Take time off from guilt
Sitting at lunch during a workshop, a woman started talking to me about how she was simply unable to enjoy the workshop and is finding it hard in general to grow and develop herself as a person. My first question to her was “what are the ages of your children?” She said that she had four children between the ages of eighteen months and nine years old. My response to her was that at her stage of life survival from day to day is what she needs to be focussing on not growth and development. She found that to be a novel response and told me about how she was trying to be a good wife and mother, rise the ladder in highly competitive corporate America and grow as a person. She felt really foolish telling me all of this because one of her numerous roles was coaching! Its a simple fact of life and that is that something’s got to give-you cannot be it all of have it all. At that point it was the workshop opportunity that was getting lost. My lunch companion then asked me how she could possible enjoy the self-indulgence of being at a workshop when she had work to complete and children at home. This is the human condition as it pertains to possible the majority of western woman in the working world. At home with the children you feel cut off from the world, frustrated bored and unaccomplished; at work you feel that you should be at home performing what on some level you know to be the most important job of your life which is raising happy secure children.
The current experience was a demonstration of how in the end everything suffers because wherever you are you cannot fully invest in what you are doing and give your full self to the task because you are busy telling yourself that you should be somewhere else and that where you are does not fully count. Imagine I said to her, if you engaged with this workshop as a precious gift that you were giving yourself, because you believed that you were worth the investment. You forgot about everything else, just used the time to reflect on who you are, what you want in life, maybe even bunking a session to go for a lovely walk in the sun. What is after three days of treating yourself to such a rich and fulfilling experience would you be taking home and back to work with you. When you nurture yourself, your giving is from your dividends, when you give while starving and depriving yourself, you give of your emotional capital and in the end everyone loses.