How to Find More Time for Yourself and Your Dreams

by Stacey Curnow on · 35 comments

While we mark the tran­si­tions of early life with rituals—everything from bap­tisms, com­mu­nions, and bar and bat mitz­vahs to graduations—we usu­ally ignore the more sub­tle, yet pro­found, “new begin­nings” avail­able to us in midlife.

Eliz­a­beth Lesser talks about it in her book Bro­ken Open as The Phoenix Process.  The process refers to a mytho­log­i­cal bird that goes into the fire to have the expe­ri­ence of burn­ing away the old that no longer serves. 

All of the parts that serve you are still intact, but all of the old not-serving behav­iors are burned away and then this new light comes into the world.  It can be painful, burn­ing off the old stuff, or let­ting go of what no longer serves, but now you get to emerge with this new light.  

My Phoenix Process began about two years ago, when I attended my first ever weekend-long all-women’s retreat in honor of my 40th birth­day. It seemed like the per­fect way to mark an incred­i­bly sig­nif­i­cant and excit­ing mile­stone with a time of deep con­tem­pla­tion, intention-setting and celebration.

Of course, I went into the week­end with quite a bit of trep­i­da­tion. I had never attended any­thing like a women’s retreat and I was filled with unhelp­ful thoughts that I was wast­ing pre­cious time and money.

As wary as I was, I soon dis­cov­ered that an amaz­ing alchemy occurs when a group comes together with a sim­i­lar pur­pose. Crit­i­cal self-doubts and judg­ments seem to evap­o­rate beneath the light that emanates from women who under­stand your strug­gles because they have them, too.

me.” If I ever get two hours to myself it usu­ally means that I’m rush­ing some­where right after—to make din­ner, take my son to the park, fin­ish a project or work with a client. So to have two hours to myself, fol­lowed by two more hours, for two days was noth­ing short of revelatory.

I came away from the retreat with a strong sense of how I was going to cre­ate more mean­ing­ful and joy­ful prac­tices for embrac­ing my wild, and pre­cious life. I learned that extract­ing myself from the noose of unwor­thi­ness and lack into the expan­sive­ness of hope and joy requires daily effort. I learned that the very best thing I can do to cre­ate that expan­sive­ness is prac­tice con­sis­tent extreme self-care and love.

Okay, so maybe you don’t think you have even an hour right now to devote to self-care. And maybe you don’t see a mile­stone on the hori­zon that would prompt you to give your­self that time. You’re not alone—and it’s cru­cial that you acknowl­edge that.

I think a lot of us are unhappy because we sim­ply won’t let our­selves believe that we are all, as Eliz­a­beth Lesser likes to say, bozos on the bus. In fact, at some point in our lives we all come to believe that it’s an “open secret” that every­one else has it together while we are hope­lessly lost and squan­der­ing our talents.

But the pur­pose of life isn’t to be per­fect. It’s really for us to be here for each other. And whether I think I have the time or not, I’ve found that I’m much more avail­able to oth­ers in a lov­ing and authen­tic way when I am being lov­ing to myself.

Don’t believe me? Try this: the next time you’re feel­ing lost and out of sorts, take fif­teen min­utes, get out a sheet of paper, and list your top 3 prob­lems. (If you have more than 3 con­cerns vying for spots on that list, add 5 min­utes to go lie down for a bit with a cool cloth over your fore­head. See if that helps.)

Then ask your­self which of those prob­lems you can do some­thing about. Cre­ate a list of the things you can do. This list will help you see that you can move toward a res­o­lu­tion, even if you doubt that you’ll get there. And you know what else? I’ve found that when I act on even one thing that I can do, more guide­posts show up immediately—guideposts that I would never have seen had I not taken a tiny step forward.

What’s more, the sense that you have started your way out of overwhelm—that relief, that freedom—will open a space for you to be more lov­ing, giv­ing, and recep­tive to the oth­ers in your life.

Lao Tzu wrote, “The great way is easy, yet peo­ple pre­fer the side paths.”  Why peo­ple pre­fer the side paths is the sub­ject of a future essay, but for now your mis­sion is clear:

Take deci­sive action in the direc­tion of your dreams and you will find your spirit and every­thing else you’ve ever wanted along the way—and you will find your­self bet­ter able to help the oth­ers in your life find what they’re after.

And hon­estly, there’s no bet­ter way to mark a new begin­ning in your life. You may even cre­ate one you didn’t see coming.

The Mid­wife for Your Life Fuel Your Life from Spirit Retreat is designed to give you the time, space, and sup­port you need to define and achieve your dreams. If you want to find out more and get the last spot avail­able, click here I’ve cre­ated a spe­cial offer for the very spe­cial Jun­gle of Life readers…just enter LANCE and 50% will be taken off your reg­is­tra­tion fee!


by Stacey Curnow

Stacey is a pur­pose and suc­cess coach who helps you give birth to your BIG dreams. To find your pur­pose and pas­sion, check out her FREE eBook, The Pur­pose and Pas­sion Guide­book.
Stacey Curnow
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