Slow Down!

What one small thing can you change to improve your life? 

This week, while driving through rush hour traffic, I was feeling tense and impatient with other drivers. It occurred to me that if I would slow down, I might enjoy the drive more. So I stayed in the right lane for most of the way and every time there was a car wanting to merge in front of me, I waved them in.

This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but by doing this, I felt less tense and happier and maybe I blessed someone’s day. Slowing down a bit is not a new idea for me, but what is different is that I am making conscious changes in my thinking to find peace in my life. I am trying to stop the impatience I feel when I am in a hurry to get somewhere. This small attitude adjustment allowed me to notice my surroundings, breathe deeply, and relax my shoulders.

Many years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to be that person who was always running late. (Notice the word “running”!) Instead of racing to the ferry or staying in the left lane to pass everyone while stressing about being late for a meeting, I would choose to leave home at least 15 minutes sooner than I thought was necessary, to get to my destination. If there might be traffic, I try to leave 30 minutes or even 45 minutes early, to relieve my stress.

Now, I make sure I take a book and my water bottle (or a cup of coffee), so if I do end up waiting for someone else, it will be an enjoyable and peaceful experience. And here is a radical thought…if I have to wait, I can just sit and do nothing!

How do you feel about time? Do you feel like you are always in a rush? Do you get impatient as I was when you are stuck in heavy traffic, knowing you are going to be late?

Time will go by no matter what you do. Worry and stress won’t change the outcome. As you read this, take a moment to start to notice how the passing of time affects your life. Are there any small changes you can make? When was the last time you just sat without even looking at your phone? 

Click the link to listen to a recent podcast where I talk to Alexis Newlin (The Brave Podcast) about living with purpose:

To follow me as I continue on this journey or find my first book “Flourish in a World Full of People”.  Click here@spencelayhmarnie

What the world needs now…

This time of the year can be very difficult for those of us who don’t have a romantic love interest. The stores have displays of chocolates and flowers and today I heard an ad for soft pajamas that a man can buy for his lady. Couples buy each other gifts or plan romantic outings but the rest of us can feel that we aren’t included. It can be like “who will you be kissing on New Year’s Eve?”

Love isn’t just for lovers though, because it is one of the basic requirements for life, right up there with food and shelter. People who don’t experience love every day soon become depressed, feel hopeless and eventually get sick. Babies need to be touched by loving hands in order to thrive.

Whether you are part of a couple or not, you can reach out to the people around you in very simple but profound ways. Have a conversation with someone and really listen. Turn off your phone and make eye contact. Make it your purpose to hear what is behind the words of the other person. What are they feeling? Can you hear a need or pain in what they say? You don’t have to solve any problems, just listen. In fact, please don’t try to solve their problem. Listening carefully can help them to find solutions that will be much better.

Maybe for someone on the street, saying “Hello” or even just smiling can make a stranger’s day. The guy begging for money wants more than just spare change, he wants to be noticed. The money is easy to give but making eye contact and the gift of a greeting will mean a lot more.

The people who need your attention the most probably live in your home or are close family members. Instead of giving a box of chocolates this year, why not try a gift of time…uninterrupted time. This goes for the children, the aging parents, an aunt or uncle who lives alone, a neighbour…

If you have a “significant other” express your gratitude to them and for them. Maybe she is longing to know if you really see her. He may wonder if you know how hard he works for you and your family.

“What the world needs now, is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

Songwriters: Burt F. Bacharach / Hal David. What the World Needs Now Is Love lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management, Royalty Network

May this month of love be a special time for you as you find others to thank, encourage, listen to, and bless. I bless you with much love!

The Journey Begins

The perspective from a school principal’s office is somewhat unique. While managing the vision and direction of the whole school, I met with hundreds of individuals. We solved problems, created events, took field trips, even planned and executed a few moves to new locations – together.

My career as a teacher led me to northern British Columbia and back to Vancouver Island. With the help and encouragement of my mother, Dorothy Dobson, I founded and ran two independent schools in Victoria, BC Canada. My job was to teach and mentor, but I usually learned more than my students – about relationships and getting along in life.

Since relationships are central to all of us, I have written a book that I hope will cause you to think about your own interactions with people while you read about some of my experiences.

The title of this book is Flourish in a World Full of People because, just like plants that grow out of rocks and bloom there, so you can grow and blossom no matter how your past or current circumstances feel.

Officially launching in the June 2019 if you subscribe now, you will receive advance notice for presales as well as tips that will help you while you wait.