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When you ask most women the question, “How are you?”, the most common answers are, “busy”, “crazy busy”, “busy but it’s all good.” Sound familiar? And it’s not just around the holidays. It seems there’s always something that has us chasing our tails, racing frantically from one thing to the next with our feet barely touching the ground. When I get really busy, I feel like a stone skipping in the water, briefly touching the surface and then flying off to the next touch point and then the next and so on, never really digging into anything at a level that gives me any sense of satisfaction.
I think busy-ness is a way of avoiding the things we fear… feelings that might be uncomfortable, thoughts that might be unpleasant, actions that might be challenging. And we can legitimize our ‘stuck-ness’ by being too busy to do anything to move us forward in the direction of our heart’s desires.
In the words of Lily Tomlin, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
But how do we slow down? Being busy has become a habit. We declare our busy-ness with pride. We make it sounds like the only alternative to busy-ness is death. We live in a society where doing things quickly is a part of our culture. We eat fast food, we can attend speed dating and networking events, there’s even speed yoga. There are gyms that pride themselves on offering workouts that can be done in 30 minutes so you can get it over with quickly and get on with your life. I have friends who go to a particular church because the Mass is shorter. They call it ‘drive thru Mass’. What’s up with that?
So, how do we break our busy-ness habit? My friend and author of many books on intuition, Lynn Robinson shares this insight,
“I know I can’t simply snap my fingers and have my life change. But I can make a choice, and I’m choosing right here and now to simply breathe, slow down, feel grateful for the present moment.”
To break a habit, she says, you first have to become aware of doing it. Then, you make a conscious choice about what you want versus what you don’t want (peace versus rushing) and you take action on the decision.
You won’t change your habits overnight. You’ll need to purposefully and intentionally choose your actions minute by minute until the new pace becomes you new normal and your old habits are replaced with more effective ones. Keep asking yourself, am I breathing deeply? Am I fully present and engaged in what I’m doing? What will move me in the direction I want to go?
Expect discomfort, expect set backs but keep choosing! You’ll get there… slowly perhaps but you’ll be able to enjoy the process.