“No person lives their life more fully, more intensely and more consciously than the one who is calm.” — William George Jordan in The Majesty of Calmness (1900)
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #115
Recently, I have returned to regular yoga practice. After stepping away from it for the past few months due to my schedule and trying to find a studio that best suited my abilities and daily routine, I took my first class with an instructor that each time I have the opportunity to be in her class, leaves my mind in great tranquility and clarity.
As we began the class in a meditative pose, focusing on our breath, she stated something that served as the muse for today’s episode, “Being still isn’t displaying a lack of energy, but rather demonstrating one’s ability to be free from chaos.”
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As she said it, I tried to commit it to memory as while seemingly simple, was quite profound. Why do some of us run from stillness? Why does stillness make us uncomfortable? Why does being still often receive a negative glance from those scurrying by?
In a nation of hustlers to work more hours, earn one more commission and report more hours on the job, the entire notion of a life of quality over quantity is dismissed. And so it is in the hustle that we miss out on life. We miss out on cultivating deep, rich, rewarding days, relationships and dreams. Upon listening to this podcast, which summarized William George Jordan’s approach to the power of calmness, I came up with a list of eight benefits banishing busy affords our everyday lives.
1. Make better decisions
Impulse control, the elimination of rash decision making, taking time before responding to a request or a demand. When we are calm, no matter what is going on around us, we can take a deep breath and think clearly about what is being asked of us.
I find that some of the best lessons I have learned have been modeled by those I admire. And such is the case with how to respond via email. Simply because an email arrives in our inbox, does not mean we have to respond immediately. In fact, it is best to NOT respond immediately. Whether you are excited to respond or hesitant to respond and just want to move away from that conversation, when we take a breath and respond when we have given the email’s contents time to be contemplated with a clear mind, we respond in a way that reduces or entirely eliminates regret. Being calm, even when we don’t know what we will run up against in any given day, is a helpful tool to making decisions we are proud of and support the life we are cultivating.
2. Reflect a life lived well
When we let go of busy, we demonstrate contentment. And the only way to be truly content is to (1) have clarity about our priorities, and (2) knowing we’ve done our very best in the situation, thereby allowing ourselves to let go of the results. Often being busy is a reflection of someone who feels they are making up for something they didn’t do well in the past, but someone who is calm accepts that they did the best with what they had and knew at the time and are allowing themselves to move on without the hurry. Letting go of hurry also reveals that we are confident that we can do our best in the present, that we can think clearly now, that we will put our best foot forward. After all, that is all we can do.
3. A confidence in moments of uncertainty
Even if the world is busy, harried and rushed, such a state can only penetrate us so far if we are in fact truly calm. So long as we are calm (certain of our direction and our priorities, at ease because we’ve done our best), we will be able to navigate the external world. (Click here to read 10 Things People Who Have Found Contentment Understand About Uncertainty.)
4. Strong self-control is the muscle that will keep busy at bay
We strengthen our self-control when we let go of busy. We keep our impulses in check, we give ourselves time to think and contemplate and with each practice we give our self-control muscle, it becomes easier and easier to walk away from the temptation of being busy. Why? Because we know being busy doesn’t actually feel good. Being busy is miserable, exhausting and unfulfilling. When our lives are full of what we truly value, what we truly love and are passionate about, we don’t want to clutter up our lives with excess busyness. Rather, we want to give ourselves more time to savor the life we’ve created.
5. We are trusting ourselves and not seeking the world’s approval
Often when we are busy, we are on someone else’s time schedule. We are trying to please and meet someone’s else’s demands. And so when we go at our own pace, when we give ourselves the proper time to do something and not put it off (which is much easier to do when we are pursuing something we have placed as a priority), we are trusting in ourselves that it will be done, and so long as we’ve done our best, that is enough. Even if the outside world does not approve, due to our strong sense of self-confidence, we are not shattered or demoralized because we know we did everything we could in that moment with the knowledge we currently possessed. This ability eradicates unnecessary stress and doubt. (Learn more about the benefits of letting go of needing the world’s approval here in episode #113.)
6. Develop strong, lasting foundations in relationships, work, life
Instead of hurrying, if we allow the events in our lives to go at their natural pace, we enhance the quality of our lives. Instead of forcing a relationship to blossom (or even occur), so that we can be married by a certain age or have children by a certain age or “catch up in life” with our friends who seem to be ahead of us according to society’s standards, we are allowed to see the true potential that is present. Even if the true potential was evanescent, we are given the gift of not forcing something that wasn’t meant to be.
Our journey through our careers, the strength of our friendships, acquiring the life skills we need to be the success we are each capable of being, each of these takes time and everyone’s time schedule will be different according to what they need and what needs to be learned along the way. Don’t rush Mother Nature; don’t rush the Universe’s plans; don’t presume to know how it should all work out and when. Instead, just savor and keep striving strong down the path that is in alignment with your priorities and passions.
7. Save yourself money
Often money can be wasted due to rushed decisions. As well, often quick money offerings are a fool’s opportunity. Question anything that offers a quick return. Take the time to do your homework, investigate and inquire for recommendations. Save yourself good money and don’t hurry money decisions. Knowing the money you worked hard to earn is invested securely brings a sound night’s sleep and peace of mind.
8. A necessary component to living a life of quality
“Hurry is the deathblow to calmness, to dignity, to poise. Hurry means the breakdown of the nerves. It is the royal road to perpetual worry. Everything that is great in life is the product of slow growth; the newer, and greater, and higher, and nobler the work, the slower is its growth, the surer is its lasting success.”
The roots of a quality life take time to travel deep into the earth’s haven. It requires you, me, the journeyman(woman) to learn the skills, acquire the tools to live a life that ignores or eradicates the unnecessary and focuses on the areas that are worth our time, attention and investment. To incorporate these tools takes time, patience and practice as each are muscles that need to be strengthened before they can become second-nature. However, in time, when all of the muscles are working together, we can savor the every day because we have let go of busy, allowing ourselves to appreciate the life we have built for ourselves. Be patient with yourself, and trust that you are on a journey that will render magnificent results. (Click on the following to discover a handful of the tools to living a simply luxurious life: willpower, mastering your mind, patience, authenticity, self-actualization, healthy communication, how to be happy, embrace solitude, strong social well-being, & self-reliance.)
Often the reason we busy ourselves is to keep a protective wall around the truths within us that we don’t want to acknowledge, observe or have to confront. The good news is, often what we fear about what we don’t want to deal with isn’t as awful as we expect. The truth is, what we will find will be keys to unearthing a life that is far more enriching and enjoyable to live because it will be a life free from angst, a life lived in truth and a life lived in the present. I encourage you to let go of the busy to welcome the sublime life that can be yours if only you would set it free.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- Two formats
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~A Capsule Menu: What Is It & How to Create Your Own
Visit this post to learn:
- Objectives: what values/priorities are driving this approach to eating, cooking and shopping
- A well-stocked home épicerie: the basic staple ingredients to have in your cupboards, refrigerator, freezer and by your stove
- Basic skills & supplies in the kitchen to master for quick and proper preparation
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List of recipes to mix and match per the menu shopped for each week
~click here for your free pdf of the sample menu above~