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Find Clarity in One Day

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Do you ever get so busy with the details of your life and the countless things you need to complete, that you end up feeling exhausted and disconnected?

The result: Your mind becomes clouded and unable to focus and you start to make poor decisions regarding your priorities. You end up working hard instead of working smart.

What do you do when this happens? Do you take the time to step out of the situation to regroup? Or do you continue with what you’re doing, all the while feeling that you’re running out of time, besides you still have a massive list of tasks to complete. In the past, my natural inclination was to do the latter and, in the end, I would be left feeling burnt out with my spirits down.

Lately I’ve been running around preparing for several major changes in my life. I’ve felt my mind becoming consumed by the problems revolving around these changes. My eating schedule became irregular and my decisions felt clouded. When my clarity started to fizzle, I found myself making decisions and judgments based on emotions rather than on logic or intuition arising out of clarity.

The following is a simple technique I’ve used to reconnect myself to what’s most important: my inner self. In doing so, Clarity came.

Clarity Day

I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a Spiritual Day or a Clarity Day, in which you spend the whole day disconnected from the information world and the many distractions of modern life, and start to connect within yourself.

If this sounds too mystical, don’t get caught up with the words, they are just linguistic symbols to communicate ideas. When you really get into such a day, it can become a source of great bliss and understanding of one’s self. During these times, we can experience tremendous personal growth, peace, and satisfaction.

This is also the perfect chance to clear out the noise and mental clutter that collects in our inner space from the hectic demands of our life. Through better understanding of ourselves and our surroundings, we gain more than clarity, we gain self confidence.

Similar to Self Dates or Alone Time, on a Clarity Day your goal is to spend an enjoyable day on your own and away from everyday distractions. Aim for minimal planning, so that you spend the day following your heart and enjoying the spontaneous expressions of the present moment.

Here’s an example of how I spent this past Saturday, when I deeply needed clarity and to connect with myself:

  • Basics – From 8am to 8pm. I was doing everything on my own, without friends or family. All distractions such as cell phones, home phones, computers, and TVs, were turned off.
  • Salon – I’ve always enjoyed getting my hair done. My favorite salon straightens my hair at each appointment. I sat there with my eyes closed and enjoyed being there. The girls kept asking me if I needed a magazine, and I would say “No thanks. I’m happy just sitting here.”
  • Walk – I walked out of the downtown Salon and drifted randomly uphill to the Capital Hill neighborhood. The day was so beautiful. I enjoyed looking up at the sky and passing by families of tourists and Saturday shoppers.
  • Café - I found a comfortable corner seat by the large windows at a local café. I pulled out my book and my journal. Periodically, I would sit back with my book in my lap and enjoy watching people. People are so interesting, and if you try, you can sense what people are feeling. I had a fantastic seat for people watching and deeply enjoyed the experience.
  • Meet a Stanger – I started talking with an interesting new friend who sat next to me. We talked about happiness, art, and creativity. It was very simulating and felt good to connect with another human being; they add meaning and dimension to your life.
  • Read – I read Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. A short but enlightening read. It is full of bite sized wisdom to help find the stillness within you.
  • Meditation – 35 minute guided meditation. When I opened my eyes after the meditation, I felt like I was seeing the world with new eyes. I felt calm and happy. I followed this up by lying down on my yoga mat and visualizing all of the things I am grateful for. I got up feeling incredibly centered and present.
  • Journaling – with my new found clarity, I wrote out my thoughts and feelings. In doing this, it gave me a chance to organize my thoughts (which were the source of my problems), along with options for dealing with them. I’ve learned that recording emotional events and personal realizations in a journal can be a fulfilling experience. Especially when you read the entries several years later.

I stepped out of the day in a peaceful state and had regained my clarity. I felt like my spirit had been recharged. It also became clear that my problems are only as big as I perceive them to be, in my mind.

 

 

How to Start

Despite the unplanned mantra of a Clarity Day, some level of planning is still beneficial for the sake of those around us. Here are some simple steps to start incorporating these blissful days into your life.

1. Time – Set aside a full day (8 hours minimum). Setup an appointment with yourself. Block out the time on your calendar, if necessary.

2. Communication – Let people know what you are doing, especially people you live with. You can either coordinate with your spouse, such that they are away from the house during this time, or you can plan to be away.

3. Turn off All Distractions – Turn off the TV, phones, blackberries, computers, radios and video games. Reduce exposure to public media: put away the newspapers, magazines, & fliers.

4. List Ideas – Answer the questions “What do I enjoy doing? What would I want to do if I had the time? What activities do I want to try?” List all your ideas down on paper. Making a list is not absolutely necessary, but it will encourage you to look forward to your day, and it also provides guidance if you aren’t sure what you want to do. The only rule is that these activities cannot involve the devices you’ve turned off in step 3.

5. Follow Your Heart – Go out and start doing these things. When you feel that you are done doing something, ask yourself “What do I feel like doing now?” If you are unsure, refer to the list you’ve created from step 4.

6. Awareness – Become present and enjoy everything that you are doing, as you are doing it. When you find your mind wondering off, bring your awareness back to the activity you are doing. For example, if you are taking a walk, bring awareness to your every step, or bring awareness to the details of your surroundings: the people passing by, the trees, the sky, the sidewalks, etc.

7. Remember to Breathe – Remember to take deep breathes. This will help you relax.

8. Wins & Realizations – Throughout the day, or at the end of the day, write out what you’ve learned about yourself, or other self realizations. Everything we experience can be taken as a learning experience; either as a lesson of appreciation or to gain wisdom and understanding.

 

Ideas for Clarity Day

The steps are pretty simple. Any activity that you enjoy not involving exposure to media will do wonders for your personal wellbeing.

clarity-day2.jpg
Photo by Kara Pecknold

If you need, here are some ideas of potentially enjoyable activities to get you started.

  • Brain Dump – Start writing on a piece of loose paper all the random thoughts coming out of your head. Write everything down, without editing, as fast as you can. It’s interesting to see the randomness of the clutter in our mind, often full of worry.
  • Hiking – Spend a few hours communing with nature.
  • Biking – Ride your bike around the city or park.
  • Working Out – Head to the gym and get a good workout.
  • Swimming & Running- great stress releases and excellent cardio workouts.
  • Writing in a Journal – Record your thoughts and current state of mind in a journal.
  • Yoga Class – Take a yoga class at your local gym or yoga studio. Alternatively, get a beginner’s yoga DVD. I recommend Rodney Yee.
  • Book Store – Browse through a bookstore.
  • Clean Up – Take some time to clean up and clear out the physical clutter in your living space.
  • Read a Book – Curl up with a good book you’ve wanted to read. I prefer inspirational books on these types of days.
  • Reorganize – Reorganize your bookshelf or CD collection
  • Listen to Music – Put on something you enjoy and try just sitting there listening to the music. Put all your awareness into the sound, and take notice of how your body is responding to the sound.
  • Meditation and Breathing – Try a guided meditation or spend 10-30 minutes in silence. Close your eyes and put all your awareness onto your breath. When you find your mind wandering off with random thoughts (and it will), simply let go of any self-criticism and return your focus back to your breath.
  • People Watch – Sit quietly at a café, restaurant or park, and observe the people around you, the people walking past you.
  • Draw a Picture – draw or paint. If you believe that you can’t draw, I highly recommend this book.
  • Take 100 Photos – Select a random number, say 100. Go out with a camera and take 100 pictures.
  • Sitting Outside – On a nice day, sit on your patio or balcony with a refreshing drink. Alternatively, go to a peaceful park. Feel yourself relaxing. 
  • Communing with Nature – If you have access to a body of water or a stream, or views of mountains, or access to a forest, be with them. Sit in front of them and admire their enormity. Connecting with nature helps us to connect with ourselves.
  • Spend Time with your Pet – Take your pet on a walk. Play with them and pet them. If you have a dog, teach them a new trick or take them to a doggie class.
  • Stretch
  • Discover Your Life Purpose
  • Goal Setting – Write out your goals. For each goal, list out a set of sub goals which contributes to the larger goal. For each sub goal, list out a set of small projects to help you achieve them. For each project, list out a series of tasks and action items. Prioritize the tasks. Schedule to execute the tasks.
  • Soak in a Bath – This can be quite a relaxing and enjoyable experience. I prefer to listen to soft music and do some simple visualization while in the tub.
  • Visit the Zoo – Random, but can be fun. Brings out the child in you.
  • Simplify Your Life – Gather unwanted or unused stuff into a box. Donate it.
  • Visit the Library - Remember to avoid the magazine section on this day.
  • Gardening – Spend a few hours puttering in the backyard.
  • Gratitude – Focus on the things you are thankful for. You can either list them out verbally or write them out on a piece of paper.
  • Get a Massage – Threat yourself to a massage. You can often get discounted prices from a massage school clinic.
  • Symphony – Attend a symphony or local music event.
  • Meet 2 Strangers – Make it a goal to meet X number of strangers. I picked 2 randomly.
  • Do your laundry
  • Mindful Eating - Cook a healthy meal and practice eating mindfully: Take a small bite, put the fork down, and focus all your attention on the food in your mouth. Pick up the fork only when you have completely swallowed the last bite. When your mind wanders, bring your awareness back to the food or your breath.
  • Dance in the Living Room

What are some things you’ve wanted to do, but have not found the time to do? What would you like to do on your solitude day? Share your thoughts with us in the comments. See you there!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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54 thoughts on Find Clarity in One Day

  1. dee

    came to you from zen habits—like the style of the few articles I read…..always looking for clarity……

  2. It’s time we think about returning to the state of “Human Beings”
    instead of “Human Doings”

  3. honesty

    Looks like you deleted my first comment relating to your “dianetics” ads that ran alongside this article.

    it also appears you’ve removed the dianetics ads … good for you. hopefully this is a permanent remedy.

    ********************
    REPLY

    I don’t have control over the google ads that gets run. I’ve just requested for scientology ads to not show via google. Hopefully that worked.

  4. While obtaining a whole day for clarity day is difficult with kids it can be done in small doses also, I can attest to that. It’s a good idea to give your partner some time alone away from the kids to “decompress” as I call it. We do that for each other every now and then, it works wonders.
    I like the idea of brain dump, I need to do that more often. I keep ideas and stuff written down but a total dump of everything on my mind would do wonders. I also try to take 100 photos, not daily mind you but I shoot a heap of photos, it’s therapy for me for sure.
    Great read!
    Zendad
    http://www.zendad.net

  5. Wow! What an incredibly thorough post. You covered pretty much everything here, Tina. Well done!

    I’m the sort to get sucked into my work/the computer, so every day I take a few minutes at least to walk through the apartment and put everything in its place, plus I wash the dishes.

    When I don’t do this I slip farther into AlexWorld and it becomes increasingly difficult to stay connected to the real world (plus it really irritates the bf).

    Cheers,
    Alex

  6. Nice ideas. What I do when I need a day off and what really helps me relax… I turn my favourite TV show ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and watch it all day long. At the end of the day, I feel great. Laughter heals, as the say. :)

  7. I hadn’t heard of a Clarity Day before, but I certainly have taken what I call seamless days: days where hours flow one into the other without any concern for appointments and duties.

    These are wonderful for refreshing and clarifying.

    Thanks for all your suggestions for getting into this place.

  8. Thanks for the tip. I am scheduling one now.

  9. Dear Tina. Thank you for the very wonderful tips and how to easily apply them. With all the tools we have at our will to use, it must make one’s head spin trying to decide :-)

    Something I’ve been thinking about trying is to have a Ferris Bueller day, but instead of doing something that’s attracting attention like crashing a parade, I’d like to give appreciative attention to someone. I’d like to find a place to relax, such as at a cafe or people watching place, talk with a person or group of people, and offer and share inspiring stories or events that helps empower them to look at their dreams and goals with a wider perspective. I feel that I would like to experience happiness by giving it away to someone. Then from the experience I can celebrete it as a win for the day and feel good about how I helped another person to feel good about themselves. I’d also like to enjoy reflecting on the day in an Onsen, having some Affogatto ice cream.

  10. Rob

    Hey Tina,
    Great advice as always. I take a couple of clarity hours, you could say, every day. This seems to work for me, but when I am working away from the internet, when I am writing & recording my songs I find that this is my best way of clearing my head because after a while a song just pops into my head and there on paper is a new creation, which always makes me feel successful and fulfilled, like I honoured my life’s contract to do what I am supposed to be doing. In turn this prioritizes all the things going on in my life.
    I think a clarity day may be a worthwhile exercise for me to take occasionally too though.
    As always. Thank you.

  11. It’s incredible how easily we forget to do some of the things you’ve mentioned which are virtually effortless, and really don’t take much time at all.

  12. I think I will plan to take a Clarity Day the first day I get back from taking my daughter to college and return home to an empty nest. Just hope I have one of those unusual nights where I sleep through the night. Much easier to “see things clearly” when I do.

  13. A good idea!!! Clarity day is the very thing I need so much

  14. I thin those are nice way to rejuvenate after a stressful weekdays.

  15. Guo Jingjing became the most successful diver in Olympic history Sunday by winning the women’s springboard event. It was the second goal medal of these Games and the sixth of her career. We also found that she kept her tiffany jewelry during the game and she told us that sometimes a good jewelry can give her luck and let her find clarity.

  16. Guo Jingjing became the most successful diver in Olympic history Sunday by winning the women’s springboard event. It was the second goal medal of these Games and the sixth of her career. We also found that she kept her during the game and she told us that sometimes a good jewelry can give her luck and let her find clarity.

  17. Guo Jingjing became the most successful diver in Olympic history Sunday by winning the women’s springboard event. It was the second goal medal of these Games and the sixth of her career. We also found that she kept her tiffany jewelry during the game and she told us that sometimes a good jewelry can give her luck and let her find clarity.

  18. I bootstrap clarity each day with a question “what are 3 outcomes I want today?” It’s simple but effective.

  19. Wow! What an incredibly thorough post.
    I think a clarity day may be a worthwhile exercise for me to take occasionally too though.

  20. Dea

    This is a really great article with some wonderful, implementable suggestions.

    Thanks for making this contribution!

  21. cloudyview

    Thanks for this. Unless my Sunday gets filled up, I will be doing something I’ve not done in years that day. Turning off my cell phone.

    The only times my phone has been off for literally the past 5 years are when I was flying or when the batteries died.

  22. Sunita Saldhana

    Really love reading what you write. I have been feeling terribly overwhelmed lately and your ideas have helped a lot. thanks

  23. There is noticeably a bunch to realize about this.
    I believe you made certain goo points in features also.BTW,I found a great place to learn how to use some softwares to make money

  24. I don’t normally comment but I gotta say regards for the post on this great one : D.

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