Winter. Here in the northern hemisphere it is in full swing. Much of nature goes quiet, and our bodies are called to do the same.
Our society is a completely different story. While the crazy hustle and bustle of the holidays is behind us, there’s resolutions to set, goals to map out…it becomes a time laced with “do, do, do.”
From what I see as an entrepreneur in online circles, this is not so uniquely American as I had initially thought. It is more of a sign of our times than a sign of our culture specifically.
It’s as though there’s this belief that the busier we are, the better. It’s like there’s a sense of pride with being busy. As though to slow down, go within, and be still we are somehow not being productive or successful. Or that by not doing, we’re lazy.
Do you find this creeping into your own life?
When you slow down, what’s the unsupportive peanut gallery nagging you with? (Mine usually starts in on aaaaaall the things I need to get done, how my to-do list “should” come first.)
In talking with a number of people recently, some common threads that aren’t really serving the greater good became really apparent.
- Being busy is worn like a badge of honor.
- Busy-ness is a great way to check out, to ignore what’s truly going on.
- Being overly busy creates and perpetuates victim mode.
Let’s break it down.
Wearing busy like a badge of honor.
When I hear people talk about all the things (that they do, that they have their kids involved in, all the organizations and events and…things) there’s this underlying sense of pride at how much they can take on and get done. Now, if they’re like that little pink bunny and they got the go-go-go energy, that’s great. But most people are running on fumes, tapping the adrenals to the point of burnout. If all those things are fulfilling, great! But when there’s stress and physical breakdown because of them, it might be time to prune. You have permission to still give yourself a “busy beaver merit badge.” Because at the core of it, doing or not doing, you are enough.
Busy as a way to check out
There will be times where you’re busier than others. That’s the ebb and flow of life, right? In working with clients (and for myself) when that busy-ness becomes chronic, it often is a way to check out. If you’re busy, you can’t slow down long enough to feel that sadness, or grief, or fear, or loneliness, or…(insert whatever you’ve been trying to keep at bay here.)
What if you were to slow down and feel the feels? What would happen?
Busy creates victim mode
If you constantly say how busy you are, what do you start to believe? Just how crazy busy you are, right?
When I’ve asked people who controls their calendar, I often get a response of “But I didn’t have a choice.” This is usually what goes through my head (ok, it sometimes comes out of my mouth): “Wait. What? No choice? Who OWNS your schedule? Did “no” suddenly get extracted from your vocabulary?”
It’s a bit blunt, but here’s the deal. Taking back your power starts with owning that you are in charge of your life and your schedule. Are there things that you need to do? Yes. For example, if you have kids and it’s parent teacher conferences, they are at a set time. You can’t say “no that doesn’t work for me, can we move them to the following Thursday?” And they might be important for you to go to. An obligation if you will.
Here’s the kicker. That is still a choice. You could not go. That’s a choice, too. For you, it may be that not going isn’t an option based on what you’ve created as priorities and values. But that part was a choice, too.
(Are you following me on this?)
So the question becomes, are you going to be a victim of (and to) “busy” or are you going to take your power back?
I’m not saying these are necessarily easy, nor are they hard. They are simply a choice.
And if you were to listen to the call of winter, you might find that now is the perfect time to ditch the fraud of busy, carve out some time on your calendar to surrender to the stillness.
You may find your body and spirit have something to share.
Have you been able to ditch the fraud of busy? What steps did you take to stop the chronic busy-ness?