Here’s some transparency.
Sometimes I get busy. It starts innocently enough. I need to take a new client on a day that I usually reserve for me-time, or more likely, at least in my case, I decide to take a class – something that will just be a couple hours once a week for a couple months. That’s how I look at it. It’s just a little time for a while. Then, when I’m not looking, I get a new client. Then a really cool opportunity to work with a certain group pops up, and again, it’s only a little time for a little while. In the middle of that little while, something else pops up. I tell myself, “well, this other thing that I’ve already been doing for a bit will be over in a few minutes, hours or days, and then this new thing that I added won’t be anything big at all. It’ll just be another a little time for a little while.
And on and on and on.
Before I know it, I’m lost in the Busy. It becomes the norm, and I find that I get antsy in the little bit of down time that I have. My normal self-care practices, which include getting lots of rest, meditating, and having down-time and more specifically alone-time, fall apart. For me, this can lead to impulsive spending (when I’m supposed to be having down-time, I’m on Amazon, Etsy, or checking adds on Instagram and Facebook) and mindlessly filling my time rather than sitting back and down. It can also lead to a certain amount of pressure to DO MORE.
My Ego gets all up in the busy-ness and starts talking about how great I look DOING so much and how much better it would be if I could be DOING more. Most recently, my Ego got hold of the idea that I should do more improv training. My improv partner and I have been talking about some of our short and long term goals for our duo, and it’s exciting. We’ve taken on a coach, and we are looking at some training intensives and also festivals that we might want to go to. Then this training came up. It rang all the bells that my Ego loves. It is 32 weeks long! That is a huge commitment, and my Ego LOVES it when I take on more than other people. It is an ADVANCED STUDY course. Even more than loving taking on more, my Ego LOVES to be more advanced than other people. It is called an Intensive. Intensity is my Ego’s middle name. It was perfect.
I was already Busy and running on Autopilot. When I’m on Autopilot, my Ego is easily triggered.
I got excited. I started plotting out the next 32 weeks of my life. In doing that, I started to notice that I already have plans on several days that I would need to be in training. I started planning how I could move or cancel my previous commitments. I began trying to reconfigure my schedule so that I could fit all of my clients, including those that I normally see on Saturdays – the training day.
As I sat there allowing my mind to mess with my schedule, I finally tuned into my Body. I was starting to feel heavy around my head and neck. I noticed that I wanted to cry. My belly was unhappy. In the midst of my Ego planning for more Busy, my Body spoke up. My Body said No.
And I decided to listen.
Listening to my Body ended up showing me just how far off track I’d managed to get. That 32-week long course was just a piece of a bigger over all picture. The big picture included the fact that I have several balls in the air right now, and I have been feeling tired and over-done…like a turkey that’s dried out in the oven. It also included the fact that I have been impulsively spending money, feeling pressed to DO instead of be still, and just generally falling down on my self-care practices.
I pulled out my journal and started to tune in. My Busy Ego kept trying to tell me to get up and DO something, but I sat, and I wrote. After I finished, I just stayed in the chair and cried. That’s how my Body shows gratitude for the times I slow down and listen. I cry. Ugly. In a very short amount of time I cry out anything my Body has been holding for the period of time that I’ve been Busy. Once I’m wrung out, I remember.
Busy is lauded in our culture. It’s a sign of a successful life. The more you do the better you are. Busy gets tied up in Identity, and that’s dangerous.
There’s nothing wrong with having a full dance card. The important thing is recognizing when that dance card is too full, to see when we’re dancing too hard, and to make time to listen to Body rather than listening to Ego. Body will always tell the truth. Ego will lie her ass off and tell you what you want to hear so that she can feel comfortable.
I wish I could tell you that this will be the last time I allow myself to get Busy and lose track. It probably won’t be. I’m not perfect. The key, for me, is to tune into my Body as often as possible and if I forget for a while, the sooner I remember the better. My Body is always dedicated to my well-being, and she is always in the present moment. The more time I spend there, the better, and the more I practice getting back there, the sooner I’ll arrive again when I’ve been away.