find a way to become calm and focused.
4. Learn to maintain calm in lieu of triggers.
5. Have a way to become fully alive in the moment, to be present and to be able to
engage with others.
6. Fact the facts. You no longer have to keep secrets from yourself.
We're in time out, won't you consider joining us!