How to Truly Allow for Space for You in Your Life, Even If It Feels Challenging


In my last blog post, I talked about how to get grounded and clear in moments of anxiety and overwhelm, and shared some tools for managing these times of high tide. Moments of “not enough time,” “totally swamped,” and “can't keep my head above water!”

A key strategy for getting grounded and clear in times like these is coming to a place of presence. In other words getting engaged in how you're feeling - with your body and your breath.

Such as, finding stillness.

This allows you to feel calm and focused, even in a super high-tide flow. It allows you to get clear and strategic about the time frame there is to work within and what needs to be prioritized.

Coming to stillness also helps you discern if you are creating any unnecessary chaos through your own thought patterns and behaviors.

For instance, most of my life, I’ve tended to over-schedule myself, to overestimate what I can get done in a certain amount of time, or to underestimate how long it will take to complete a task, and because of this, I’ve created a lot of unnecessary time anxiety for myself. However, when I can see myself falling victim to these patterns, I’m able to choose something different - a new thought, a new action.

This is how coming to stillness in moments of overwhelm often supports us: it enables us to identify and shift the limiting patterns we have that whip things up unnecessarily in our lives.

Are you with me? Great!

Now this week, I want to talk about what’s going on with time anxiety at the other end of the spectrum - in our moments of low tide.

What do I mean by low tide here?

I mean those moments of unstructured time, where you have created space for intentional rest, rejuvenation, down time, so you can have breathing room.

You may be saying, “Why would I feel anxiety in those moments? Low tide sounds great!”

You’re right, it does sound great!

Though what I’ve recognized through my own experience and in others is - because of our societal conditioning to produce, produce, produce + always focus on deliverables - most of us experience a real resistance to fully receiving rest in our downtime.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that downtime equals “lazy” and that lazy equals “not good.”

That it’s always better to have lots going on. That “more than enough time” is a signal that something’s wrong: you should be doing more!

And so, subconsciously, we resist! We resist really allowing ourselves to have that spaciousness, though we desire it more than almost anything else.

Time to relax. To slow down. To just be.

Most of us weren’t taught to live that way though, which is why all this resistance comes up!

Truly honoring our moments of low-tide is about learning a new way to be with ourselves.

Me, for example. Even as I’m able to create time for being unplugged - having down time outside my working hours, taking retreats and vacations, building self-care into my schedule - I have still witnessed in myself a habit of only allowing myself so much room for spaciousness before that subconscious need to “be productive” kicks back in.

I’m talking about the ways in which we create space for rest and rejuvenation and then still fill, fill, fill it up.

Jam packing a vacation; always being on the run from one thing to the next in the day-to-day; rushing, rushing, rushing to get to a Pilates class or Reiki session or massage; staying up too late when we intend to go to bed early, repeatedly.

All these behaviors come back to the same root - an anxiousness around time. A fear of scarcity. A feeling of “not enough.”

When I really tune in, I understand: I’m afraid if I truly allow spaciousness - allow truly committed restorative time - that the things I want may not flow back in.

And because I’m fearful of letting go and experiencing that spaciousness, there’s a real and constant tension around down time in my life that is meant to be restorative.

We’re afraid to empty out, because then we may be left with “not enough.” Left in scarcity. And so we don’t allow ourselves the luxuries of idle time.

The cost is that we lose the thinking, the exploring, and the dreaming. The time spent marinating in our ideas and inspirations.

And this is such a shame, because this kind of unstructured time is really valuable. It enables us to let our creativity flow, receive insights and awareness from your own inner wisdom, come up with new solutions, and be filled up so you can give from a place of abundance rather than running low on energy.

So what can we do?

Just as coming to a place of stillness supports us in re-grounding during moments of overwhelm, re-engaging with our bodies and coming home to the cycle of our breath can help when we realize we’re falling into old patterns of not truly honoring our times of low-tide.

When we allow ourselves to come to full presence, grounding back into the breath and the body, we’re reminded: moments of perceived scarcity and moment of fullness are both natural parts of the cycle.

We remember that after this moment of perceived emptiness, there will be a moment of perceived fullness.

We’ve been conditioned to numb our natural attunement of these cycles. To ignore our connection to the needs of our bodies, hearts and minds.

It’s easy to forget that just like everything else in nature, we are subject to the cycles - the ebb and flow that are a natural and often predictable part of all life. That honoring the moments of rest and restorative energy is equally important as supporting ourselves during the times when our energy is at its peak.

If your life reflects the general pace and predominant values of our society, I’m guessing you’re coping with the stressors in your life while also longing for downtime.

Yet even when you intend to relax, it’s often challenging to truly allow spaciousness to come in.

Or maybe you’ve totally learned how to survive in a high-paced life, and you’re unsure how you’d do with a slower rhythm. Maybe you’re afraid to slow down. I mean, what would you do with all that time?

What I’m learning is this: we don’t need to be afraid of the parts of the cycle that contain what’s perceived as “emptiness.” Because it’s in those times that you can really be connected to yourself at you core, listen to your body's signals on a deeper level, move slower to support your body's innate healing ability, and open up your creativity & see the magic and wonder of life around you.

I'd love to hear what you are seeing for yourself. How would it feel if you have more space for yourself? What do you imagine would be possible for you if you really allow yourself to receive this space?

And if you want guidance in engaging in your body, taking time to focus on you, and support in coming into even more of your power in your heart, mind, and body - I am here for you.

Fran Darnell