Being busy has become such a norm in our society that we often find ourselves feeling bad about what we are not doing, rather than taking a larger look at the societal imbalances. Whether we are students, employees, entrepreneurs, or at-home parents, there are usually more to-do’s on our list than there is time to do them. So we try to adapt with less sleep, more caffeine, synchronizing calendars, task-managing apps, coordinated carpools and anything else that might help us get things done more efficiently. And, for those of us on a spiritually conscious path, we squeeze in a morning meditation or rush off to unwind at a yoga class at the end of the day. In our efforts to seek balance, we sprinkle in the rest and relaxation time, but rarely feel comfortable examining our deeper impulses to keep on going.
As our bodies become more exhausted, our souls begin to seek refuge. But are we really ready to release the busyness?
There are many reasons we chase time and fill our calendars. Beyond keeping a roof over our heads and bellies filled, we want to enjoy certain comforts, please others, do the right thing, and fit in with our communities. Letting go of the have-to’s can seem detrimental to these fundamental needs and desires.
Thankfully, we don’t have to become monastery monks to slow down. Though not always comfortable, we can learn to loosen our stronghold on our perceived obligations. Becoming aware of our essential ties to why we do what we do is an instrumental part of making a change.
If you outline your average daily and weekly obligatory tasks, whether in a list or schedule format, you get a clearer picture of just how busy you are and why you’ve been longing for more breathing room. As well, what if you inserted the mound of other “shoulds” that you don’t have time for, but feel guilty about not doing? Yes, go ahead and pencil those in, too.
Once your busy life is charted in front of you, meditate, journal and gently observe your underpinning.
Getting adjusted to a slower, more simplified lifestyle isn’t quite so easy. Our needs, beliefs, loyalties and fears can be so powerful that breaking free can cause inner anguish as well as judgment from others, especially if your change in commitment affects them.