I recently attended a great conference, and returned with all these great ideas, full of motivated, inspired energy. A few weeks later, I struggled to get that feeling back. I had trouble remembering the lessons and how they were applied.
Chances are you’ve felt this way too!
Take conferences for instance: like all learning opportunities, you harness a wealth of resources from presenters. The real skill of attending these events is to assimilate the knowledge by applying it when you return to your daily routine. The problem is, we are back in our daily routine! Back to the same processes, habits, external pressures: how do we make room for something new?
Many of us feel the crushing pressures of life, so much so I’ve heard many people say “I have no time to breathe”.
Is this you?
Consider opening space in your calendar before you attend the learning event. Call it what you will, but when I was at my desk job I set time aside on Friday and called it my R&D time (research and development). Large corporations invest in this time, which made so much sense to me. I likened it to Steven Covey’s “Sharpening the Saw”.
Once you establish this routine, any new resources you accumulate may be explored in your R&D time. You decide which learnings would be most beneficial and how to integrate them into your life. In my transformational coaching business, I do the same. I have R&D “spirit” time set aside to do exactly the same thing.
I recently read a newsletter from Vasundhra Gupta of https://myspiritualshenanigans.blog/ Vasundhra addresses the challenge of incorporating spiritual practice into an everyday routine. She refers to it as “slowing down and chewing your food”. She points out we don’t always need more knowledge, we need transformation, and transformation takes time. We need to slow down in order to integrate spiritual teachings, practices and healing. This is very much spiritual R&D time.
Open your calendar and intentionally set one hour this week as your spiritual R&D time.
Take the time to investigate, explore and assimilate.
Start today by putting your time into knowledge transfer and absorption.
This time will pay spiritual dividends far into the future.
Eckhart Tolle wrote about the quality of our consciousness being dependent on our degree of presence in his book The Power of Now. What you do when you intentionally set time aside to embody your learning, is create time for the Now. You create space for presence, time for light. If you are bereft of ideas for your spiritual R&D time, pick up Tolle’s book, or any one of the authors in my reference section. Not interested in reading? No problem! Watch a short video or movie and give yourself time to contemplate it’s meaning. Check out those references here.
You may want to take 20 minutes of each R&D session just for awareness. For meditation or breathing. You may prefer going for a walk and intentionally allowing your mind and body to release you from the treadmill which demands attention from you every waking minute. No matter how you spend the R&D time, the keys to making it worthwhile are:
- Invest time, starting once a week for 1 hour.
- Protect this “actionless” time by creating an environment where you are without interruptions.
- Intentionally focus on a goal you have set. That may be learning to meditate for 10 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour. It may be reading about different spiritual practices. It may be attending a seminar on personally transformative experiences. It may be writing your personal mission statement.
- Assimilate or integrate by taking the time to log, journal or somehow record what you have learned. Remember to date it. These notes will help you to figure out which activities are of the greatest value to your developing spiritual practice.
- Defend your spiritual R&D like a corporate tech giant defends its promising future tech.
- Celebrate your R&D by sharing with the most brilliant, brightest visionaries in your life who will believe in you, encourage you, and empower you.
- Express gratitude to self and others, for the time you have invested in your spiritual practice, and for those who support and encourage your journey.
In Taoism, “Wu Wei” means “actionless activity”; a space for wisdom and light to unfold in your life.
Whatever fills your spiritual resevoir, provides you with a sense of control in your busy whirlwind schedule, and allows you to breathe, is of the greatest value to you. Gauge your output to determine what benefits you are receiving from your “actionless” activity so that you can hone in on the greatest benefit to you for future R&D sessions.
In other words, which “actionless” activities give you energy?
Which ones release tension in your body?
Which ones make you feel light and refreshed?
Which ones emotionally move you?
In Mitten Strings for God, Katrina Kenison writes: “Learn to leave a little space around the edge of your days, build margins in to keep the days from being inscribed too deeply”. She suggests we need to savor more, and concentrate more on the margins and less on the to do list. If you say “I don’t have time”what you are really saying is “I really don’t value myself that much”, and you would be correct. You are the only person who defines your value. I guarantee if you set aside your RD time, your value will rise in the eyes of yourself and others.
Invest in your R&D today by planning the time in your schedule starting this week.
Give the gift of time to yourself today.
You are worth it.
Take the time to investigate, explore and assimilate. Knowledge transfer and absorption are the catalysts for spiritual growth, which will offer endless gifts far into the future.
To your future,
The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle, 1997. *Also available in audiobook.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey, 1989. *Also available in audiobook.
Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry, Katrina Kenison, 2002.