Sometimes solutions can be so stupidly simple. This holiday break I experimented with doing nothing. It paid off. I got some serious rest. Indeed, each day I got seriously excited about heading home in the afternoons to do nothing but lie and read and potter and make fermented mayonnaise. And so forth. So much so, I failed to pull my weight over Christmas with the family, such was my slothfulness (my family forgave me, seeing it as something of a novelty).
I also got perspective. Now at the end of the two-week period and back in the office, I feel clear and calm. I withdrew further back from the flurry than I ever have. And this is what I saw:
The secret to calm is to book in more time.
I’ve written before about buffering. I guess I’m using this potent time of year to remind myself (all of us) of the worth of padding out life with more space and time.
Thing is, getting things done in less time has become a sport. The ability to cut corners, juggle more things in the one hour, conduct a conference call while checking the mail – and so on – is worn as a badge of honour. But the longterm effects of this unmindful way of being is not something you’d want to pin to your chest.
It scrunches. It constricts. It scratches at your emotional fibre.
Over the past fortnight I realized how resentful I am of my rushing. Driving makes me tense. Meetings get me anxious (for them to move faster). Even some of the more creative, fun aspects of my work leave me cringing.
…all because I don’t leave enough time to be in the moment with it. The tight little vessel of time I allow for getting things done isn’t big enough to fit me in it comfortably. I squeeze in half a limb, a quarter of my brain…rarely my whole.
I’m not sure if I’m spelling out something too obvious. But it’s something I very much overlooked and dismissed in 2013. My clarity exposes it, now, as a vital component of real wellness.
If I were to sum things up in a pithy statement, in an affirmation-y fashion, it would be thus:
2014 is about cultivating an air of languidness.
Talking about solutions in terms of an “air”, an ambiance or a vibe is often very effective. It cuts to the chase. Once the “air” of languidness is activated, everything else can flow from there. Don the air and you start to allow more time to get ready to go out for an important dinner with a friend, you create a good gap in the day to call someone back and talk mindfully, you eliminate non-essentials from your diary.
Because to do anything else feels unbearably scrunchy, constricting, scratchy.
Don’t you think? Or are you cultivating a different air after your break?