Friday, August 30, 2013

Questions to help you pay attention

Do you hear a lot these days about the importance of staying awake and aware—of paying more attention to life and what's happening in and around you? Me, too. In fact, it's one of the topics I address often on this blog page.

From time to time I engage in a practice that's known in spirituality circles as the examen. It's a method of checking in at the end of each day to see what you noticed during that day, the idea being that once you get used to the idea of recalling what you saw and experienced on any given day, you'll pay more attention as you go through the day.

Questions can vary from specifically religious, such as "Where did I see God today?" to the broader ones such as "What gave me life today?" or even "In what ways did I bring life to others today?"

In a chapter of Rachel Naomi Remen's book My Grandfather's Blessings, she gives three questions I'd not heard before and which I also like a lot: What surprised me today? What moved me or touched me today? What inspired me today?

Because there's so much happening all the time and we are completely over-stimulated, it's so easy to just zone out and sleepwalk through life. But what a waste that is. Sometimes we need a time-out from all the over-stimulation. Just be sure it isn't permanent!

I invite you to try any of these questions or come up with your own. See if you don't notice things you hadn't before. Does it help you pay more attention to what's happening in and around you? Perhaps it helps you to value and appreciate the beauty all around, too. Tell us in the Comment box below what you're noticing.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Be who you are

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." This quote by Steve Jobs really says it all.

Have you ever found yourself admiring or envying someone else's life—and then trying to emulate it? While there's nothing wrong with being inspired by others, the only life you can really live is your own. What works for someone else may be completely wrong for you. Best to become well acquainted with yourself, your needs, your deep passions and desires and follow those through to where you need to be.

For so long, I wished to be less excitable and more calm in my interactions—more like an older woman I really admire. Eventually I realized that I am a passionate person by nature. I get excited about things and everyone around me pretty much knows what I feel! I am passionate about causes about which I feel deeply. So it dawned on me that I needed to value that part of me and not try to lose it. It's part of what makes me me.

Do you have areas of your life like that? Sometimes, there truly are things we need to tweak or change so that life will go more smoothly. It's important to recognize what really makes us unique and authentic, however, and just go with that.

Authenticity. It's so important. Live the life you have. Be who you were created to be. Be who you are. Can there be anything better than just being the best you that you can be?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Time to take my own advice

I just had cataract surgery on Monday. My aunt tells me I'm much too young to be having it, but I think such things are no respecter of age!

Before my surgery, I found myself much more anxious and nervous than I typically am. It bothered me at first because I'm more accustomed to taking things in stride. And then I remembered all the tips I give clients and that I put into these blogs and recalled that I'm also speaking to myself! I talk often about ways to stay grounded and to flex with things that come our way. And I know you've heard me say more than once: Face (and feel) your fear and do what you need to do anyway.

So I took my own advice and did some deep breathing. I read from some of my favorite inspirational books. I prayed. I reached out to family and friends.

And do you know what? It all helped! Funny about that, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Surprises of love and healing

Family can be ours because of bloodlines. And sometimes family can be chosen, someone we come to love because of deep friendship bonds that grow between us. Those relationships can carry gifts for us that we never imagined.

Last week I borrowed a movie from my library that I hadn't seen when it came out in 2000, but which had been highly recommended by dear friends of mine. I'm so glad I watched it. The movie, Finding Forrester, illustrated the deep connections that can form between two completely unrelated people. In this case, in fact, the two people were the most unlikely pair: a black teen from the Bronx and an aging author-turned-recluse who never left his apartment.

As the story unfolded, I watched the growing friendship between the two—a friendship that ended up bringing healing and new life to both the teen and the aging author. It was sometimes rocky and sometimes tender. But what a beautiful progression.

The movie is a reminder to me to be open to surprises—and to love, friendship and healing in unexpected places. I don't know in what ways a person in my life may bring insights to me that I need to hear or may bring out a side of me that needs development and nurturing. I do know I want to be open to that. I don't want to miss such gifts.

What unexpected gifts have you received from a source you hadn't imagined?

Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm OK right where I am

Not long ago someone asked me to what age I would like to return if I could choose to go back in time. Several women were part of the conversation, and some threw out an age they really loved and to which they longed to return.

I didn't even think 10 seconds before I answered, "I wouldn't change the age I am. I like being just where I am now." I answered straight from the heart, without giving any real thought to the question. I have thought about it since that day, however.

What I realize is that—finally—I'm really comfortable in my own skin. Yes, that skin has some wrinkles now. Even brown spots. A few sags here and there—not so firm and supple as it used to be. But then I used to worry much more about how I appeared to others, what they would think of me, about saying the right thing, and so much more. I worried about my weight, my hair, my clothes. Good grief, the pressure on us as women to be perfect. It was all a bit much. Really.

I still care how I look. But I'm perfectly fine with not looking 50. I'm not! I don't worry much now about doing things right. No more trying to be the perfect mother, grandmother, life coach, journalist or anything else. I know I'm doing the best I can, and that's fine.This is a good place to be. A very good place. It's an authentic place!

How about you? Are you happy where you are? Do you like who you are? Are you comfortable in your own skin? If not, what would it take for you to reach that point? Contact me if you'd like to have a conversation about this. I always offer complimentary strategy sessions.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Forgive—and let go

I recall a point in time many years after my divorce when some issues related to my divorce surfaced. Grief and loss have a way of doing that—circling back years after you thought you'd done your grieving, needing yet more attention.

I realized that what was needed was that I let go a bit more of some hard feelings and dreams I'd had. I had to forgive the younger woman I was at the time of our divorce, and I had to forgive the younger man my former husband was. We did the best we were able to do, given what we knew and who we were then. I needed to let go of some of the expectations that were still hanging around to plague me—and forgive him and myself.

Forgiveness is such an important piece of life. It's part of grief and loss, and it's part of so much of the healing we all crave. Forgiving ourselves is even more difficult than forgiving someone else—and that's not easy. But when we are able to forgive and let go (that's not the same as forgetting!), energy is freed up inside us. We feel lighter and happier. A calm, serene feeling can settle into our souls if we do the work required to forgive others and ourselves.

Do you have some forgiveness work to do? Don't wait. The benefits of forgiveness aren't for the one we think wronged us; they're for us. We're the ones who let go of a huge weight when we forgive.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feel and release those emotions

Did you learn to stuff certain emotions when you grew up? Are you still pushing some emotions down? Perhaps you're no longer aware of doing so—it's so natural that you don't even think about it.

Most of us learn to stuff emotions. Sometimes it's the anger, sometimes the sadness. In some families, it's even the joy and happiness.

It doesn't take a knowledge of psychology to picture what can happen after years of stuffing. Simply picture a volcano building up over time and heading for an eruption. Something happens that triggers the release and whoosh, it all comes out. Even when there is no huge eruption, there can be smaller amounts that seep out.

I've seen that in my own life. If I don't feel my emotions as they occur—and then release them—they can come out sideways and do significant harm to me and to people around me. For example, if I sit on my anger rather than choosing to acknowledge it and select a way of expressing it that does no harm, it will come out in some way or another, usually not a good outcome! Perhaps it will show up as irritation toward a loved one that's completely out of proportion to what they have just said or done. Or perhaps it gets stored up until something triggers it and kaboom! Some poor soul gets the whole load.

I'm human and don't always get it right. But I try more often than not to feel the emotion—and then release it. I feel better when I can do that. And I'm much more loving and open to those around me, too. Feel and release.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I lost my magic wand

I've been thinking a good deal lately about listening to others, really listening. And about my own need to be heard.

When I took my training as a life coach, I was told something I already knew but sometimes forget: People want to be heard. Typically, people do not want (or need) advice. They want a chance to tell their story, to talk about what's happening in their life at the moment and then to select options from among those that they discover as they're talking with you. That said, I've had a few (but very few) people who inquired about coaching and seemed to want someone with a magic wand or magic bullet—someone who could tell them what to do and they'd simply follow the directions. And voila! Life would be perfect. I don't take those people as clients because that isn't how I operate—and anyway, I seem to have misplaced my magic wand! They don't want to do the hard work required to come out on the other side of their life issues.

You're smarter than that, though. You know life doesn't work that way and that, in fact, you have your own wisdom. Sometimes you just need another person to listen deeply to you, ask thoughtful questions, help you delve a bit more deeply, perhaps even suggest alternative ways of viewing whatever is going on in your life and then invite you to goal-setting and action. That's not only what coaching is all about, it's what good friends do for you, too.

Have you ever been tempted to tell a friend what to do when she pours out her heart about a difficult situation? Yes, it's tempting to sort through all those bits of wisdom you've accumulated through the years and find something that fits for her. Resist. Instead, help her access her own wisdom. If she digs down deeply enough, she'll find it's been there all the time. When she finds her own solution (perhaps with your listening skills helping her!), it will be one that will fit for her. She'll feel good, and so will you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Swaying with change

Tomorrow my middle son and daughter-in-law accompany their firstborn, my oldest grandchild, to another state for his first year of college. This is a big deal for our family. We've been talking about how everything will change a lot from now on. Little by little, Spencer's siblings and cousins will peel off for college and lives of their own—just as his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have done before him. And things will never be the same again.

Change. It's one of life's constants, isn't it? That being so, it's important for you and me to remain as flexible as possible. It's equally important to stay awake and aware and to savor each day and what it brings to us.

As Spencer takes off on a whole new adventure, I remember so many special times I've shared with him. It's not all just about memories, though. I'm excited for all the possibilities that lie ahead for him, too. Who knows what life will hold? He is so excited and anxious to get underway with it all, and I'm excited for him. The changes happening for him mean changes for his parents and siblings. They mean changes for all of us who love Spencer. We all need to move with the changes set in motion by his moving to the next chapter of his life.

To be flexible, you and I must stay well grounded. I have an image of a tree with deep roots and with branches that swing and sway in the wind, but which stays solidly in place even while strong winds come. Or of skyscrapers that are designed to move slightly in extremely strong winds but which will not fall over or crumble because of those winds.

What helps you stay grounded? Be sure you have those things in your life that are necessary for your grounding so you, too, can swing and sway with the changes you face. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lifting those spirits

I don't know what it's like where you live these days. But in my area, the days have been just beautiful. It makes me want to go outside, stand in the middle of my yard, and raise my arms to the sky in sheer joy. Maybe I should do just that!

I do stop my work frequently and just listen to the birds with their impromptu choruses during the day. And I look out at the sky with its huge, fluffy clouds. When I can take a break in my work, I go for a walk.

These small moments of savoring what's around me always lift my spirits. They also ground me and connect me more deeply to the earth. And when that happens, I am in a zone—a zone that makes me more creative, more open-hearted and generous with people around me, more relaxed and, if I want to be, more productive.

What feeds you? Are you getting those things for yourself? Remember to nourish and nurture your self. It isn't selfish to engage in self-care, and it's not against the law to experience pleasure and enjoy life. Go ahead, do something sweet for yourself today!

Friday, August 16, 2013

'Skid in sideways'

Have you heard the life motto that made the email forward rounds a year or two ago? It goes something like this: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, 'Woo hoo! What a ride!'"

What images that conjures in my mind. Wow. I love strawberries, but I might even substitute chocolate—which I've also seen in a similar email forward!

In any case, the point is living life to the fullest, isn't it? When I think back on some of the difficult years in a job atmosphere that I didn't find healthy, I realize that I was doing more than a little coasting through life—or worse, even sleepwalking through some of it. What a waste of the hours and days I've been given on this earth.

Now I try to stay awake and aware of what's around me, to savor my moments and, as the saying goes, to "suck all the juice I can from the life I have." There's not a lot of pleasure or contentment to be had from simply going through the motions. If that's where you find yourself today, reflect on what it would take to get to the place where you could scream, "Woo hoo! What a ride!" Take one action today to get there.

And please contact me if you want to talk about creating a bridge from sleepwalking through life to living it fully.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fences: Good for neighbors, not relationships

Fences make good neighbors, we've all been told. Yes, it's true. We do have to have boundaries, not just with neighbors but in our relationships. We create boundaries to protect ourselves and preserve our safety and well-being. For example, I may tell a person or persons in my life that when they act in an intimidating manner to me, I will leave their presence (perhaps even need to leave their life). That's a boundary. The boundary is for me to observe and isn't meant to be manipulative or punitive. I'm just looking out for myself.

Barriers are different, however. When I put up barriers between myself and someone I love, I cut myself off from a true and honest relationship. Then I stop to ask myself: What's that barrier all about? Am I trying to protect myself from being hurt? Is that the best way to accomplish the task? Instead, do I need to set a boundary of some sort? And can I really avoid being hurt in a close relationship anyway? Isn't relationship all about love, trust, openness, forgiveness and grace?

I am better off acknowledging that, yes, sometimes I will get hurt by those I love. Sometimes I, too, will hurt them. However, hurt is survivable!

These days I try to approach life and relationships with as open a heart as possible, knowing I will get hurt from time to time—and also knowing that I will be enriched and will grow through all my encounters and relationships.

That said, it's important to be aware that when relationships are abusive, all bets are off and you do need to remove yourself. Then it is absolutely not OK to stay and be hurt.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What forces shaped you?

Ever think about what's made you who you are today?

Sometimes I reflect on all the people whose paths have crossed mine and all the experiences, wonderful and difficult, that have been mine through the years. Each one of those people and experiences has made me who I am. Ironically, the most difficult experiences have shaped me the most. And some of my most long-lasting life lessons have been learned by dealing with people who seemed the most challenging to me at the time.

Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have says: "The river is a good model. It doesn't own the water that rushes by, yet it couldn't be in more intimate relationship to it, as the force of what moves through shapes it. It is the same with everything we love. In truth, there is no point to holding on to the deepest things that matter, for they have already shaped us." He was talking about the things we hold onto because of some attachment. But the deeper lesson I take from this is that all that moves through (and around) us shapes us.

These days I try to be grateful even for those difficult experiences in my life such as my divorce and my job loss because I've learned so much. Those experiences and all the inner work I did as a result have shaped me perhaps even more than I know.

I try to be grateful, too, for those difficult people whose paths have crossed mine. At the time I didn't feel so grateful. Even now, it's sometimes difficult for me to give thanks for them. But when I am completely honest, I know there were lessons for me—important life lessons—in those exchanges.

By whom and by what have you been shaped? Reflect on the wisdom you've gained. Be grateful today—and celebrate the amazing person you have become by those things!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Life lessons from death

"Always take time with people in their 80s because for more than a decade, they've been looking right across the street at death and they know what's really important in life." NPR's Scott Simon said his mother told him that as he sat by her deathbed last month. Simon's comment about that is, "I don't know about you, but I can stand to hear that message." Oh, yes!

Simon hadn't planned to do so but ended up tweeting his thoughts and some of what his mother said as they shared those intimate days when she lay dying. 

In an interview later about his Twitter posts and his final days with his mother, which he saw as a gift, he said what struck him most was the brevity of life. He knows now the importance of saying what he needs to say to those he loves, of doing what he really wants to do, of focusing on life's important things.

It's true. Death can teach us many things. And one of those important life lessons is how to live. How many people do you see sleep-walking through life? Focusing on problems rather than blessings? Letting love go unspoken? Perhaps you have done that yourself at times?

Simon's tweets about his final moments with his beloved mother can be a reminder to you and me to savor our days, to stay awake and aware, to put aside differences and focus on the love we feel for each other, to make the main thing the main thing!

Why not look around you each day for the next week and find one thing that really touches your heart? Something of beauty, a loved one's eyes, a meaningful passage in a book. If you like that experience, find two things each day the next week. Make it a habit.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A five-year rule

You've heard about the 10-second rule? When you drop food on the floor, if it's been there 10 seconds or less, you pop it into your mouth and cite the 10-second rule!

We should have a five-year rule. This would be for situations we face on a daily or weekly basis, situations that we are just sure are dire and will have long-lasting effects. Sometimes they truly will have a huge impact. Many times, however, our minds get a bit carried away and off into Fantasy Land. We might do a bit of catastrophizing, thinking there's only one right answer and if we get it wrong, dire consequences will follow. Often, that simply isn't true. We may get upset when another person wants to solve the issue in another way. At times, we are so tied to our desired outcome as the only one.

I find it helpful to ask: Five years from now, will this matter? Will what I'm so upset or angry about today even be an issue then? Will the decision I make now really matter one way or the other? Or am I simply all worked up about something that, if I took a longer view, really isn't so huge and consequential after all?

It's easy to attach far more weight to an outcome than might be necessary or wise. Some things really do need our serious attention and careful thought before a decision is made. But lots of things do not. Many we might be able to hold more lightly. The wisdom comes in knowing the difference.

Perhaps using a five-year rule of thumb might help us gain perspective. Ask yourself if it will matter at all in that time—or whether one outcome or another really will matter. Then let go and let life flow.

Friday, August 9, 2013

From the heart

I'm discovering that my life goes better when I live more from my heart.

I've lived from my head for so long that it seems to be my default position. Because I am a relationship-oriented person, I have engaged my heart, too. And I don't believe that this is one of those either/or propositions. It's definitely both/and. I need both my head and my heart to navigate through life. Even though I'm a high F (for feeler) rather than a T (thinker) on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I have learned to live from my head.

As I mature, however, I find that my heart becomes more important to my interactions, not just with people but with my surroundings. A comment I recently read confirmed that for me when an author talked about staying grounded (feet firmly planted on solid ground, knowing who you are and what you're about). He said it struck him that his head was the part of his body that is furthest from the ground! I have thought a lot about that since reading that comment.

My heart is closer to the ground than my head. And perhaps that is so when it comes to standing on our emotional/spiritual ground as well as to the physical aspect. I make much better choices and can be more open and loving when I engage my heart. The real challenge becomes creating a good solid connection between my head and my heart. The best of both worlds, as it were!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sit with discomfort

Six weeks without chocolate? I didn't think I could do it. But one year I decided to try going without something I really liked during Lent. Since I'm a dedicated chocoholic, that was my (tough!) choice.

I did it. That was several years ago, so I don't recall now just how painful it was. I don't think it was awful, however. But then I knew that there was an end to my deprivation in sight: I could do it for six weeks.

Last month I read a blog by someone who is giving up something different each month for a year. In a recent blog, he spoke of his month without coffee and what he learned. One thing really struck me: He talked about sitting through the strong urge to grab a cup of coffee—of feeling it and, as he said, "sitting in discomfort." He said, "Sitting in discomfort, allowing yourself to feel it, is a great learning experience."

Indeed, I'm sure it is. I'm really thinking about what that would be like, whether it relates to something I want to eat or drink—or to some habit I'm trying to change or behavior I'm wanting to transform. I want to learn to be with the discomfort, to feel it, to see what I can learn from the experience of discomfort.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Small gifts of kindness

What acts of kindness have you done for others today?

Recently I was asked to come up with five acts that I would commit to do in one day. I needed to say for whom I was doing this kindness and what my act was. The activity was part of the particular track I was then taking on the Happify website about which I told you some time back (when I was asked to pioneer that website's activities all designed to make us as users aware of our ability to choose happiness and to be grateful for what we have).

What a fascinating exercise. I spent some time thinking about who in my life really needed some extra loving at that point. Who could use a "random act of kindness" and who else needed an encouraging boost?

Look around you today. Is there someone who's going through a tough patch right now and could use a telephone call—or perhaps a card of encouragement (hand-written, of course!)? Or is there a loved one whose face could use a huge smile by some kind act you might perform?

I really love the idea of this exercise—and plan to use it on myself from time to time. I always feel happy when I can bring joy to someone else's life. Even when we're knee-deep working on our own issues and problems—perhaps especially when we're doing that, it's great to take out time to think about little things we can do for others.

Why not commit to a small list of people and kindnesses today? It's a small act that yields huge amounts of joy!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Get real

Expectations. We've talked a lot about them in these blogs as well as in my monthly ezine (sign up for my ezine on any of my website pages if you haven't already done so).

Expectations can be quite delightful—and, like anticipation, can be a large percent of any good experience. But often, they get us into trouble, too.

Have you ever had unrealistic expectations of what an event will be like? Or how a friend or family member will respond to you? I certainly have done that. Because I tend to be an idealist and a romantic, I find it easy to have higher expectations than are merited both for people and for the situations I face. And I get disappointed many times.

So here's what I try to do these days: I try to dial back my expectations and hang loose about what will happen and what those I love will do. I tell myself quite frequently, "It is what it is" or "It will be what it will be." And when I'm successful at hanging loose and at not investing too much in a particular outcome, I'm far happier. And most likely, I'm more fun to be around then, too.

I try to be much more aware these days of what my inner dialogue and script contain. "Stay open, Sonia," I remind myself. 

What tricks do you use to downsize your expectations? How do you go with the flow and stay in the moment? I'd love to hear what works for you.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Receive what you're given

When my maternal grandmother died, we found in her closets and drawers many of the lovely gifts all of us had given her through the years. She lived through the Depression and grew up through hard times and had learned to be extremely frugal. We knew exactly what was going on with those things sitting, unused, in drawers and closets: She had been saving them for some special occasion. But that occasion never came. She never got to enjoy those things we had all so carefully chosen for her.

Do you have gifts in your life that remain unopened? They might be physical gifts—or perhaps they're even emotional or spiritual gifts. Are special people in your life trying to help you, bless you or shower you with some love that you keep pushing away? Have you been given spiritual gifts that you're ignoring?

Have you ever had a friend or family member offer to do something for you and you've said, "No thanks, I'll be just fine"? I have, too. I see now that there was a mutual gift that I rejected: I would have been gifted with their help. They would have been gifted with the opportunity to serve and to feel good about doing so.

In her book My Grandfather's Blessings, Rachel Naomi Remen says that one of her elderly patients who had outlived his family told her that "all we get to keep are our memories." Remen adds, "Perhaps the only way we get to keep anything may be to use it up" and says wisely, "Perhaps we are all given many more blessings than we receive."

Yes, I do believe we are. Look around. What gifts and blessings have you been given but not yet received?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mind your own business

As a life coach, I don't see myself as the expert on anyone else's life. I am there to listen, ask questions, suggest alternative views, perhaps turn a few things upside down to spur creativity,  suggest resources and activities, but mostly to help clients access their own wisdom and answers—and help them set actionable goals.

That said, however, I have long been one of those people to whom family and friends have come to talk and sometimes seek advice. While that fact played a huge part in my decision to take training and get certified as a life coach, it can also be a danger: I don't want to ever start believing that I'm an expert in anyone's life but my own. If I ever get to the point where I think I am or where I focus entirely on the issues of others rather than my own, I'm in big trouble. It's an important boundary for me as a life coach.

It's also an important boundary for each of us as humans who walk together with others in relationship. In her book The Dance of Intimacy, Harriet Goldhor Lerner says as much when she writes that an attitude of "'I-know-what's-best-for-you' precludes the possibility of intimacy and makes it much harder for other persons to assume responsibility for solving their own problems and managing their own pain."

She reminds us that "as we become less of an expert on the other, we become more of an expert on the self." And as we know, the only person we can even hope to change is our self ... and that's not always a walk in the park! It's good to remember to mind our own business ... even when we're walking alongside each other in tough times.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Life's 'white spaces'

I have a friend with a decluttering business. She's an absolute whiz at helping people sort, clean out and organize their belongings—whether it's a closet, a room or an entire house. (If you live in my area and want her help, just email me at and ask for her contact information.)

As a trained journalist, I've always been sensitive to white space on a page—whether it's in a magazine, newspaper, brochure or ad. I am drawn more by a pleasing page with white space than to one crammed with text. I'm guessing you are, too. Most people are.

I like white space in my life, too. My friend the declutterer and I talk often about the importance of decluttering our lives and our surroundings. It's so freeing. And it brings such serenity.

So when I read a recent blog by someone whose posts I often read, I resonated deeply with many of his ideas. I really can't improve on what he says, so I'll include the link here and you can simply read what he says.

I hope you like Leo Babauta's ideas as much as I do. As with everything in life, take what's useful to you and leave the rest. And start with one thing until you've made that a habit and then move on to something else. Just don't try to change everything up at once or you'll set yourself up for failure.

Enjoy your quiet space or white space, whatever name you attach to it. Resist the temptation to fill it up with sound or activity.