Reflections of Life, Part 5
by Karen S. Wiesner
In looking back over the course of my life as an author who's looking forward to becoming an artist in retirement, I've learned to slow down and reflect on the past, savor the present, and look forward to the future. Interspersed through these ruminations, I'll include some of my own most apropos sketches.
In Part 4, I covered strategies I implemented to restructure my life to bring better balance. As of this writing (April 20, 2023), I can see the end of the road before me. At my current rate of output, it's conceivable that I can finish the last three books in my last two series within the next year. In learning each day to reflect on where I'm going and what it took to get me there, I can also see just how far I've come in learning and relearning how I approach life, how I complete tasks, and accomplish the things I want to do in my time remaining. Instead of starting each morning (after the obligatory shower and coffee that have always been my initial protocol) by jumping headfirst into a mile-long list of the constant and relentless daily checklist of projects awaiting me, I now have--even by ordinary human standards--a manageable amount of tasks to complete each day.
When I avoid crash and burn habits by starting each day with study, prayer, and reflection, I actually sleep better most nights as a result. This feat isn't something I could have handled in the past, when I carted around a semi-trailer sized head full of tasks that needed nose to the grindstone diligence in order to check off each day. The thought of leisurely getting to work after beginning a day with contemplative endeavors would have been pure torture for me back when I believed I needed to fill the limited number of hours I was given each day with ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
I won't lie to
you. I have backslidden. I struggle whenever I see my daily "To Do"
lists grow. Amidst embarrassment, amusement, frustration, bewilderment, and
even shock that I didn't see it as it was happening, I'm directed and
redirected and prodded gently back to the path where I can slow down, start
each day off right with morning reflection that sets the tone for the day I
have, and decides whether or not I sleep well.
The part that astonishes me almost more than any other about all this is that I've discovered I actually accomplish more these laidback days than when I'm scrambling to check things off my list, causing myself so much stress I lay awake most of the night with a brain that just won't shut off. Rinse and repeat in an endless, vicious, boneheaded cycle in which I'm returned by factory reset to where I started.
|Karen Wiesner Sketch: Reading in Bed
Research has shown that there’s scientific benefit involved in practicing appreciation on a day by day basis. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, Rutgers University Psychology Professor Nancy Fagley Research has shown that there’s even scientific benefit involved in practicing appreciation on a day by day basis. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, Rutgers University Psychology Professor Nancy Fagley suggests that people focus on and value what they have, spend time outdoors, and. "...reflect on the positive aspects of our lives, value our friends and family, relish and savor the good times...”
I've also discovered that the faster my pace in life, the busier I am, the less I find myself enjoying any part of my life. Think about that word "enjoy". It implies taking pleasure in something, experiencing appreciation and satisfaction in things, and benefitting from the act of savoring and relishing as opposed to viewing the blur of my life as it goes speeding by, leaving me coughing or even run down in its passing dust. There are also strong connotations of reverence and veneration in the word "enjoy". Daily reflection has taught me that humans can only honor and respect the countless blessings that make up our lives by allowing the whole of our beings--physical, mental, and spiritual--to slow down to enjoy them.
is an award-winning, multi-genre author of over 150 titles and 16 series.
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