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I’ve finally discovered a way to relax | Robert Ashton

For as long as I can remember, my life has been filled with urgency. This has been an asset when I’m solving a charity or social enterprise problem, as usually, my client has left it a little late to seek help.

But it has become normal for me to consider everything I do as urgent, and that has not always been good for my mental health. Over the years I’ve endured quite severe depressive episodes and but for psychotherapy, would probably not be here today.

You see I’ve come to realize over the years that projects tend to run at a pace which, while to me might appear unnecessarily slow, is usually maintained and comfortable for all involved. Seeking planning consent for Dial Corner (an earth-sheltered eco-home) or the crowdfunding campaign for my latest book, are two examples of projects that appear at times to be moving at a glacial speed. But both are progressing and both will I am confident eventually deliver success. (You might like to support my crowdfunding campaign as I know the book will be a good read.)

So I’ve made a conscious decision to stop trying to push things faster than they will go; to stop chasing others to meet my self-imposed deadlines and vitally, to stop worrying in general. Experience tells me that if I’m trying to do the right thing, for the right reason, then when the time is right, the right thing will happen, and that might not be quite when I expect it!

To my surprise, this new approach has given me the headspace to focus on what really matters; to make time for my family, and to continue my quest to become a competent pianist before my 70th birthday, (which is less than 40 months away).

I think this new approach has also made me more objective, given me greater clarity of vision and yes, I’m feeling more relaxed than I have ever felt before.

Occasionally, the ‘old me’ interrupts and asks how long this new approach will last, but as with all my demons, I’ve learned to gently push that thought back to where it belongs; locked away at the back of my mind.

My sense is that too many of us battle to meet artificial deadlines and reach needlessly difficult goals. It was Samuel Butler who pointed out that:

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it. - Samuel Butler

Let’s make time to do just that!

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