Halfternoon: How to Swim in Lake Me - Share your Halfternoon

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Mindfulness with Added Allure:The Pursuit and Potential of a Halfternoon.

The way we acknowledge time to ourselves can be as important as how we choose to spend it.

I was a reluctant relaxer.  I was a petulant meditator and impatient yoga partaker, willing it over to get back to getting things done. I persisted (frustratedly).  Balance and all.

Then one day (twelve years ago) I was walking through Soho Square and I saw my friend Justin laying on the grass.  He was an A&R at a major record label and was about to sign the biggest band in London.  I was rushing to a meeting. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked, hoping for a quick reply.  ‘Taking a swim in lake me.’ He said, lifting his head, shielding his eyes from the sun, and then plopping back down and ignoring me.  It was as simple as that.  

I scuttled off and I never forgot.

Lake Me.  A vessel of pure indulgence.  A void of whatever you want.  Nothing even.  Who knew there was such a place?  

As I countered my cultural stress by striving for ‘balance’ I had neglected the restorative joy of time spent doing what I wanted to do.  My days were productively sliced and proportioned, but each piece over-served a purpose.  The missing slice was fun.

It took me a long time to learn what I now believe; that balance is a subjective pursuit, and I needed to suss my own symmetry to achieve it, not subscribe with resistance to someone else’s idea.

As part of the ‘Intrigued’ research at Lifestyle Coaching House I asked busy women from London to New York how they ‘Swim in Lake Me’.  It is my hope that through shared awareness the more frenetic among us might suss the symmetry to tend to our own ratio of requirements, and reap the rewards accordingly.  

A Swim in Lake Me for this purpose is defined as a ‘halfternoon’ - half-an-afternoon to oneself. A Halfternoon is entirely subjective in choice of pursuit, genre, cost, location, refreshment, and company (or lack of).  One woman’s museum is another’s US Weekly.  So be it.

How to Take a Swim in Lake Me

The Form and Function of a Halfternoon


1.   A Subjective Pursuit

A Swim in Lake Me is entirely dependent on self-definition.  A halfternoon is subjective in choice of pursuit, genre, cost, location, refreshments, company (or lack of) and and completely down to personal taste.

There can be an assumption in these information overloaded days to overdraw inspiration and subscribe too heavily to others ideas of what a good time entails.  Shake off the instal-sludge and and retreat from it.  While inspiration is a good thing, not all solace is to be sought from someone else’s standpoint.   Design your own halfternoon.


2.  No Guilt and No Quasi-Productive Multitasking

There is a tendency among the city frazzled, stretched mothers, the over achieving and over extended to scrimp and pinch the hours so lean that multitasking becomes the norm.  Unless you find true soul boosting joy in such activity leave the satisfaction of checking boxes for another time.  This is not a place for guilt at taking time out nor for general productivity.  


3.  Acknowledgment

Acknowledgment is key to a successful swim.  With acknowledgement comes value and appreciation.  This is time for you and it is time that counts.   Acknowledging the symbolism in giving time to oneself is essential to reap its restorative powers.  A Swim in Lake Me is mindfulness with added allure:  love what you’re doing and recognize its power to revive you.  When we acknowledge and appreciate the magic, it stays with us and supports us through whatever crap could be waiting around the corner.


4.  Ritual

Time is precious and how we get to spend it is not always of our preference or decision.  Ritual by trade involves regularity. Make a regular commitment to the process, whether it is once a week or twice a month.  Treat your practice with the respect you would were it a commitment to another.  Recognize the positive impact that the process can bring, not least the empowering process of making the commitment of an uplifting experience to yourself.

 Sam Smith

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