“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Time, space and energy have a tendency to not stay put. They are without form and so they tend to ooze and spread and invade other spaces. Some people, I know, are better at corralling their time, space and energy, but I’m not.
I don’t keep my stuff in the space it should be in and it doesn’t help that I live in an open concept house so the walls, which aren’t there, don’t define and confine the stuff within them.
Likewise with my time and energy. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been better at being self-employed, so that time and energy can be fluid based on my mood and focus at the time..
But let’s face it, living in a constant environment of fluid time, space and energy is very much like trying to walk purposefully in an ocean. You can’t. You get pushed and pulled by the waves and the current and you sometimes don’t make a lot of headway. And it’s exhausting.
When I and my surroundings are in a state of high fluidity, I get more exhausted more easily and start to feel overwhelmed. I feel more out of control and stressed. And my mood starts to sink—just maintaining the same oceanic analogy here. That’s not good when you’re trying to make headway and get stuff done. It’s also not good from a Law of Attraction perspective because an open, positive and expectant attitude is essential to allowing. When your thoughts and feelings are taken over by brown thoughts of doubt, overwhelm, fear, negativity, it acts as a barrier to the good stuff that could be flowing in.
That’s when it’s nice to create brackets or parentheses. You can create parentheses in your day by deciding that for a certain period of time, you will think or behave in a certain way. Knowing that it has a start and finish makes it easier to commit. For example,
You could decide that from 9 to 10 a.m. you are going to work only on a certain project and not play on Facebook or play Solitaire.
You could decide that from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. you are going to just putter around and clean the house without talking on the phone or playing on the computer.
You could decide that from 2 to 3 p.m. you are going to spend time with your dog, walking him and brushing him perhaps, and focusing just on him.
You could choose to not worry about a certain concern from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
You could choose to turn off the tv and just read with quiet music on from 9 to 10 p.m.
The nice thing about bracketing is that by setting a limit, you know that at the end of that time, you can go back to worrying, or goofing off, or vegging or whatever. When my son was in his late teens he was a competitive cyclist and he would go on 100 km training rides on a highway. I hated it. I would be so worried. Then I started bracketing it. I would ask him how long he planned to be gone—for a 100 km ride it would be 3 hours. So I would decide that I wouldn’t worry for 4 hours, leaving him time to get there and back and possibly chat with friends. After 4 hours, I was free to freak out.
Here’s another way to use brackets and parentheses in your day. You can intend in brackets. You can intend that during a bracketed time, all will be well and you can be very specific about what that ‘well’ looks like. So for example, let’s say you are going into a meeting at work, you might begin the bracket by intending like this:
I’m going to go into the meeting and greet everyone with a smile. My favourite seat will be available and I’ll sit down and make myself comfortable. I’ll pay attention during the meeting and make good comments at appropriate times.
Or here’s another example. Imagine that you are going to work on writing your book for an hour of bracketed time. You might intend for that bracket like this:
At 9 a.m. I’m going to take a coffee and go to my desk. I’ll read over the chapter I’ve started and then start typing and my thoughts will flow easily onto the page. I will be very fluent and relaxed during my writing. At the end of the hour, I’ll print off my work for the day and make a neat pile. I’ll turn off the computer, get up and push in my chair and I’ll feel very satisfied with my work for the day
I had one client who was trying to complete the Seven Day Mental Diet. I suggested he set his phone alarm to go off every hour. At that time, he was to stop and ask himself what he was thinking, because so many of our thoughts are unconsciously negative. If his thinking was negative, he was to make a conscious choice to think more positive thoughts to turn his feelings around.
Now, obviously I can’t fool you. This is just an example of visualization and intention which you should be doing anyway. Of course it is, but it’s so much easier than trying to visualize or intend an entire day—it’s a beginners approach to visualization and intention. It can be hard to run through an entire day in advance in your head but you can certainly do it for half an hour or an hour.
You can create rituals that represent the beginning and end of the parentheses. For example, you might choose to have a glass of cold water at the beginning and end, as a physical reminder. Sometimes I walk the dog as soon as I wake in the morning and just before bed and when I do, I think of it as putting brackets around my day. Your ritual might be just closing your eyes for a moment and taking a deep breath.
Create a parentheses of calm in your day. Or a bracket of intense physical exercise.. Or one of focused work. Create a parenthesis that contains only fun. Try it for just a day and let me know how it works for you.