Staying Connected in Busy Times

by Kim on July 7, 2016 · 10 comments

Staying connected in busy times

One thing I learned while traveling was to really hone in to the thing that essentially makes me me— my inner truth. It was this truth that first launched me out into the world, that guided me as I navigated a new reality as a traveler and held in its hand like a warm beating heart the hope of my book and my dream as a writer. It was this truth that led me to become a mother and this truth that pointed me home again. In the future it will nudge me somewhere new and when it does I’ll follow. I’ve trusted my life to this truth and in return it has led me safely across the maddening street every single time.

My challenge now, though, is to hold on to my truth connection in the busy, beautiful, bountiful everyday. While traveling it was easy to check in with myself because I had uninterrupted time to think and daydream and explore new ideas. But communing with my inner voice from my urban rental while the baby is crying, the dryer is buzzing and a deadline is looming? That’s harder.

Maybe you’ve found the same thing to be true in your own life lately? If so, I want to share the tools I’ve found that help me stay connected and inspired and grateful for these busy times.

Gratitude, baby

When I feel overwhelmed or tired, or in those moments when I just want to sit down for a moment but can’t, I take a deep breath and count my blessings. Almost always, I find that the things that keep me so busy (baby, work, social commitments) are also the things that I am most grateful for. In the same vein, I have this quote by Paulo Coelho tacked to the board above my desk and read it every morning:

“Reprogram yourself every minute of each day with thoughts that make you grow. When you’re feeling irritated or confused try to laugh at yourself. When you’re washing up, pray. Be thankful that there are plates to be washed; that you cooked and laid the table. Imagine the millions of people at this moment who have absolutely nothing to wash up and no one for whom to lay the table.”


Over the past few years I’ve had periods when I was committed to meditation and others when it fell to the wayside. But I’ve found that when I meditate just 10 minutes a day I’m more grounded and peaceful and less anxious than I am otherwise. Recently, I discovered the Headspace app which has made it easy for me to rededicate myself to the practice.


For me, meditation is about clearing the mind and visualization is about focusing it. When I was writing my book proposal I spent 10 minutes each morning visualizing my book on the shelves of my favorite bookstore. I focused my energy so hard I swear I practically willed that book into existence. Back when I was a serious runner, I’d visualize my upcoming races and the feeling of being fast and light on my feet. Visualization is about giving focused attention to your goals and dreams and I am a diehard believer in its power.


Finding an hour each day to exercise is essential to my mental wellbeing. I try to exercise alone- without music- because otherwise I’m distracted from my thoughts. But when that’s not possible I’ll put the baby in her stroller, pop my headphones in and go. On those days I’ll listen to podcasts that jog my creativity. I like Strangers and The Moth for the storytelling, On Being for the subject matter and The School of Greatness with Louis Howes (his guests are hit and miss with me but his interviews with Elizabeth Gilbert and Lisa Nichols in particular were amazing).


On my best days I find twenty minutes (or more!) to devote to my journal. Other days, I spend a minute or two just making a quick list of funny conversations I’ve had, places I want to travel or, more recently, what my kid is up to (Climbing stairs! New teeth!). Taking time to pause and sit with my journal slows me down and helps me focus on the most important things.

So, those are the tools that help me stay grounded when life is so full that it splashes past the brim and spills over (that’s a blessing, sometimes I just need a reminder). What helps you? I’d love to hear in the comments below.



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca @ Rebe With a Clause July 8, 2016 at 7:51 am

Thanks so much for writing and sharing this, Kim!

When I first saw the words “Staying Connected” in the title, my initial thought was that it’d be about staying connected with others—but I love the view of self-reflection and being true to one’s self as staying connected with yourself. (I’d never thought of it that way before, as being connected.)

These are all very important tools; glad to see gratitude up top! It’s not new (so it’s likely you’ve already listened to it), but I recommend Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast too. 🙂
Rebecca @ Rebe With a Clause recently posted..Published: My Korean food guide and learning languages with a growth mindset


Kim July 12, 2016 at 6:43 am

I’ll have to try Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons again. I listened to it when she first started the podcast but for some reason I stopped- going to download some now!


kyenne July 8, 2016 at 7:55 am

thank you for summing up “what really matters / what really works”. the only thing i would add as i grow older is the wisdom of waiting to respond… so many times when i get triggered by someone’s actions, words or behavior, i’ve learned that waiting allows a deeper response to generate instead of a reaction (which is usually all about me). or no response at all – it deepens into “what can i do differently?” or as thich nhat hahn put it: ‘how can i love you better?’.

your words are so welcome; thank you again (as always). it’s raining in portland btw.


Kim July 12, 2016 at 6:45 am

Oh man, I hear you! Actually, this was a huge struggle for me and I am learning to get better at it (it helps that I no longer have a desk job- I used to respond in haste too quickly when I had a ton of co-workers ;)). Also, I’m going to write that down: “How can I love you better?” How amazing is that? Thanks for sharing and give PDX a rainy hug for me.


Susan Fischer July 8, 2016 at 4:12 pm

For sure, having gratitude! Focusing on what I have and being thankful for it all, helps me stay positive. I read or heard that the greatest prayer you can ever utter is Thank You. I find myself saying “thank you, God” many times over in a day, sometimes for remembering to put my grocery list in my purse, or even when I do forget things, like yesterday; had to return to house two times (each time doing the 3 flights of steps to my door) before actually being able to leave because of forgetting things. My thought was – thanks for the exercise!


Kim July 12, 2016 at 6:46 am

I love that! Seriously, thanks for the exercise! It’s all about how we choose to see things. XO


Ali July 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

Great list, Kim! For some reason I find meditating so hard, but I should really give it another try. I’m so happy for you that you’re able to make time for yourself and carve out space for staying connected with yourself. I think it’s all too easy for all of us to let that stuff slide and just go through the motions every day.
Ali recently posted..3 Days in Prague: An Itinerary


Kim July 17, 2016 at 7:18 am

It IS hard! Really hard! I think you’ll like the Headspace app, it kind of eases you into things.


Kristen July 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

I love this! I’m always trying to convince people to journal. It has definitely helped me keep my head on straight and my thoughts a little more coherent. And gratitude/perspective is easily the most important change I ever made in my life. Glad to see you’ve included such fantastic practices on this list! And I always love discovering new podcasts 🙂
Kristen recently posted..Getting Reacquainted With the Mountains


Kim July 17, 2016 at 7:20 am

Hi Kristen. Yep, I think if I had to name *the most* transformational thing in my life it would be gratitude- it kind of flips every single situation on it’s head. And journaling is such a staple in my life– I know it doesn’t work for everyone but it definitely works for me.


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