Hello Beautiful Souls- Full disclosure…typically when I have a subject that I want to write about, something I feel strongly about and think my readers can benefit from, I write and rewrite and read and reread and tweak the message until it comes alive and can stand on its own. I sit back and close the lid on my laptop and sometimes feel there is something missing. I walk away and fill my time with other responsibilities. Usually while I am away from the keyboard, usually while I am not trying so hard, the answer comes. And just like today, most days the reason, the lesson that’s asked to be put on a page is FOR me. I had to laugh a little to myself as I recalled a singer/song writer speaking about a song he had written. He was asked, “Is this song about you?” and his reply was “No, I really don’t know who it’s about.” But as he really thought about the lyrics and read through the verse, much to his surprise, he realized the song really was about him. He laughs telling the story sort of dumb-founded and amazed. That’s exactly how this feels. My intention is to share to help others heal through my stories and share my experiences. But as I am sharing and struggling to get to the point, I can’t because I haven’t gotten full expression of the lesson YET. I hit the proverbial road block. Then when I close the lid and walk away the teaching moment comes. In full color, dancing in front of me and I get the washed over feeling of light-hearted teasing as everything falls into place and feels right and true. This journey never ends, it never gets old and it’s never boring. I am a truth junkie, the digging is addictive and the answers are my elixir. My life mysteries continue to unravel one layer at a time, deeper and deeper I go. Some are brand new while others are gentle reminders.
Lately I’ve been noticing or perhaps it may be more accurate to say that lately I’ve been called to pay attention to how busy we make ourselves and more importantly how this busy-ness lends itself to our addictive behaviors and how these behaviors become our distractions and how the distractions become our numbing. I’ve also been curious about how to identify these self-elusive patterns. We are all busy, we all have daily responsibilities that require our attention. Understood. But there is a line we cross. The line from daily responsibilities and obligations to filled-to-the-brim overload. We can break this down into two simple categories. There are obligations and there are choices. Obligations are our responsibilities and commitments, a moral code and sometimes our duties. Choices are the act of deliberately making a decision, a selection or a preference. An act of electing one thing over another. I believe our society has constructed a sturdy foundation that says we have to stay busy to be perceived as productive. There is hard-working and then there is non-stop self-inflicted burdens. There is always a high and low, good and bad and dark and light, so it goes from one end to the other end of the spectrum. Our society has also constructed a sturdy foundation that says that if we remain idle for too long, we may be perceived as lazy. There is relaxing and then there is a lack of motivation to do anything. Our personal regimens are infused so deeply that we don’t think about them and we go through each day as if on auto pilot. We’ve done the same thing for so long, we don’t pay attention to the choices we are making. Some of these choices are the distractions that keep us from paying attention to our needs and remain curious enough with deep introspection for our healing.
Like all things, there is a healthy balance. Typically we need to earn an income to support the choices we make. Too much work, however, not allowing oneself to indulge in some R&R may be a way of ignoring our inner needs. Putting your focus on the never-ending to-do list may be your distraction, your numbing. Perhaps staying busy is your addiction to numbing. On the other hand, it is important to support a lifestyle that encourages rest and relaxation, however, too much idle time may be a way of ignoring your inner needs. Perhaps you indulge in mindless hours in front of a smart phone, computer screen or TV. Putting your focus on the need to engage in everything but you may be your distraction, your numbing. Perhaps excessive idle time is your addiction to numbing.
I am going to ask you several questions. Your answers will benefit you only if you can be honest with yourself. Do you actively distract yourself so that you don’t have to pay attention to you and your struggles? You know, that inner dialogue that beats you up every day. Do you elect to involve yourself, for no apparent reason, in someone else’s drama? Do you make sure you are busy from the time you wake up in the morning until you go to bed? Are you available to everyone else? Are you deliberately filling up your calendar because you can’t stand the thought of not doing something? Do you complain about how busy you are? Do you perceive yourself as important because you are busy? Be honest. Could you be using this as a distraction? Is this choice offering balance?
Are you ignoring the to-do list, the important things that require your attention for just one more day? How many days have you said that? Are you just too tired and perhaps you worked really hard so you deserve to just sit if you want? How many times do you use that excuse? Be honest. Do you decline invitations because you’ve got too much on your to-do list, but then you don’t complete the to-do list? Do you complain about being too tired or bored? Could you be using this as a distraction? Is this choice offering balance?
Have you spent sufficient time on you? Have you ever tried to still your mind? Do you think you could still your mind and your body? The answer will come when you start to pay attention to your behaviors and ask why. Why am I so busy? Why do I work so much? Is it a choice or a distraction? Am I ignoring obligations? Do I watch too much TV or engage too long in social media or in anything else that steals my time away from me? Is it a choice or a distraction? Do I use those distractions to numb? Are my choices offering a healthy balance?
I bet you could identify friends or family that check all of the boxes or fall into those categories. Did you do that? Did you distract yourself from answering the questions for YOU and think of someone who should read this? Now that you’ve answered honestly, look at the scales, how are they tipped? It has been my experience that we all tip to one side or the other at one time or another. Even the most well-intentioned, healthiest, honest, giving, generous, good-spirited and mindful people tip the scales. Why? Because it’s easy, it’s what we know, it’s our hard-wired-go-to familiar choice. We all need hard work and busy-ness. We all need rest and relaxation. Within the two, we must find a healthy balance. Make the choice to do the hard thing, the thing that is an intentional choice. Ask yourself to be honest and truthful. Start paying attention to your thoughts. What do you tell yourself? I mean really tell yourself. I don’t mean the crap that sits on the surface, I am talking about doing the digging, dig to that hard place, the one you’ve been ignoring because you don’t want to go there. The one you continually escape from. The reason you numb, the reason your scales are tipped. Only you can determine your truth, your balance and your answers.
If your scales are tipped and you can determine that you want to begin the internal work, I invite you to sit, to be still and calm your mind and body. I ask that you introduce a practice of digging into you, the practice of self-exploration. Get curious and get to know the real you. I guarantee your answers will come. This is not a one and done exercise. This is a dedicated practice with intention and depth. Be patient. As in all things, you will not master YOU on the first try or the second or the third. You will be fidgety and agitated and full of every excuse to get up and resume your busy-ness. You are in charge, not your body, not your thoughts. There is no bad or wrong way to do this. Every exploration is a success because every exploration is a graduation to your higher self. Every time you make the conscious decision to choose YOU, YOU win.
We all have things that we were not planning on that require our attention that we have no control over and that is certainly understandable and it creates busy-ness. That’s life right? But I am talking about choice. If you are choosing to stay busy or choosing to not stay busy, ask yourself if this choice is a convenient distraction to not pay attention to you? I was doing a real good job of distracting myself from my to-do list. I do this when I am overwhelmed. I found myself choosing to watch too much TV and I was sleeping in and missing my meditations and skipping yoga classes to a point where it was becoming a habit. I love meditating and yoga so why am I struggling to make the choice? I was starting to notice a difference in my mood and I was starting to notice all the excuses I was using to not practice the things I love. I did need a break. I did need some extra Z’s and we must honor our body and spirit when we truly need these things. But after the much-needed break, what I was really doing was not paying attention to what felt like a huge task sitting in front of me. The overwhelming task I was ignoring was reading my manuscript; beginning to end. This is difficult because I will want to edit the hell out of it. But I’ve already done that and done that and done that. I have one addition to make at the end of each chapter but I need time to sit and not be interrupted and I couldn’t carve out that time. Until I addressed my numbing, I was just overwhelmed and couldn’t find an answer. Finally when I chose to identify the reasons for my distractions, I was able to identify why I was feeling overwhelmed and once I did that, I was able to devise a plan to complete the task. Now that the plan is in place, I have been able to get back into my healthy practices that I not only love but are beneficial and keep my scales balanced.
Choice or obligation? Pay attention. Do the digging. Start to understand YOU. Invite balance.
If you would like to discuss how you can begin this practice and design a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle, send me an email, leave a comment on this page or message me on FB. I look forward to hearing from you!
Wishing you all a healthy, well-balanced life