Posts Tagged ‘busy’

Don’t Just Do Something…Stand There!

December 18, 2018

I once wrote a poem titled ‘STOP!’ and was reminded of it recently.

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I had a free day, except for needing to do one hours work and yet I’d been on the go since I got up at 6.30am. It was 2pm and I hadn’t stopped. I’d shopped at the local farmers market, then dropped my vegies home before heading straight out again to attend my weekly Qigong class. There I enjoyed 1.5 hours of gentle, mindful, relaxing moving meditation. Daily practice of qigong and weekly classes all year have helped me in my quest to learn how to STOP and be fully present in each moment. It’s helped me to notice how unrelaxed I feel most of the time, to consciously relax my body and mind and notice my surroundings.

After class I jumped in my car and headed off to tackle a list of ‘day off things to do’.

IMG_E1223By 1pm I had ticked 6 things off my list and even though there was more to do I was getting hungry. The water in the Brunswick river looked crystal clear and inviting but instead of a swim I headed home to make lunch so I could keep going.

Whilst preparing lunch I washed the dishes, started dinner preparations, emptied the compost bin, tried the cushion covers I’d found in Brunswick Heads on the couch and then washed and put them on the line to dry.

After eating lunch I paused at the sink and thought about what I should do next, my work or head out to do more shopping and errands?

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That’s when I heard, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there!’.

I recognised the voice of my inner guidance. I stopped and paused and remembered a poem I’d written 20 years ago when I was studying, called… ‘STOP!’. Curious, I went looking for it, finding it in a dust covered folder that contains my writing.

I sat on the couch on my tree hugged verandah and read:

STOP!

Pay a bill, buy some food, return that call

Until there is no time for me at all

Read, study, clean, shop

I go until I am about to drop!

 

STOP!

People ask, ‘and what do you DO?’

‘Well I’m not working, but I’m very busy’,

Sidestepping silent judgements…

from who?

 

Too much to do, time is a fool

I’ll stop when I’ve finished…what?

The thought of stopping scares me.

What if there is nothing there?

STOP! NOW!

 

Loosen up those expectations,

Run and jump and make mistakes.

Play with words, ideas and colour

Be spontaneous…JUST PLAY!

 

Skate on the ice, double back flips in the air

I can do anything in my imagination.

Beyond the illusion of toil and pain

Is the fun of life as a game.

 

Trees around me everywhere,

We converse with ease and flair.

I breathe out, they breathe in,

Blossoms dancing in the wind.

 

Sky above, so blue and clear,

Soaring birds who have no fear.

I lighten up and spread my wings

Life is full of exciting things!

 

I stand within the stillness of stopping.

Peace and joy permeate the space

I feel excitement, joy, the urge to create

Everything is possible…when I stop.

 

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I opened my journal and began to write.

Writing is something I enjoy, it gives me pleasure and insights that make navigating my life easier and yet I rarely ‘find time’ to do it. It’s always at the bottom of my ever present To Do list… along with meditation and drawing. All these activities enrich me, yet why do they not rate a higher priority than shopping for cushion covers or doing the dishes? Good question. Our society certainly values and rewards doing over being, visible results over unstructured time and self care. Why is it so? An answer came:

 

“Writing, drawing and meditation all require stepping into the unknown; stopping, opening up and listening. You enter into a dialogue where not all is known or understood. Fear of the discomfort this brings keeps you in the sphere of the known.  

Yet it’s by stepping into this place of dialogue and openness that new possibilities can emerge, new energy, new life, new creations.

Factoring in spaces for exploration allows you to create new things beyond the known and your limited understanding. Trust the process and you will be rewarded. Play time is essential for growth. “

 

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How can I overcome my resistance to prioritising play and ‘being’ time? Can I become comfortable being uncomfortable?

I was counselled by my wise inner voice to begin with 10 minutes of writing and meditation before bed each night, a time to be in a process of discovery and deep listening, not focussed on getting a result. What will I find ? I’m curious to find out. Perhaps that everything is possible…when I stop…and listen.

How about you? What helps you to stop ? What do you notice when you do?

STOPPING BUSY

August 21, 2014

“Hi. How have you been?“. “Busy”, is an often heard response. I caught myself saying it recently and felt a slight twinge of something as I said it.  Justification? Pride? Our society has become addicted to ‘busy’, our worth is measured by activity or output, doing has become more valued than being. An excellent article in the New York Times in 2012 called it ‘The Busy Trap‘. We are in a rush to…where? I’ve found that being busy is not necessarily related to how much I have to do in a day. Stopping can be  scary. What’s left when I stop?  I’m on a quest to find and restore my lost ‘off button’. I’ve learned good health depends on it.

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In our modern world we’re all exposed to an increasing amount of environmental toxins that accumulate in our bodies if not released and this toxic load underpins many chronic health conditions. Constant busyness creates stress that gets in the way of that release as many essential and restorative bodily functions are put on hold. When we don’t deeply relax and switch off regularly in healthy ways,  it means in essence we wear ourselves out.

 

My highest health priority is to detoxify my body after being exposed to chemicals at work, and supporting my liver, kidneys and cells through nutritional, herbal and other natural methods is only part of the picture. At an early age my fight and flight response was triggered and whilst any threat is long gone my system does not naturally switch ‘off’ and this is  exacerbated by living in a society that values constant doing.IMG_1223

I’m feeling grateful for the choice I have made to work at half pace from home right now and the time this is giving me to reconnect with myself and delve inside, to loosen up the edges and identify ways of being in the world that are toxic and unhelpful… even damaging. I’m noticing the tension that I create for myself, even when there aren’t a lot of demands on my time.

 

For example, a health practitioner recently recommended that I spend some time relaxing after my morning walk. Relax? Normally I get back home and get straight into hastily preparing and eating breakfast, then immediately launch into whatever I’m doing that day, often rushing out the door. Rest and relax? Gosh that feels challenging. IMG_0713I’m gradually retraining myself.

On some mornings I’ve allowed myself to lay down and deeply relax after my walk and I feel much more energised, relaxed and focussed afterwards. More present. I’ll confess that the insistent list of things that I believe need my immediate attention beckon me on other mornings. It’s a work in progress.

Tuesdays and Thursdays have been my days ‘off’, unstructured days with all possibilities, yet my mind gets busy, wanting to work out what to ‘do’ in that day to get the most value from that precious time. A few weeks ago I even had a day off ‘to do list’. Oh No! A list of things to DO on my day off. Then I felt the pressure to decide what to do first! A relaxing day suddenly became unrelaxed. How can I retrain myself when my habits are so ingrained? Time to call in a specialist. Enter Kylie Martin.

 

I’ve started going to Kylie’s deep rest therapy classes. She says she ‘is a specialist in stress related illness and body-mind conditions’ and has healed herself using these methods. HIMG_0270er two hour classes are about deep release and relaxation, switching off the nervous system, to help release old patterns of holding that we may have carried for a lifetime. I found myself in the first class thinking impatiently, ‘well there’s not much going on, we’re just laying here, and I am paying for this and how many people are in the room? That means….!’. Of course stopping was the point, physically and mentally and I eventually got there.

Kylie’s given me homework, including inviting me to gift myself every day with a modified Shavasana relaxation.   Shavasana relaxation is the integrative period of stillness at the end of a yoga class. I’m noticing the accumulated effects weaving into my everyday life and a sense of stillness beginning to infiltrate my body. Let me talk you through the process in case you’d like to try it. I’ve been doing it at the end of the day before I cook dinner.

 

Grab a towel, an eye pillow and some blankets and put some nice relaxing music on. Because it’s winter and a bit chilly and it’s part of the process to have weight on top of you, I lay on my bed under my doona with my feet wrapped in a blanket and pushed up against the bed head (or wall). Having your feet against a wall helps your nervous system to feel safe to relax. You could also lay on a mat on the floor. Having your knees slightly bent over a cushion is optional and IIMG_0398 prefer it that way.  Having weight on top of you in the form of blankets also helps your nervous system relax, so lay some folded blankets over you.

Put the towel around your neck like you are carrying it to the shower and then lift the ends up and cross them over your forehead and wrap the ends behind your head. You are wrapping your head up so it feels nice and cosy and held. Extremely relaxing for the nervous system. Put an eye pillow on your eyes and lay with your hands, palm upwards, by your side. Now relax. It feels like you’re cocooned. Focus on noticing and letting go of any holding, notice your breathing and scan through your body, releasing tension, bit by bit by bit. It feels delicious. I do it for 15 to 40 minutes.

 

A popular quote doing the rounds is ‘stop the glorification of busy’. Let’s replace it with the power of stopping and the miracle of being. I am beginning to re-program myself to cure my busy habit and develop new nourishing habits. I am learning how to deeply relax and literally switch off to build a healthy and resilient body and to connect to what’s important ratheIMG_1133r than what I might have thought was urgent. Many years ago I wrote a poem about this topic unsurprisingly called Stop!. The last stanza says:

I stand within the stillness of stopping

Peace and joy permeate the space

I feel excitement, joy, the urge to create

Everything is possible…when I stop.

 

Kylie told me that she gives herself a period of deep rest every day and she is able to achieve a lot without depleting herself. She is now productive, energised and relaxed rather than busy and exhausted. Sounds good to me.  So how have you been?