Yesterday I had a no agenda day with nothing planned but an overdue eyebrow wax and a day with my 3 year old.
We started off with a “lets see where the day take us” attitude. My daughter and I exchanged makeovers with magic markers and we stayed in our PJ’s until the late afternoon. We later flowed spontaneously into meeting up with old friend for lunch. But as the day went on, with less to do and more empty space, I found myself trying to come up with things to make me feel more “productive” even though no part of me felt inspired to do so.
Being busy all the time is an old in-road in my brain that has deep grooves and familiar paths, but it doesn’t always make me feel the best about myself or help me to actually accomplish much.
As I’ve invited more ease in my life these past few years and held the question “isn’t there a better way than work hard, hustle, and burnout?” I’ve found that yes, there is! When I can get in the space of following my curiosity, enthusiasm, or possibility I’ve found that many big weights get lifted with little effort on my part. But what has also come (as does with anything we quit doing ) has been the discomfort of uncertainty and a fear of doing it wrong.
When we choose to change a habit, we are motivated by the hope that we will feel better for doing so. But we often forget that when we stop doing anything we must first go through the discomfort of not knowing what to do instead. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of quitting something only to make you crave it even more. And often it’s not a one time fix but a choice that you consciously make every day especially when the urge to go back to what you know grows stronger.
Our ego wants to keep us safe and what is certain to the ego is those old patterns and habits that we know so well. For me that old habit is being busy and doing more. So every time I choose ease and flow my ego will try and convince me to go to that old in-road in my brain of “work hard and hustle.” But here is what I’ve learned from this exploration of ease and flow, that this is a process of undoing and just because I say I want “ease and flow” doesn’t mean that I won’t still rub up against my old conditioning of needing to work hard to be worthy.
We can change habits that no longer serve us, we can have that vibrancy and ease in our life and relationships. But it does take a willingness to jump off the hamster wheel with no promise of another path in its place.
With some reflection that day I was able to recognize that I had been running on a hamster wheel all day and getting nothing done. When I had that realization all I did was stop. I stopped moving, stopped cleaning, stopped trying to write this exact newsletter post. And what happened? I was uncomfortable, I could feel my feelings, my throat ached, I may have cried but it all passed with time. And here I am on another day finishing this post with much more joy and ease. The things that I needed to get done got done and the rest of it will get done later. I know I will be here again and again and again but my hope is that I can catch myself a little bit quicker each time.
Just a little of what I’ve been thinking about.
If you can relate to this running on a hamster feeling. The next time you catch yourself in this cycle first take a moment to stop and and ask yourself where in your body you are feeling tension.
Put your hand on that part of your body and offer tenderness and kindness as you would a little child.
Then with the same tenderness and awareness find the acupressure points below as useful tools to use throughout the day. These points help to calm and ground our nervous system and bring us back home to ourselves.
HT 7- connect to your heart, ease anxiety
KD 1- anchoring and grounding
PT 0- homeostasis