“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…” ― Henry David Thoreau
To savor. To be present. To have gratitude.
To let go of “being busy” is to shut the door on mediocrity. Whether it is mediocrity in our interactions with the people in our lives, mediocrity in our productivity or mediocrity in how we spend our everydays being unaware or ignorant to how magnificent and fulfilling a simple day in our lives can be when we are able to establish a balance, when we experience an approach to living that is void of being busy, we discover a surreal moment of aha.
The aha reveals the power of balance. A balance of what we have to do and what we want to do, what we want to give to others and what we must give to ourselves, a balance of stretching and resting, growing and appreciating.
As American writer Henry David Thoreau states about his two year states in the woods along Walden Pond outside of Concord, Massachusetts, he wanted to live deliberately, and when we let go of the perpetuated societal myth that we must be busy each day, all of the time, we finally are able to “suck out all the marrow of life”.
As per the third month of 2017 as we welcome more quality into our lives, March asks us to let go of the “busy mentality”. A mentality that we may not recognize consciously as part of our approach to life, but none-the-less habitually guides our decisions, our schedule making, and inflicts guilt when we have an open afternoon or morning from time to time.
So far in 2017 we have gradually and consciously reestablished a quality approach to living, and therefore, steadily enabled each of us to be more fully present in our everyday lives:
- January: Reduce or eliminate entirely one food or food type that does not serve you well
- February: Letting go of a social media app that isn’t serving you as you strive to build relationships
Moving into March, we can easily become eager to ramp up for spring with the spring cleaning, yard and garden planning, bopping outside more often or planning more getaways, but to do so without being aware of the strain a busy schedule may put on our ability to truly appreciate what we are doing should give us pause. After all, to live for the pictures we can share, the laundry list of destinations we can see and the stories we can tell is to live life only on the surface and for the provoking of others’ intrigue and curiosity. But it is not for others’ fascination we need to live. We need to live in such a way that allows us each a great depth of appreciation and therefore, a life of quality to savor.
When we let go of busy . . .
. . . we deepen our intimacy with those we love
. . . we deepen our understanding of our love of life, hobbies, pastimes, curiosities, etc.
. . . we deepen our appreciation for nature, the world and human kind
. . . we deepen our clarity of how to live in alignment with our most truest selves
. . . we deepen our knowledge of ourselves which allows us to reach our fullest potential
Recently I was reflecting on the fact that I haven’t been nearly as busy as a I was just two years ago, and truthfully, it has been by design. However, there are moments of looking at my calendar and wondering when I could find more time to sleep. Truthfully though, more often than not, I am able to sleep soundly for eight hours most nights, I am able to complete the tasks for work ahead of schedule, and have enabled my social calendar to actually be something I tend to, not because I didn’t want to previously, but because I have free time to make time to spend with people I love, respect and whose company I enjoy. The shift has been one of the best gifts I could give myself. And that is precisely the most wonderful part: We have control over giving this improvement of life to ourselves.
What I have found to be interesting about not being busy is when we do find the balance, we can be lulled into complacency by the quality schedule and way of life we have created. It works, it’s simple. How can it be this easy? But that is precisely the goal. We want to find the balance that allows us to feel at ease so that we can be present, we can breathe deeply, we can be appreciative and we can partake in moments that once they have passed we can relive over and over again in our minds and carry them with us for as long as we would like. It is imperative that we remind ourselves balance is paramount, and when we find the happy medium between bored and busy, we’ve found our sweet spot.
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. —Thomas Merton
Each individual’s sweet spot will be unique. Each individual’s balanced life will look a little different from their best friend’s, their parent’s, their colleagues, etc.
Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself. Jessye Norman
Taking care of ourselves, knowing what we need, gives us the strength to say no, to know what we can and cannot do before we lessen the person we are capable of being as we go throughout our days. Letting go of the “busy mentality” takes clarity and courage, but doing so will be one of the grandest gifts you can give yourself.
May your month of March, as we continue to welcome the quality back into our lives, find its balance and enhance your overall experience in each everyday of the week.
~What is the next month’s theme you may be wondering?
~Reducing mindless eating
~Mastering the use of credit
~Understanding and reducing self-doubt
~Curtailing the negative commentary (internal and external)
~How to approach staying informed but not overwhelmed by the news of the world
~Designated no work zones
~Smart shopping for clothing
~Recognizing, understanding and eradicating self-imposed limitations
~Below are a few more specific posts on letting go of busy:
~8 Benefits of Banishing Busy (podcast episode)