The following article was co-written by my friend Judith and I. It was originally posted on our website called Being & Doing – a project where we talk about spiritual and personal development and how we think it links to creating a better world around us (site is currently under construction).
Too Busy to Live
How busy have you been today?
Have you had a moment to catch your breath, close your eyes and check in with yourself?
The world is spinning out of control and so are we. We get up in the morning, commute to work, shop for groceries, take care of loved ones, meet friends, cook dinner. A day turns into a month, a year, a lifetime. Getting caught up in the constant hustle and bustle is easy – often we don’t even realise that we have lost our way or burned out until it hits us where it hurts. All of a sudden, we feel anxious or depleted, dissatisfied or depressed, restless or petrified – sometimes even all at once. Something seems to be lacking.
We start to wonder: What can I do to make this better?
What if the answer doesn’t start with doing, but rather being? Our reflex is to look for betterment outside of us. But before we do anything, we must learn to connect with ourselves and simply be.
Does this suggestion make you nervous, perhaps even angry? Do you find the idea of slowing down and being with yourself scary? The truth is: whatever feeling may come up for you, it has been there all along. You were just too busy to notice, or too afraid to give it your full attention.
Realising this, you make a brave new choice: Instead of looking away and getting once again caught up in your usual doing, you do the hard yet brave thing: You lean in. You find that it’s messy here, possibly even really painful because you may be required to let go of old habits, feelings, perhaps even people. Your mind and body will tell you to stay in your comfort zone, where you feel and do the familiar. But your heart will tell a different story, one that feels more truthful. This time you choose your heart over your head, and with every little step you take, you create space for new things to enter: You begin to remember forgotten desires – things you’ve made a habit of discarding as ridiculous or unrealistic. This time, though, you allow yourself to play them out in your mind, to feel them, to imagine what it would be like to live them. You start to understand that the answers you sought have always been within you. And you wonder if perhaps there is a different and more authentic way for you to live your life. There is.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are – E.E. Cummings
Following the calling of our heart and letting go of the things that do not serve us can be difficult and scary. But as we become more connected to ourselves and conscious of what we have to offer, we also become more grounded and at peace. No longer expecting our doing to fulfill us, we start to enjoy our journey and trust in a vision that feels both our own as well as greater than us. As our own life transforms, everyone around us benefits, too. That’s the beauty of doing the inner work: The more we heal ourselves, the more compassionate and free we become to attend to the pain of others.
Albert Einstein once said that problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them. Whether it’s problems we face in our personal life or as a society – solving them will require us to adopt a new perspective. This perspective starts with the realisation that all outer challenges are ultimately reflections of an inner crisis – exacerbated by one core wound in particular: Our belief that we are separate from one another. As a result we have created a culture of fear and competition rather than love and cooperation. To change this, we must attend to this inner wound so that our outer doing becomes once again grounded in kindness and compassion. These qualities are our true human nature, but as with anything worthwhile, they require care and work. Now more than ever, we need to be courageous and willing to do this work. Willing to face and heal our wounds, so we can become fully present in our life and use our unique talents to create a better world for everyone.
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