Stop the Glorification of Busy

“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right” ~Oprah Winfrey

It’s that time of year again to set New Year’s Resolutions. The world did not end on December 21st, 2012, so we have another chance to set things right in our world, which starts by setting things right in our own hearts.

I re-read my goals from 2012 in “My New Year’s Resolution Revolution” and I must say, I am quite happy with the results! I am now able to confidently do a handstand (with the help of a wall, a pole, or a willing volunteer of course)! I opened up my heart and accepted myself, and by doing so managed to attract the man of my dreams. He loves me for exactly who I am, because I chose to love MYSELF for exactly who I am. I also achieved many of my career goals, and now enjoy teaching yoga as my main vocation. Each day I am filled with gratitude that I get to connect with my students, leading them on a path to find the same inner strength and self-love that I once sought, and call it my “job”. All in all, I can certainly say that I’ve come a long way over the past year. Now it’s time to reach new heights in 2013.

My buzzword for 2012 was “BUSY”. Loved ones would ask how I was doing, and I’d reply with a quick, “I’m good, thanks. Busy.” My mind would only be half present, as I hurried off to my next “to do”. Until now, I filled my days completely full, rushing from one thing to the next even if it wasn’t urgent (I HAVE to make that yoga class today. I missed it two weeks in a row. If I don’t make it today I’ll hate myself.) I thought ad nauseam about the next thing: the meeting, the class, the work out, the shopping trip, the chores, the paintings, the projects, etc. etc. I had the idea in my head that if I was constantly BUSY, I was being PRODUCTIVE, and was therefore WORTHY. But, instead of feeling accomplished at the end of my packed day, once I finally settled into bed with the thousand things I’m going to do tomorrow buzzing in my head, I felt empty, drained – like I’d missed something.

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve made it my prerogative to take on too much stuff. I stack my plate so high and create such daunting goals for myself that before I knew it, I’d be spread so thin that I end up breaking down emotionally and physically with dis-ease and a false sense of lack. I’d over promise and under deliver, and experience guilt over the fact that I let people down. I end up feeling like I’m not good enough, like I don’t have what it takes to succeed in that which I’d set out to do. However, I was subconsciously setting myself up for failure intentionally by biting off more than I can chew.

I used to take on so much and set myself up to fail because I was afraid to succeed. I was afraid to pause, to reflect, to edit out that which didn’t serve me in order to focus on that which would feed me and my purpose. I was content in a space of lack rather than opening myself up for abundance. This attitude reflected in my finances, my relationships, my career, and my health. I denied myself time to linger in the in between spaces, the pauses. The resting periods. The caesuras of life.  I had forgotten how to relax and breathe. The tightness in my chest from stress had become so familiar that without it, I felt like I was somehow missing out. I told myself I wasn’t working hard enough. I was being lazy. But one thing my yoga practice has taught me is the difference between laziness and compassion: sometimes laziness can mask itself as compassion, and sometimes to stop and be sympathetic to our needs can feel like laziness. The key is knowing the truth about which is which. Do we come out of a pose because we are truly honoring our bodies? Or do we come out because we tell ourselves we don’t have the strength to hold it? Do we give up on ourselves before our body is ready to? Do we give up on a goal because it no longer serves our truth, or do we abandon a dream because we feel like we are not worthy of the happiness it could bring?

I realize now, what I’ve been missing out on is the inner growth that occurs in stillness. The quiet unfolding of an internal self that is nourished by a quiet mind, an inert body. When the mind is occupied by tasks, by outward “doing”, or by thoughts of the future, it constricts the invisible work that is happening inside. The tightness I felt in my chest was my heart yearning to swell, my soul pressing up against the walls of a container that could no longer hold its expansiveness. I was so concerned with being BUSY, that the word blotted out any opportunity for real growth. My mind became scattered with a thousand possibilities of what I should do next, or how I should act best to ensure a happy future. But the answers to these questions do not rise from the floor of an ocean that is turbulent and chaotic on the surface. Instead, we must still the surface in order to see clearly to the bottom; to look with curiosity into our deepest heart of hearts and read the truth about ourselves there. And from truth comes right action.

By being so BUSY, I was actually missing out on the most important and often most difficult work of all: being still, meditating, and tuning in to messages from beyond. I was using my “busyness” as a mask – an excuse – for doing the real work.

So thus my resolution for 2013: SLOW DOWN.  Don’t rush. Believe that I am enough and that I have enough time. Make space for abundance. Be present. Breathe. My prediction for giving up my mental state of BUSY is that it will result in a spiritual state of GROWTH, and I’ll get more done and accomplish more meaningful things.

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this! 😉 Good luck with your own New Years resolutions, and may you find peace within.