Hello everyone. Welcome back to my blog. It’s bang in the middle of summer and I don’t know how it feels for you, but for me, after months of confinement and limited freedom of movement, I am appreciating everything I experience with so much more gratitude and a mentality of not taking anything or anyone for granted! This allows me to be more in the present, live more of a balanced life, mentally, physically, spiritually. I feel more aligned with the natural flow of life. Does that make sense to you? Does anyone relate?
With this challenging global Covid19 pandemic, we all had the opportunity to observe how humanity was asked to sit still, stay safe, and for many of us, the biggest effort was to slow down from our “busy schedules” to literally save our lives and those of entire communities, from risk of infection or death. We will never forget this year 2020 as that year the Covid pandemic brought the entire world to a halt, and many of us will also remember it as that time (with the exception of the healthcare industry and food supply industry), humanity had to, perhaps unwantingly, slow everything down. What did this Slow Down make us more aware of? What are the Benefits of Slowing Down in general?
In our 21st-century life, it seemed to be accepted as part of our normal reality, that life demanded more and more of us, that busyness, super-busyness, or the apt phrase crazy-busyness, as the norm. I for starters, was one of the persons who had schedules full to the brim of appointments that kept me extremely busy and was not necessarily paying attention to the mental and spiritual disadvantages of the lack of work life balance.
Yet many of us are now discovering, by having had to slow down, that busyness was and actually is unsustainable, and these signs are still popping up everywhere, imploring us to Stop the Glorification of Busy.
Quotes are easy to share. The real change comes when you start living what you say and share. You then can show the way to others from your actions, not your words alone.
The Difference Between Being Busy vs. Being in the Zone
Let’s talk here about ‘busy’ when one is more of a ‘frazzled,’ state usually accompanied by frenetic energy that others can feel palpably. It is possible to be working at a fast pace on a project you’re passionate about, yet remain grounded and connected. To me, that’s called ‘being in the zone’ and if that’s what you’re experiencing, go for it! But also, if that’s what you’re experiencing, you’re probably not looking to change something. You can slow down; you’re choosing not to because you’re riding a wave.
People who complain about being busy generally aren’t totally happy with being busy. Or totally happy, period. Because they’re complaining. Or bragging. Both are signs of underlying discontent and lack of either balance or purpose in life.
Choosing the Projects That Are Aligned and Truly Matter To You
Another reason we are drawn to stay busy is because we want to sample the breadth of what life has to offer in the short time we’re here alive on the planet. We feel that one hundred years of life, is pretty short when you become conscious at a late stage in your life and causes an inner anxiety and panic. That was a big motivator for me, too, and it’s not necessarily an ego thing. But it’s a bit like sampling a buffet without fully tasting any one dish. It may entertain the palate, but it’s not satisfying in the long run.
This is why you hear people from Steve Jobs to Tony Robbins talking about the importance of saying no to projects and invitations that aren’t aligned with what truly matters to you.
The biggest benefit of not being busy is that it gives us the freedom to focus on what’s important to us, personally (and of course, that varies from individual to individual). It’s all about being able to appreciate each moment. When the mind is filled with “what’s next” and five competing deadlines, it’s easy to miss the radiant colour in the changing leaves, or the twinkle of lights in a display window, or the curiosity of a puppy with oversized paws or the new birds nesting in your courtyards.
It also effects and betters our relationships and communication. When we’re rushing, we react rather than respond. We aren’t able to take the time to absorb what the other person is saying, or what they’re experiencing that needs our attention. Busy communications are, of necessity, superficial (“How are you?” “Busy!”).
True connection requires attention, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘time,’ it’s difficult to zap into the moment when there are a million other things on our minds.
The mind can only hold so much information, and when people are super-busy, some information is bound to fall out here and there. It seems to be that this has become an accepted cultural phenomenon: The faster-paced and busier the world becomes, the more acceptable it is for people to forget or lose pieces of information. We understand because “We’re all just so, so, so busy!” This can leave loved ones feeling like they don’t matter, if we scan over an important piece of information in an email, or simply forget what they told us in a text two days ago. So by slowing down, by dropping the stress levels, we are able to improve our memory of the little pieces of information allowing us to live more in the moment, more in the heart.
When we’re driving around, it’s easy to ignore other people’s pain, whether it’s someone who’s living on the street, or a cashier who’s having a difficult day. By slowing down, we notice our shared humanity. Taking time to really see—and even acknowledge—that the homeless person or the cashier are people like us, people who just want to be happy, reminds us that we’re part of a bigger world. Making eye contact with the homeless person, or asking the cashier how her day is going—these are small things that can have a big impact. Being connected is something I truly missed during lock down – that hug, that eye to eye chat with people, that feeling of community.
When we’re rushing or stressed, adrenaline pours through our bodies. The body pumps out adrenaline and cortisol as though we were being attacked by a bear on the loosee. Project deadlines may be important, but they’re not literally life-threatening (unless you have a really unhealthy boss, in which case, you might want to talk to HR).
Speaking scientifically, adrenaline elevates blood pressure, while chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to raised blood pressure, immune dysfunction, glucose regulation problems, and for women, menstrual cycle suppression (when a bear is chasing you, there’s no time to stop and make a baby). When we’re able to stay not-busy, or in the flow, those hormones go back to their non-emergency levels, which benefits overall health.
Feeling Better, Faster
To be clear, it’s possible to slow down and still feel stressed or angry or whatever emotions are present (otherwise I’d be some kind of ethereal wandering body of peace). But busyness allows us to push those emotions away…which means they haven’t been fully processed. And that’s something humanity is learning about this unhealthy lifestyle!
For better or worse, when you live more slowly, there’s no hiding place. You are fully living the life, and life, well, it can be messy. Emotions can feel crappy in the moment, but by taking the time to feel them fully in the body, we see that every emotion passes.
By slowing down, life itself becomes a meditation on experience. I believe our purpose on this planet is to experience the depth of life as fully as possible, from all our disparate vantage points. Beyond meeting our survival needs (which, admittedly, can require a level of busyness), life isn’t about accumulating more or doing more or covering the most territory. When we’re racing around, we substitute breadth for depth, we substitute Being for Doing.
This is a huge shift in Conscious Healthy Living and it takes time for the mind to adapt to the Slowing Down. However the long-term results are truly rewarding. That is my experience I m sharing with you.
Have you taken steps to stem the tide of busyness in your life? If so, what did you do, and how has it worked for you?
Much Love and Light to all of You!
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