The Tyranny of Busy-ness
I've just finished an incredibly busy, productive, happy, and exceedingly creative three weeks--and have another busy, productive, happy, and exceedingly creative three weeks ahead of me. Life is good, but I’m exhausted—tired to the bone. So today, I'm taking a break and staying home until 5:30, at which time I will reluctantly venture out into the real world for dinner and a comedy show at the Plaza Theater. It's a cold, rainy day as I write this, and I would love to hunker down for a full twenty-four hours of retreat. But I bought tickets!
How great that the day I choose to stay in is cold, dreary and overcast, and drizzling rain off and on. Perfect for getting cozy with Dash and a good book. Besides getting cozy, my only goals today are moving slowly and easefully (no exercise, no straining, no competing), resting, listening, watching the rain, and simply taking it easy on mind, body, and spirit. No pushing, no learning, no planning, no efforting, and no to-do list.
As you know, I do a chunk of writing every early morning, and the first part of this writing is always taking account of my days, my plans, my yearnings, my problems. It's just a way to kind of get details and distractions out of my head. And today, as I headed into my twelve hours of retreat, it felt good to list the courses and the work projects I'm doing during the month of February. Here's that listing:
1) Dr. Christiane Northrup webinar on finding love (every Tuesday); 2) Dr. Sara Gottfried webinar on detoxing and resetting hormones (every Thursday); 3) webinar with Jeffrey Davis on creative flow (every Thursday). 4) A large coaching project in person with entrepreneurial consultant Adam Dudley for business design (meet every Tuesday)—huge and exciting changes coming for LifeArt Studio. Those are the instructional events I'm actively engaged in JUST THIS MONTH.
Add to this the various components of my work: I teach at Rollins every Wednesday night--and the prep that goes into that. I direct the writing program at Rollins, and this month is especially busy as we put the 2014-15 teaching schedule together (attending more meetings than I usually do). I teach a two-hour workshop for Rollins College Lifelong Learning program every Wednesday morning. I teach yoga at College Park Yoga every Monday night and every Sunday morning. I do strength training with Anthony every Tuesday and Friday; I practice yoga three-four times a week. I write and post a blog every week. And of course, I have writing projects and workshop preps going on all the time cause my brain just can't stop doing that.
I’m fairly exhausted just reading this list. . . .
When I wrote this this morning, I laughed at myself. First of all, a laugh out of joy and gratitude because every single one of these projects makes me so happy. I feel like I'm exploding with learning and growing, and as you know, those are qualities I value highly.
And secondly, I laugh out of embarrassment, or maybe it’s astonishment that I have not managed to get an old and recurring lesson in my life. Jesusgodalmighty, I say to my self, what is with this insatiable need to keep filling the tank, which we know is bottomless? This, of course, is the shadow side of the oldest child raised by two alcoholics. She is an achievement junky.
It is clear: I have not “retired,” and I am no better at limiting the amount of stuff I have to do, and I continue to pack my days. My post-Rollins life is not filled with white-space, as I had intended. In fact, this month may be one of the busiest months of my life, and one of the most professionally expansive. Again, all good stuff, but even too much good stuff can become detrimental if it's not balanced with the time and the practices that I know foster equanimity.
So today, is a small course correction for Lezlie. And I should probably be glad that, at this stage of life, I muster enough self-awareness to see the need for course correction and deploy the skills to make a course correction. I don't have to wait for things to get so bad that the universe provides a course correction for me. Its course corrections usually entail several weeks of bed rest and a cast.
I like to think I have upgraded my internal GPS. When we veer from our intended course in the car, the BOC (boss of the car), or as I sometimes call her the GPS Bitch, speaks very calmly and re-directs us to the route we intended to follow. Even if we wander into some beautiful or fun territory, she lets us know we are not in alignment with our original plans. I think our GPS for the soul does the same thing. When we're heading down a path that is out of alignment with our deepest intentions, we get a course correction, sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully. It's not a voice, of course, but it's usually an obvious sign that we have lost the original path.
Anyway, yesterday I got one of those course corrections, so here I am. Sitting on the couch and watching the rain. Feels good.
So if any of you are as addicted to projects, or learning, or getting things done as I am, and you just keeping packing your days to the brim, I’m wondering how you balance out all the noise, talk, and instruction those options offer with just learning to rely on your own inner wisdom and direction? I notice in myself an old tendency toward taking in more data, more information, more wisdom, etc. But I've learned, no matter how much I take in, it's never enough. And it's never fully satisfying. And these days, I work toward having more faith in my own internal wisdom and direction, my soul's ability to tap into open clarity and move forward happily and productively, with less effort. Yes, less effort. More vitality.
I'm sure this is why, on days like this one, I feel more relaxed. The constant constriction in my chest seems to release. The extreme eagerness to "get things done" goes away. I let myself feel sleepy and unproductive. Mental systems shut down for a while, thankfully. It's a retreat from the tyranny of busy-ness.
Tell me about your version of retreat. And watch for new offerings soon from LifeArt Studio—retreats to help you make a course adjustment in your living and in your artful creating. Here at LifeArt Studio, we want to foster self-awareness and cultivate skills that will help you grow, flourish, and be deeply saturated with joyful creative spirit.
Thanks for stopping by today.