Eureka Moments, Feminine Energy & the Value of Taking a Break

teacup-booksHow many times have you puzzled over something while staring at the computer, only to gain insight while on a run or in the shower?

I am wired as a “doer.” Slipping into that “feminine side” – taking a moment for myself or indulging in some self-care – is not something I’m always comfortable with. But when I’m wise enough to do it, to take that moment to appreciate beauty and slow down, a lot of good things happen. Slowing down – for anyone, male or female – is totally counter to the cultural narrative that is 24-7-365-work-your-toosh-off-kray-kray.

(Brief aside, if you’re a raging feminist like I am and relatively unfamiliar with the details of the Law of Attraction, that “feminine side” phrase may have thrown you off. I’m referring here to masculine and feminine energies that are not based on gender. Any person, male or female, can embody either energy. What’s most important for understanding the Law of Attraction is to know what your true nature is and how it manifests. Read this great guide to polarity by Tony Robbins or the fantastic book “Feminine Genius” by LiYana Silver for an intro.)

Do you know the #1 thing I’ve found that builds creativity?

TAKING A BREAK FROM MY WORK.

It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it. We all get 24 hours in a day, and we all want to be successful. So we have to go faster / harder / stronger … right?

I like to remind myself – and my clients! – of the story of how Archimedes, the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer born in 287 BC,  solved a scientific puzzle he’d been given – and developed a theory of volume in the process.

Archimedes: the Original Puzzled Technologist

1024px-Domenico-Fetti_Archimedes_1620200+ years before Christ, the Syracusan king Hieron II, had given his royal metalsmith a specific weight of gold to be fashioned into a splendid wreathlike crown. But the king had a management problem many of us have faced: he suspected that his metalsmith had been pilfering from the royal coffers. The completed crown, destined to adorn the statue of a deity, seemed to have been cut with less valuable silver, and he suspected the smith had pocketed the unused gold. Hieron tasked Archimedes with establishing the crown’s makeup without sampling or defacing it in any way.

Archimedes knew that gold is more dense than silver. So if a certain weight of silver had been substituted for the same weight of gold, the crown would occupy a larger space than an identical one of pure gold. But how could he measure the volume of the irregular crown?

As the story goes, he was puzzling over this day and night. He was so immersed in his work that he began to skip meals, sleep and personal hygiene (sound familiar?!? I’ve been there!). It got to the point where his wife worried for his health.

“Go take a bath,” she told him.

Begrudgingly, the young scientist took her advice and walked over to the public baths (all the rage at the time). While in the overfilled bath, Archimedes began to relax, and forgot about his work. That’s when he’s fabled to have realized: the more his body sank into the water, the more water sloshed over the top of the bath!

Even though he was irregularly shaped, the displaced water was an exact measure of his volume! Realizing he had hit upon a solution, the young Greek math whiz is fabled to have leapt out of the bath, rushing home naked crying “Eureka! Eureka!”

Eureka Moments

I know as a Marketing Technologist, I personally have had so many Archimedes moments. I’ve had complete writer’s block, or the inability to put myself in my customer’s shoes. Frustrated, I’ll get to a yoga class, sit outside, crack a beer (or all three) – and like magic, the answer comes.

  • Sometimes, leaning into the grind is what I personally need to do to be more productive.
  • But other times, inviting more play into my life leads to flashes of insight.

I’ve come to believe that during these moments of stepping away from my computer, I’m actually allowing my brain to function.

Being playful and playing as an adult is so much fun, but it’s pretty obvious to me that I’ve been trained out of it. I’ve learned to be more serious, to put work ahead of everything else. But what does this ultimately “cost” me?

  • We have learned to give up play because we think playing is for children and frivolous people who aren’t serious about getting ahead.

Well, guess what: play is for everyone, even adults and “serious people. The more you practice playfulness, the more your creativity will flow.

Play helps me do these key things:

  • Reduce my resistance to new things
  • Feel better / more relaxed
  • Access more creativity
  • Become more resourceful
  • Become more successful
  • Have more fun
  • Become more fun to be around!

But There is So Much to Do

The Law of Attraction reminds us that we will receive more of what we are putting out into the world. If you start each day feeling optimistic, joyful, appreciative and grateful, abundance is sure to follow. I am living proof: when I put out a clear signal that there is time to play and I know play is good for me, I receive back so much in return!

1. Practice Playfulness & Excellent Self-Care. What’s the point of all of our plans and goals … getting in shape, making more money, or having our own businesses … if we’re not enjoying ourselves?

How do we get thinner, richer, more famous? At what cost? When we “get there,” are we tired and sick? Have our relationships failed? Are there other areas in which we are unfulfilled? If we are focused on productivity rather than process, we fail to ENJOY OUR LIVES – and isn’t that the whole point?

A lot of people put the ladder against the wrong building. Their goals and daily practices are not aligned with their life’s purpose, so when they achieve their goals, the cost is their health or their relationships. According to Brendan Burchard, author of “High Performance Habits”, high performers value their own well-being more than any other demographic measured.

“I expected that these folks would be more stressed, their health would be more compromised, they would feel lonely at the top,” Burchard says. “I was wrong.”

Compared to their peers, high performers:

  • Are less stressed
  • Are healthier
  • Are 40% more likely to exercise 3-5x per week
  • Report higher levels of happiness
  • Report having more positive relationships

So if one of your goals is to play more, have more fun or take better care of yourself, that’s okay – and you are probably in great company!

2. Decide What “Play” Means For You. A lot of the time adults can’t even remember what they like to do. They’re so focused on their educational background, what they have a degree or training in, or what their career is that they can’t even identify things that they truly enjoy. Or maybe they’ve outgrown the things that they liked to do in the past. Remember, dreams are the blueprint for what’s possible. If you don’t create space to open up your consciousness around what could be possible (even things that you think are beyond your reach) are necessary to have a blueprint of what your life could become.

If this is you, here are some steps you can follow:

  • Sit down and make a list of the things that you enjoyed doing as a kid or young adult. Go over your list and highlight things that still sound appealing. I did this and realized that despite a passion for live music, I hadn’t been to a rock concert in almost a decade! Here are some simple ideas I know I can add to almost any day to create more elegance, feminine energy and play:
    • A tea ritual
    • Fresh flowers
    • Yoga
    • Lighting candles as the days get shorter
    • Literature before bed (instead of TV!)
    • A bath or skincare ritual
    • Chocolates
    • Lipstick (it helps!)
    • Kissing my husband
    • Sitting quietly with my kids and just listening
    • Poetry
    • Digging in my garden
    • Meditation (tons available on YouTube, or I listen to Deepak Chopra on iTunes)
    • Lunch with a friend
  • Next, think about what you would do if you had all the time and money in the world. Where would you go? What activities would you be doing? You can also try imagining your 90-year-old self looking back on a life well-lived. What would you want to look back on or still be doing? For me, this brought up images of myself reminiscing about trips to fabulous cities like New York City and Paris, skiing the Alps and still doing yoga. You can even Google “bucket list”. You’re looking for ideas on fun things you may want to try. Once you have your list, edit it down to things that seem feasible or that really spark your interest.

3. Set a Fun Minimum. Just as you tell yourself that you’re going to exercise for at least half-an-hour a day (I hope that you’re telling yourself this!), tell yourself that you’re also going to do something fun for at least half-an-hour-a-day. In addition, do the following:

  • Set aside one day a week in which you’re going to have a minimum of two hours of fun.
  • Set aside at least two weeks a year which you’re going to devote entirely to having fun.

4. Put Fun In Your Schedule. Personally, I live by my Google calendar. I know that if I don’t schedule something in that calendar, including fun, exercise, personal development and family vacations, all of these are unlikely to happen. So if you want to play more and have more fun, make sure you put it in  your schedule.

Bottom line: If you want synchronicity in your life, to feel like everything is in alignment, that eureka moments are happening every day – and you also feel overworked, stressed and run haggard – PLAY and SELF-CARE are the answer! Remember when you’re running around trying to people-please or “faking it ’till you make it,” you’re not living your truth. Listen to the great wisdom that exists in your body. We’re good at tuning this out, but high-performers tap in! The universe rewards courage, so grab on to it. Be humble. Be willing to learn. The sky’s the limit.

Please share with your friends, colleagues, or anyone who could use a boost of playfulness or imagination.