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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Opening to the Space in Your Life: A Needed Reflection

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: May 19th 2010

I find that more often than not space in our lives is being filled with "getting busy" rather than realizing that we actually have the time to be still and reflect. Many of us have been accustomed to waking up and immediately checking our phones for some sort of message, erasing that space of stillness that may be there as we gently enter into the day. Taking time to be still and reflect can be done individually or as a couple and have tremendous implications on your life and our culture.

I was reminded of this last night while at dinner with my wife. The phone rang and it was someone who I had wanted to convey a message to so I picked it up and started talking. After I got off the phone my asked me, "did you really need to pick up that call?" To which I unempathically defended, "I just wanted to talk for a minute..." at that moment I realized what I was doing wasn't bringing us closer, but rather distancing us. I wasn't respecting this time that we had. She was right, I didn't need to pick up that call, and this was a time for us, a time of stillness, reflection and connection. When I realized this and apologized, the night began to bring us closer which felt good.

We "get busy" out of habit, but also because being still means coming to terms with the way things are and perhaps that's not often that comfortable.

I don't often make sweeping statements, but here is one. Creating space away from busy-ness and toward stillness and reflection in your life is absolutely necessary to create a meaningful life.

In previous blogs I've quoted Abraham Joshua Heschel before, "Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder." This can happen in your life or in your relationship. Often times relationships go askew because there is no intentional space created for stillness, reflection and connection.

Life becomes routine and then the mind seems to think it's not all that special or meaningful. Well, there it is, we need space and reflection to break out of routine and open our eyes to habits that are driving us down or engage with activities that bring us joy. We aren't aware of any of this unless we create space for stillness and reflection.

Where can you create stillness and reflection in your life? Is there a time you can set aside during the week to look back and see what you were proud of or what might have done differently? Are there moments during the day that you can just take a pause and be still? Where do you create these spaces in your current relationships? Do you pick up the phone reactively when there is the option to just be with someone in person in the moment?

This post is meant to be a touchstone in your day to stir up reflection in your life to see if there are spaces for you to begin to integrate this into your life to see what changes. Might you feel more connected to life itself?

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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