Updated: Oct 25, 2018
It's no secret by now that none of us have enough time. In fact, even the title of this post has probably earned a knee-jerk eye roll or two just because, well, who hasn't already tried to carve out more time to accomplish A, B, and C?
But what if the point of more time wasn't to become more accomplished, productive, and polished? I mean, there are so many tips and tricks out there in the mainstream already, aimed at just this. Make a list, color-code it according to priority, do/buy as many things in bulk as you can, multi-task your day away, cut corners at bed time since you really only *need* 7.5 hours of sleep rather than 8. You didn't know that? Well, now you have something else to go and learn about....
What gives? Something has to, right? We continue working ourselves up and up, into a feverish frenzy of work, play, kids, parents, spouses, feelings, politics, exercise, diet, housework, vacation, holidays, hobbies, more feelings, free time, down time. Even when we aren't doing something, we are doing something. Emails? Face Book? Instagram? Audio-book? Just fill 'er up and keep on going!
So, we all know we're too busy. We also (most likely) know we should do something about it. And we've probably tried a good handful of the mainstream advice that promises to give us a free window for a couple weekends or a weeknight here and there. But nothing sticks. We keep returning to the full-plate-and-then-some-more-please mentality. Well, maybe not with the 'please' on the end, but this mentality is so ingrained and natural nowadays that to any outsider it must seem like we fully enjoy and even crave the chaos we continue to bestow unto ourselves.
Despite all of this hustle and bustle, I think it's safe to say that most of us have a vague awareness hovering in the background that this approach to life leaves us somewhat lacking in the "purpose, passion, and peace" department. No matter how polished and productive we become on the surface, we just can't seem to put our finger on that one undefined "thing" that we're all looking to find.
Planning, planning, and planning some more. And with the planning comes the obligatory participation in those very same plans. Oh the effort of coordination and collaboration of everything from family dinner to sports banquet to swim lesson to book club. Each day is a monumental task that we yearn to check off of our ultimate to-do list. But if it's any consolation, at least we can reassure ourselves that everyone thinks we are reliable and committed, right?
But is that always-busy, over-committed, constantly chaotic label you've given yourself, the one that collects nods of approval from the team mom and the classroom assistant and the workplace committee and the game-night coordinator, really all the consolation you're looking for? Will all of your harried hours on behalf of everyone else, even (gasp) your family members and your kids, make it all worth while in the end?
That is not a question I can answer for you, of course. But it is not a rhetorical one either. I challenge you to sit yourself down and think about it with honesty, honesty, and a bit more honesty. And if you're motivated by brownie points, journal about it too.
Do you like this box you’ve put yourself in? Have you allowed others to infringe upon your time in ways that don't serve who you want to be? Have you placed, or misplaced, your values onto people and things that distance you from what's most important? What is most important anyways? Or more accurately, what would be most important if you weren’t so busy all the time? Why do you feel like you can't slow down? There has to be a motivating factor behind your behavior. Are you running from something? Running towards some ever-elusive moving target? What (and who) is suffering at the hand of your balancing so many full plates all day long?
If your answers to the above leave you feeling less than enamored with your current situation, and you're sick of all the surface-level tactics meant for short-term change based on willpower and force, then I'd suggest reading on just a little further. Because the truth of the matter is this: if you keep burning the candle at both ends, then something has got to give. And contrary to popular belief, it's not most immediately your physical health or your bank account or your marriage, although all of these things will take a hit eventually.
The something that gives out first is your WHO. My what? You heard me right, your WHO.
And sacrificing your WHO is pretty dangerous in the grand scheme of things. Way more dangerous than forgetting to put frosting on the pupcakes (that’s not a typo ~ my 3 year old daughter calls them pupcakes, and I just can’t let it go it’s so dang cute).
So..... you’re WHO. I’m talking about that person inside each of us who’s heart is so patient, so grateful, so connected to the moment, and so full of awareness and acceptance and awe, that it can’t help but love itself right where its at. Not a stone‘s throw further, not a half a skip back.
You’re WHO meets YOU where you meet your heart.
And why would you want to meet your heart, you ask? Why would you want to slow your entire life’s calendar down just to get a glimpse of this seemingly elusive WHO?
Well, because your WHO is what grounds you and gives you strength and wisdom. Your WHO is that place from where the voice of passion and purpose and peace begins to find itself again. Without giving yourself the space and the time to listen to your heart, you risk losing that voice altogether. And that loss is what leads to the potential down and out spiral of your relationships, your finances, and your health.
Luckily, you are fully capable of reconnecting with your heart, and your passion, and your purpose, whenever you choose to do so. And all it takes is one small shift at first. Not a stone's throw further, remember?
Sit quietly for five minutes once per day. And I do mean quietly. In the morning before you leave your bedroom, in the grocery store parking lot before you jump out of your car, or in the hallway after you close the nursery door for nap time. You might think this trite or hokey, but do it for a week first. Then you can prove me wrong.
Notice the leaves on the trees, the hum of the furnace, the couple holding hands. If your mind wanders to that pesky to-do list or to that argument you had with your spouse, practice letting it go and finding clarity once again. Just practice. No regrets, no guilt, no planning, no plotting.
It seems about as counter-intuitive as jumbo shrimp, but creating this space for to hear your heart beat will give you more time to feel productive during the rest of your day. More importantly, it will set off a spark of awareness and knowing inside of you. One that has the potential to grow into a fire that can light your way back to WHO you want to be.
Need more time to spend with your kids? To dislodge yourself from the patterns of depression and anxiety? To begin uncovering your vision for a healthy body that will carry you long into your years? These are the types of benefits we bestow upon ourselves when we commit to gifting ourselves more time to just be.
So although I fully understand, and can also fully appreciate, the insurmountable odds you may feel up against when facing a shift from no time to more time, I want to encourage you that you are fully capable of changing your narrative. We all have five minutes. Start there. Be present, be patient, and breathe deeply. This small window of peace is what can lead to all of the passion and purpose you desire for your life, and for the lives of those you actually want to impact on a purposeful and lasting level.
Intrigued even just a little bit by what you read here? There's a book for that!
Here's to putting our healthiest selves first more and more often, as we connect more deeply and honestly with our inner power and passion!