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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > The Kitten, The Boy and Taking a Break

The Kitten, The Boy and Taking a Break

August 6th, 2010

Career Opportunities podcast logoAs we all know, it’s a crazy world out there. On most days, we run from home to school to work to home to bed in what seems like an endless cycle. We might read lots about needing to balance our work and ‘real’ life, but never seem to get anywhere near it. In some cases, we burn ourselves up searching for the next big score, the next big promotion, the next big stack of money. While I am not saying that work, money and fulfillment aren’t important, it is just as important to remember to decompress — to slow down and engage in our present lives. There are times, in the madness of our lives, when we get clear signs it is time to stop and settle, but too often we choose to ignore them.

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For example, as I type, our new kitten is draped across my lap, sleeping quietly despite the movement of my fingers. While I might be “working” I am also being given a clear indication that “this is where you need to be right now.” There are a hundred other things I could be doing, but the world, in the form of this small kitten, has given me clear notice that there are other things to consider, other “things to be done” and taking it slower is one of them. As is often the case, we only notice things in contrast and comparison. We haven’t had a kitten in a while and since our son is now 12 we had forgotten how little things can take over your lives sometimes. Kittens have 2 speeds, on and off, much like human babies, and it is good reminder to all of us that there are times to be on and off even as adults. Do you have any reminders in your life? Are you good about reminding yourself that “to everything there is a season.” Sometimes the most productive thing you can be doing is sitting in your garden with a cup of tea and a good book.

Even at 12-years-old my son can still provide me with these off and on moments, too. Late last night he re-immersed himself in building and programming his Lego NXT robot. He hadn’t spent much time with it lately, but something spurred him to dive in again. Of course, as is often the case, I was immersed in my own world. I was reading and replying to email, thinking about where and how to organize our next CareerCamp, and conversing with friends online. When he came to me with this robot, I could have put him off with my typical, “I’m sorry, but I am working now” excuse. As someone who works extensively at home, this is something that happens quite regularly. Instead, though, I saw this as a time to turn work “off” for a while. For the next hour or so he re-engineered the physical aspects of the robot while I helped him program the logic that allowed it to autonomously move around, reacting when it bumped into things.

Again, what a wonderful way for the universe to remind us of those times when we just need to stop and do something entirely different. It is in these moments that we often learn new things and re-visit important concepts we may have forgotten. It is in these moments that we break out of the haze of constant action and into the clear blue sky of new thoughts and new ideas.

Are you ignoring the clear signs from the universe when it is telling you try something different? Do you see the opportunities in a sleepy kitten or an inquisitive boy? Is your nose so far into the grindstone that you risk losing any view of the world around you? Be watchful for those moments when someone or something offers you an opportunity to stop — an opportunity to just sit and think or laugh or smile or nap or run or jump. I think you will find that these breaks could be some of the most significant “work” you do all day.

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