Have you noticed how busyness in this modern world became a thing to brag about? Every time I ask people how they are doing, the answer is ” I’m good but very busy. Just running around like a headless chicken.” And have you notice that most people are never busy enough to make sure that everyone around them knows how busy they are. They are posting it on social media, text it to friends and they talk about being busy all day long. As if being busy is a validation for their existence, their hard work in life and it qualifies them as a good, important citizen of the world. We have to be busy, or seem busy, to fool ourselves and others, that what we are indeed doing something important. So important that if we had stopped doing it, the whole world would collapse without our assistance.
In reality, most of us are just hiding behind this busyness. Hiding from our real feelings, our real pain and our own selves. Because if we had to slow down even for a day, silence our minds for a second, uncomfortable thoughts would pop up to the surface. Thoughts that are silenced with busyness on an average day. But in the silence they come up, full frontal to the surface, and we will have to hear them out, listen to them and deal with them. Acknowledge that they exist. And most of us are not ready to do that. So we bury ourselves in 16 hr work days, working out all day, growing a mile long to-do list, and at the end, drinking/smoking/etc so that we could handle the silence when alone.
I had two part time jobs and when I wasn’t buried in work, I had the kids to distract me from me. I did it while I could, but the beginning of this year I celebrated my birthday. January is my birth month and I did the unexpected. I looked at my finances and I realized that I don’t necessary HAVE TO work both jobs with full force, and I will still stay afloat somehow. I can take a break. I can give myself the luxury for a whole month to spend some time with myself and see what arises. After a little struggle from the mind, thinking ” but what are you gonna do? isn’t that too much of a luxury for you? how dare you being so lazy? (this thought came with my mom’s tone of voice 🙂 ) you are gonna be wasting your days when you could be earning money. blah, blah, blah”…
But I still did it. I cut my hours way back at my first job (that was stressing me out) and there I was, sitting face to face with me, myself and I with all that time on my hands.
At first I was struggling. Gosh, what am I gonna do? Funny how when I am very busy, I think I would do soooo many things if only I had time, but as soon as free time presents itself, I am lost and can’t think of one thing to do. Thankfully I didn’t have to think much, because as you know it, life is happening with or without your permission, and so it did in my case as well. Life was happening and I watched it happen, and after a deep breath, I even engaged in it wholeheartedly. I did everything it presented to me to do. I went on hikes, got a massage (haven’t had one in years), went to a sauna, I did yoga, I purged the whole house and got rid of so many things, I hung out with friends, went on walks, read books, went shopping for myself (which I haven’t done in months), started writing again, picked up pole dancing as an exercise and lived every moment as it came. I took every moment without judgement but let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Judgment arises whether you like it or not, want it or not. It comes up. Self criticism, self hatred, in a form of ” you’ll never be enough if you don’t push hard, if you don’t work all the time, if you don’t make a lot of money, if you don’t figure out what you want to do in your life, time is ticking, quick, quick, hurry up, you gotta make something out of your life like yesterday.”
You know what? In reality, these thought were not new visitors. They were always there in the back of my mind, I was just too busy to notice them and to hear them out. And now that nothing was distracting me from them, I could hear them loud and clear.
So what am I gonna do with them? Believe all that they say and run back behind my cover of work and distraction? Hell no. No matter how much my habits and fears were screaming yes.
Instead I sat down with them, listened to them, heard them out and noticed them all. Then I stopped and asked if they were true? All the accusations, all the fear based concepts, all the threats of the mind…. turned out none of them were true. Turned out, all the hard wired, deeply drilled thoughts, concepts and “truths” were nothing but a lie. A lie I believed for 3 decades without questioning them once.
Once I discovered the true nature of my thoughts, ideas that were driving me crazy for so long, I gave permission to myself to just relax into being. Just relax into my body, my mind, my soul, my present moment, and stop future tripping about “what will be?” and thinking that I am in control of the whole universe. Instead I made my number 1 focus to do what seem, feels right to me. To listen to me more, to make myself a priority (which again, in today’s world, in mommyland, it is not a well-accepted idea) and by getting rid of soul and time sucking activities in my life, I provided the space and time for new ideas to pop up in my life. And they did. They had to. Something had to fill up the void that it created. And what a ride it has been. I am enjoying my days, I learnt to enjoy the art of non-doing, the gift of being, the listening, (to myself and others), the weightless being, the less panicking, and the more relaxing days.
There is life beyond busyness. Matter of fact, that’s where real life really starts.
So dare to “unbusy” yourself, and be brave enough to rest, relax, play and listen once in a while. It is worth it.
“It takes courage to say yes to rest & play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” (Brene Brown)