Friday Check In: How's Your Bandwidth?
We all have a certain amount of energy, physical and mental, that we use to navigate our days. Some days we may spend a majority of that bandwidth on mundane tasks that simply have to get done, other days on bigger, more important tasks. Regardless, most of us hit a point at which we have maxed out, reached capacity, and need to take a break, refuel, and begin again tomorrow.
(And sometimes we need more of a break than the 6-10 (4-8?) hours of sleep we use to re-energize. That is another blog.)
With summer already nearing its end, we have noticed our days to soak up the sun while also wiggling our toes in the sand are nearing their end for this season (at least in New England). With that thought in mind, we wanted to check in and see how we are using our bandwidths.
It's a constant source of amusement to me in this digital world that the image of a car radio is my bandwidth picture. It's a specific car radio, too - the one in our 1980-something blue Aries K-car, the first car I ever drove. It wasn't fancy, there were no presets, just a dial to spin that moved the little red line from number to number. That's how we rolled in the dark ages, kids - manually tuning the radio in to the signal we wanted (and we were at the mercy of whatever geography & the weather would allow us to hear - dark times, indeed).
I mastered the dial of that radio and could move from station to station with freakish accuracy. I knew where on the highways in & out of town I would have to switch frequencies, which stations I could get and for what distance before I had to switch again.
I knew, with a fair degree of accuracy, how to work within the local FM bandwidth. I can hear the Duran Duran now...
Fast forward to present time, and I am still working with that radio - albeit energetically rather than physically. I see my mental bandwidth represented in that radio dial, and in the summer especially it feels like it is constantly moving back and forth, rarely settling in for long before the next great thing comes up and it's time to change the station. Beach! Pool! Outside! Sun! Fun! Gotta pack it all in before the kids go back to school! Do all the things, don't miss a station! Who's with me here?
That's some deep programming right there - gotta pack in all the fun before the kids go back to school?? Because, what, all the fun comes to a screeching halt at 7:25 am on the first day of classes? But I digress...
There are a lot of frequencies demanding my attention. I'll be honest with you (like always), I'm in the middle of a gigantic growth period. I'm not alone in it. If they suddenly decide to give out medals for growth periods in Rio, I'm pretty sure the Daring Spirits team would take a gold, a silver, and a bronze. Each.
My check-in has shown me that it's time to say hello to my frequency-hopping habit and perhaps take it down a notch. In doing so, I can allow myself the space to pick the most important things I want to tune in to, and make sure I am fully present for those. I can stop spinning up and down the dial and just breathe.
Now here's the cool energy work part: just from acknowledging that, the picture shifted. I am seeing my bandwidth expand; the things that are vying for my energy and attention are starting to smush together and I can see myself moving through them in a seamless flow of activities. I can tune in to more than one frequency at a time - they are no longer competing for my attention.
On that note, I think it's looking like a good day for some family fun at the beach.
Often in summer with longer days, we think we can do more. We want to take advantage of the longer hours of sunshine and brightness to play as much as we can while also continuing on with all that needs, or we think needs, to get done. Of that, I am guilty. I started out strong this summer - big aims of beach trips, pool trips, weekend getaways, sprinkler fun in the backyard, getting lots of work done, and lazy days of impromptu playdates that include popsicles in the backyard.
Fast forward a few weeks and my bandwidth has been stretched! Hindsight being what it is, 20-20, I might have paced myself a little better. It seems I broke into a sprint the first few weeks versus keeping a steady pace.
No big deal, right? Right. Good reminder, right? Right.
Although life is 'short,' there is time to do and be and enjoy. If you are feeling stretched as the summer weeks fly by, pause to check in with how you are doing. Give yourself a chance to not take advantage of every moment of sunshine and "perfect" beach day...leave some of those days for others to have and give yourself permission to nurture you, even if that means missing the sunshine to take a nap.