Recently I watched an interview with Brad Pitt. He struck me as being modest about his achievements and the media accolades being given to him, both as an actor and as a person. One line caught my attention. He described himself as being "in the zone" and "on track" in his life.
It got me thinking.
"Being in the zone" is a term used by professional athletes, sportspeople and dancers when they are demonstrating peak performance; high energy, effortless ease and accomplishment; experiencing well-being and natural joy. What would it be like to be in the zone? Is it possible for ordinary mortals? Would you want to be in the zone, if you could?
I like to think so.
Being in the zone is how you feel inside, being the human spirit that you are, as you go about fulfilling your life. Get right on the inside, and the outside will show up to match it. There has never been a better time for getting in the zone and on track, even and especially during these difficult times.
You may have no control of the circumstances around you. You can potentially choose how you respond to them; how you manage your thoughts and feelings; to enter the zone.
These 12 steps will take you in that direction:
1. Accept what is happening - Engage with your life as it is right now.
The temptation is to be angry and fight against injustices, resentful and blaming of those responsible. Instead, look for what you can do and get active with what is immediately in front of you. This will raise your energy and outlook.
2. Be real, and true to yourself - Keep your feet on the ground.
You are a magnificent being, worthy of all the good that can come to you. Honour yourself, bless yourself and keep taking the next step towards what you now want.
I recommend Dr Judith Rich's Rx for the Soul Series:
3. Focus on the present moment - Complete existing agreements.
Being in the zone is living now. Do not dwell in the past or daydream about the future. Take a deep breath - you can only take one at a time.
Fulfil agreements you have made; clear up the clutter; finish off projects that have been hanging around. Or simply declare them complete and let them go. When there is nothing holding you back, you can be fully here, now.
4. Mindful action - Turn routine tasks into meditation.
Joy can be found in taking the simplest action. When you give your full attention to an easy task, you can enjoy stillness and presence. Try it when you are sweeping a floor; cleaning the car; pulling up weeds; brushing the dog.
5. Be aware of your feelings - Learn to listen to your intuition.
Are you a human "doing"? Regain the innocence, or inner sense, of a young child by every so often, pausing to be in touch with how you feel.
Listen to yourself for when you need to take a break; to remove yourself from a situation that is not working for you; to talk to a friend you have not seen for ages. Your intuition is a hot line from within you to the world around you. Let it serve you.
"Self-trust is the first secret of success" --Ralph Waldo Emerson
6. Deal with your fears - Expand your creativity.
Fears distract you from your sense of well-being. Find out what the fear is about. Listen to what it is telling you. Use the energy of your fear to take action to resolve the issue. Develop new skills and talents.
Fear can stimulate your creativity and problem solving abilities. Fear is a friend that can open new doors for you. Mine has.
7. Connect with others - Create new networks.
You are never alone. There are others who would love to be your friend. How will you go and find them? In social networks, maybe, but what about a neighbour in a next door street?
8. Be open to receive - Be aware of new opportunities coming for you.
Opportunities may come to you through friends, a chance conversation overheard, a news item you read, an introduction, an idea that comes from "out of the blue". Keep an open mind. You never know what good may be awaiting you around the next corner.
"You can't shake hands with a clenched fist." --Indira Gandhi
9. Employ simple wisdom - You know more than you think you do.
A friend who owns a clothing and jewellery shop told me that her business had increased 45% over the last year. If she goes to work with a bad mood, she can never sell. She chooses to be happy. It helps her business.
10. Pace yourself - Allow time and space for joy, rest and recuperation.
Dr Cara Barker's words to Susan Boyle are inspiring. You know you are in the zone when you stop a moment to appreciate it.
"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness". --Mahatma Gandhi
11. Look for blessings - Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
This life is truly a blessing. Look for the good, and you will find it. Then more will come and find you.
Give yourself a gratitude break: take stock of 5 things you value now.
12. Give generously - Know yourself as a person who has more than enough
Give of your time, your money - even a little, your joy, talent, humour. Imagine yourself in a giving world - could be close to heaven.
Give - and you will be given more.