There was a moment over the last few weeks that really stands out to me.
I was sitting at my kitchen table. My laptop was open and I was working. I had my phone next to me and I was also texting friends and checking email. My dinner was on the table and I was eating. I had music playing in the background, laundry going, and I’m pretty sure the dishwasher was running.
To be clear, I was working while eating while texting while reading email while listening to music while doing laundry and the dishes.
At some point I realized my insides were vibrating and my energy was so frenetic I felt like I was going to lift right off my chair and fly through the roof!
And reading back over that list, is it any wonder?
And yet, this is a daily occurrence for most of us. We have just come to accept that this is how life is.
Maybe not. The day after the multi-tasking from hell incident, I decided to see what would happen if I simply did one thing at a time. Eating breakfast meant just that. The solitary act of eating. Not eating and packing my son’s lunch. Not grabbing a bite and watering the plants. Simply . Eating.
I did feel calmer and less like a runaway train about to crash into a wall. But this is not a post about mindfulness and slowness ( although I love both of those).
This is a post about one of the main reasons I believe we all operate at break neck speed these days and call it normal.
Our busy-ness numbs us.
Yes. It is as much an anesthesia as a glass of wine ( or three), a good food binge, or popping a valium. Except you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to be compulsively doing and the culture will praise the fuck out of you for being so productive.
When we are moving and going and planning and list checking, we don’t have to feel our loneliness or despair or grief. We can keep the fear and the anxiety and the heartbreak at bay if we just stay so busy that we drop into bed at night to tired to think, let alone feel.
It is a way that we avoid ourselves and our own heart.
And when I slowed down enough, I realized that’s exactly what I had been doing.
Big changes are coming for me in 2020. And I am afraid. And anxious. And excited. And then afraid again. Part of me is so ready and part of me wants to cling to what I know like Linus and his blanket. And I had been using all the “tasks” to bury all that deep down.
That shit never works. Sometimes i wish it did. But it never does.
Giving myself that space opened the door just enough for the feelings to surface. And they did. They still are. And I am tending to them, welcoming them, acknowledging them and trying hard to love on them.
I don’t do it perfectly. And you won’t either.
But will you will do is ( start to ) create a beautiful relationship with yourself.
And that is worth all the to-do lists in the world!
INVITATION: Slow down and give your life some breathing room. What feelings may arise that you have been avoiding with compulsive over doing?