So often, we say, “I’m busy,” or “I’m so busy,” and hopefully we’re blessed and able to add in the small line after that says, “well, at least I’m busy with good things.” Do we often stop to contemplate some of what is making us busy and assess if they’re all things we need to or want to do? I’m talking more than time maps or an accounting of our days or making a beautiful calendar/bullet journal, or however you keep your schedule, journal, memories, other life writing or goals and to-do’s organized.
In reality, how often do we allow ourselves time to think if we have the energy, (mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.,) to do all we’re doing, or be in touch with the people or things we often feel obliged towards? We may love spending time with family and still, that good choice means limited time to be busy with other things.
Whether you have aging parents to attend to, or check in with, or you’re in the time of life when there are little kids, or teenagers in your house, or your job or career, vocation or artistry is pulling you in many directions and it all feels “pressing” at this moment, or if you’ve, God forbid, hit a health care crisis patch yourself, or with a loved, one, it’s okay to stop. Just stop, even for a moment. Stop, breathe, look both ways and then, and only then, decide if you want to, need to, or are going to, keep crossing that metaphorical street of whatever busy or obligation you have. Many of the things we do for our families, our loved ones, or our work are true joys. It’s important to know what parts of these we get stressed by and then see what things are necessary and what parts of life are no longer necessary. If possible, we can also try to get assistance where needed so things feel less stressful and “busy-making.”
I once heard a speaker named, Frumie Krause, say something in a speech she gave about having faith in difficult times, She said,“We’re all so busy. Everyone’s always rushing and going. We say, we’re ‘stressed.’ That’s a part of life. Living people have stress. They’re rushing and busy and have places to go.” She contrasted that with, “You know, you go to a cemetery and nobody’s rushing there. It says ‘rest in peace.’ “ And she’s right, even if the image is jarring. I have to be careful to remember that I am choosing some of my busy-ness and stress. Not all of it for sure, but some of it. Maybe others out there can relate as well?!
How we deal with stress affects our physical health as well, as I often think just as I’m eating another amazing piece of chocolate after a day, my Mother would refer to as a, “what a day from hunger,” meaning aaaaah, what a stressful day.
I had a whole summer once when dealing with a daily stressor in our home where I drank copious amounts of chocolate almond milk. And now I rarely have it. It was like my reminder to slow down, calm down, drink the chocolate almond milk, go in the bedroom, breathe deeply, count to 10, and try to reemerge as a person who’s better equipped to deal with this stressor. Sometimes that magic worked and other days, not so much.
I read once that motivational speaker, teacher, writer and rabbi, Shais Taub said, “I can’t change this…and that’s a prayer.”
That is a letting go. Letting loose what you can’t control and can’t do or can’t change. It’s very freeing. And less busy-making!
Not many adults I know like to hang out with a bossypants: not as a friend, a sibling, a parent, a co-worker, a person you hire for something, etc. Being pushy or a “Mr. or Mrs. I Know Better” is a surefire way to turn people off.
So why are we sometimes little bossypants or “Ms. I Know Better” people to ourselves? If you’re feeling overly busy, tired, drained, overwhelmed, you can’t sleep or you’ve got a lot pressing on your mind and your life and time for work or school or family, then you may not be feeling so much JOY. Possibly, it’s time to think about the following general ideas of how to bring more calm, space, rest and renewal into your life by doing less and hopefully experiencing a little more “joy”:
1) Listen to yourself and what your body and life are telling you in a myriad of ways. Maybe now is not the time to try to do everything on your bucket list. Maybe those things can happen on the 10 year plan, not by the end of next month!
2) Be kind to yourself. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s super hard. One way to start is to act the opposite of how you’re feeling. In other words, if you’re feeling kvetchy at yourself that you didn’t finish x, y and z, just try to tune that voice out and if taking a nice, warm bath or listening to soft music makes you feel good, then try to do that for as long as your mind will allow you to. You’re trying to not listen to the bossypants, or not nice, voice.
3)Journal: Write it down. Get out a notebook and write. If it’s hard to start, find a writing prompt that calls to you and time yourself for 2 minutes without letting your pen/pencil leave the paper. This type of freewriting just keeps you in writing mode without editing. The idea is to just get it out, without the editing voice. It’s only for you.
Personally, why do I write? I write to hear myself think. To have a space for exploring what’s going on in my mind and life, to unfurl the emotions and then to have space to process them when I read it over again afterwards or later.
If you look back at the “big” joyful moments in your life and what the feeling state(s) you had at the time were, you’ll most probably see that these were all things that had something to do with feeling or giving love, gratitude, a sense of having completed something big that you’d worked towards, or a way in which you’d volunteered or helped someone else.
These are all much bigger “senses of purpose,” than being busy. I wish for you to BE BUSY with what matters in your heart and in your mind, not just on your agenda items list. It’s okay to say, “not now or not ever” to those things, commitments, appointments, people or to-do’s that drain and keep you busy and don’t fill your personal sized coffee cup full of joy or help you connect to those things that give you a greater sense of purpose and meaning!
Keep your cup filled with those things that keep you living, breathing and hopefully making meaning and bringing light into your own world and into the lives of others. This is less about doing and more about being.
Reach out to us here at joyfestivalindustries.com and let us know your thoughts on bringing joy into life during busy times, slower times and those times of reassessment in your own life. 😊Email [email protected]