This is a subject that been coming up a lot recently between friends and within my own self journey. When we hear the call to slow down and do some self care but then get racked with guilt for giving ourselves that time.
This has so many levels to me, and has taken me a couple of years to unravel and I know it will take me a few more years to get to a full place of ease with slow living. But even though its uncomfortable for me to do, when I really tune in to my soul and listen to the language I use I know that's its right.
"Getting comfortable with the discomfort"
When we commit to listening to our truth, the calling that comes from deep within, somethimes the choices that we make are seriously uncomfortable, they go against every fibre of our outer being, the body that we've inhabited and the mind set that we've lived in for most of our lives, but even though this is the case, still in the under currents of the soul we know that we are destined for a different life, that if we're brave enough there is a calling that day by day is getting louder for us to slow the f@#k down!
This calling may show to us in the form of repeat illness, exhaustion, brain fog, stress, dis-ease, a feeling were missing out on something more, or just the deep knowledge that we place ourselves last every time we make a decision. It may be our child saying "mummy your always on your phone" or our dogs looking at us longing for a walk where instead were sitting at the laptop finding the next job to do, or our relationships becoming more distant. In the end we know, when that call comes all that's going to happen is it gets louder and louder until we actually listen.
But then when we choose to listen, its not over, there's a whole other world of discomfort that comes from listening and responding, its called guilt, the guilt you feel when you know others are working and you are resting, the guilt you feel if you stop for a minute and give yourself some you time, for me currently its a guilt that I'm nurturing my new ideas and not immediately monetising them, as this doesn't feel like work, it feels like play, but why can't play be work?
Because we've been sold the story we have to be marters, we have to suffer to be worthy, that work should be hard, stressful and exhausting to mean that we are actually doing a good job, and if we actually enjoy it then we must be lacking something, not pushing ourselves to the limits or maybe we could even dare we say it do more!
As I write that I realise how utterly insane that narrative is, but its a narrative that swirls around my head daily, and I know it swirls through friends heads too, the thought that if we're not obviously killing ourselves then we're not working, so therefor we should feel guilty!
I look at others who are suffering, who are working so hard they can't smile in the day or have barely laughed for years, I look at the people who get home and are so stressed they have to open a glass of wine and I look at the people that live off of stimulant drinks to get them going through the day, I look at the people who get up at 4am and don't get in until 9pm and what do I feel....guilt...guilt that I'm not doing that, guilt that my body and my soul won't let me do that!!! Again...insane!
So I realise this is madness, that this whole guilt is wrapped up in what I see as the busy-ness culture, the all hale the people hat work a million hours as they are the ones that obviously care, and I realise this is a layer that's wrapped around me, so I ask myself why, how did it get there...as I know its not just me. Why else would be work ourselves to our hospital beds week in week out, when actually a lot of us have enough to live off of if we did less? Why else would we put going to work over walking in nature or spending time with our family?
This wrapping is due to a mixture of reasons, the easiest thing would be to blame society, our nuture, our upbringing, and yes that does play into it.
From school we're told be must work hard to achieve, if we look like we're having fun then we can't be working hard enough, we could do better, get higher grades and that's the most important thing, and to make it even worse when its time to go home to play we're given work to do, work at home so we are being told that you must take work home, home is a place to work too as well as work.
Then we hit the outside world and its all about promotions and the next step on the ladder, the constant admiration for the people climbing the ladder the quickest working the hardest.
That's easy to point the finger at, but what about the deeper reasons, the addiction to busy, and then the justification of busy by others incouraging it. I've talked about it before, the need to hide away from the trauma in making ourselves busy, others hide in drugs and alchohol and we wouldn't say to them well done your doing so well at drinking lots keep it up, look at all the incredible alcohol you've drunk, yet when people hide in the busy we reward this by patting them on the back and saying you go girl, look at how much you hold down, look how awesome you are, I don't know how you do it, you're truly amazing. All things said to me when I was hiding in the busy.
I digress, so there we are making busy the best place to be, the place to aspire to, but what happens when we get the call to go the other way, to leave the busy and start to face those demons, o start to put our selves slightly higher up the list.
As we slow the guilt grows, the need to find things to do becomes more intense yet I know I'm responding to the madness and I know the true path is slow. And why is the guilt there...well under every negative emotion there sits the big scary world of fear..yes I'm back that fear drives the guilt, fear of not being socially accepted, fear of not having enough money, fear of stagnation and the biggest ne of all fear of the unknown, the deep well that sits below the busy the unknow space I've yet to go.
Over the past month I've been slowing, day by day I find myself needing to do less and allowing myself to fill up more, I still get what needs to be done done, I'm not dropping into lazy (which I fear) and I find myself riding the wave of guilt from minute to minute, one minute totally happy to sit and read a book, knowing its doing the work to nourish my soul and also planting new seeds to grow into something bigger, and then the next a crashing wave of guilt, "what have I actually done today", back to the sense of calm that comes from the knowledge that I am on the right path.
I look forward to the day where slowness is the new busy, were we don't have to strive to kill ourselves for our work, but we actually openly aspire to doing less. I look forward to the day when doing less isn't every ones dirty little secret dream, we can openly talk about it without feeling like we're demonstrating a severe lack of appreciation of our talents and our time as humans.
Because in the end what does it really mean to be human, is it time spent opposite a computer screen or is it time spent with loved ones?
When we really ask ourselves that question we can feel the guilt eb away, as in my mind a waste of life is the life spent at a desk, not the life spent taking walks and reading books, smelling the fresh air and feeling the feels of being human.
This reminds me of a poem
Let me tell the tale,
Of a girl who didn't stop, Who climbed up every mountain Without a pause upon the top. She'd dance until each blade of grass Was clothed in drops of dew, And the sun knew her by name But the silver moon did too. For a fear had settled in her bones; A fear of sitting still, That if you're not moving forward It must mean you never will. So in time her dance got slower And she looked at all she'd seen, But found gaps inside the places That she'd never fully been, For she was a human doing Human moving, human seeing, But she'd never taken time To simply be a human being
Have a guilt free, nourishing self caring love filled bank holiday weekend everyone.