There are four elements in a Pace of Grace lifestyle: Purify Your Life; Pace Yourself; Practice the Presence; and Plan a Sustainable Life. My last blog was about purification – replacing habits and relationships that drain us with practices and people that sustain us, while nurturing our health with clean eating and plenty of water.
Now let’s focus on “Pace Yourself”. A pace is a rhythm, a speed, a balance of work and play, reflection and action. It’s a spiritual approach to time management. A friend and I regularly treat ourselves to breakfast at a seaside resort. We leave feeling truly fed — body and soul. The other day, with a huge smile, she said, “I need more time out on the water — fishing, swimming, canoeing.” She’s a busy wife, mother, and businesswoman, who deeply appreciates living in Paradise, even though she’s been here all her life. She wants better balance so she can receive the blessing of Nature’s beauty more often. She said, “I need a plan, to make sure I spend my time as I really choose.” Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Pacing ourselves means making a plan for the day or the week that contains play as well as goals and tasks. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I “chunk” my time (into bite sized blocks of time) – first, prayer and meditation, then chores, writing, time with my husband, play (with him, friends or island grandchildren), and an afternoon rest.
I enjoy every aspect of my day when it flows with grace, UNLESS I take on too much by over-promising my time. So, for me, and probably you too, it means not writing checks your body can’t cash. Choose commitments wisely. It is helpful to pause before saying yes right away (“I’ll let you know”), and say no graciously. If I’m asked to do something during rest time, I let people know that time is sacred. One of the 10 Rules for Health in my book, A Pace of Grace is “Proactive Rest”, which is resting before you get tired. If we wait to rest until we’re exhausted, it’s nearly impossible to get up again, and we’ll probably miss dinner! A ten to twenty minute power nap about six hours after awakening is ideal and refreshes us for the rest of the day.
A pace of Grace means putting people first, including oneself. Time alone is crucial to our spiritual wellbeing – whether praying, meditating, sleeping, or just being. Our soul longs for reflection time, and it is the only way to open ourselves to the Divine. What great promise there is in Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and hidden things that you do not know.” Only in silence can we listen for answers to prayer or reflect on our own life and actions. Socrates, said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Put relationships first in your priority list. Take care of your work too, with wholehearted love and concentration. Work smarter, not harder – delegating what can be done by others. A peaceful mind is more creative and productive, so a pace of Grace offers spiritual efficiency. Do one thing at a time and refuse to rush. Give yourself and your children time to get ready in the morning without stress. Bless your day by getting up a half hour earlier for devotions or just to putter before gearing up for your busy hours. Managing your days with mindful moderation brings balance. It is the only sustainable way to have the time of your life.