I am guilty of being a time and space stuffer. What that means is I try to fill every waking hour with things to do when I am in resistance and avoidance to just being with myself and listening. Even though I usually stuff the time with good things, journaling, painting, movement, taking amazing classes both artistic and spiritual, connecting with others and these all get me "out of my head" sometimes we have to stop and quiet down and be with exactly what is in our heads. It is called meta-cognition, thinking about thinking. Or in some spiritual traditions its called contemplation as opposed to meditation. Where we contemplate and witness what our thoughts are rather than trying to "clear them out'. And I will admit sometimes witnessing what we are thinking, or feeling can be scary, because we have been taught certain emotions are BAD. And so we stuff them down and avoid them, rather than be with them and transmute them into something healing; we ignore them because we fear that our world may be turned upside even if it already is. Our minds are afraid of change more than they are afraid of the hot mess that we know and love. And so we stuff our lives with constantly doing something. But left unchecked and unloved those emotions are under the surface running you. However when we witness and reflect on what we are feeling, and say I love you angry (insert any emotion) sweetheart, that part of you begins to shift and the energy is diffused.
I am writing about it this week because it came up in conversation with one of my beloveds, she mentioned how she fills her time even when she has spaciousness in order to avoid being with herself. And I know we all do it, and I honor her for speaking it out loud. We all talk about how busy (four-letter word) we all are, but are we really? Or do we have to be? I know I filled my schedule for the fall because it is when I am at my energetic best, and because my hubby and son are gone a lot, and with the intent to slow down and go into internal reflection for part of Nov and Dec. and it will take every ounce of self-disipline to not fill that time up. Which for me could mean adding another class to the schedule, reaching out to connect and have one on one meetings, creating curriculum...a whole host of things that my mind tells me needs to get done, or will run the story that if I disappear for 3 weeks the whole world will forget about me. Talk about an Inner Mean Girl stepping into the spotlight.
Busy has become a badge of honor, a measure of self-esteem and success, but it is none of those things, it is avoidance of being with our emotions. I know many of you will disagree with me on this, you are mothers, you work, you have commitments, you have no time for yourself. But is that truth? For those of you with little ones, yes there are some years when finding a moment for you seems monumental, I get it. But I also know I went through a period when my son was older and could do things for himself that I was holding onto to "taking care of and doing everything", which is actually a disservice to both of us, so I stopped. I was doing those things because I wanted to feel needed and wanted, and because I did not want to face that part of me that was looking for external love by not saying no to anything instead of saying yes to a deep love of myself.
I am going to challenge you this week, when you are doing your weekly planning to REALLY look at everything on your list from a place of non-attachment. To look at what is really needed, and what isn't, to look at all the things you are doing for everyone else, and all the things you have inserted into your day in order to avoid being with yourself, and consider simplifying, or maybe even saying no, or at least not right now. Not everything has to be right now, particularly those things others are asking you to do. I would also challenge the mothers of older kids to see if we are time and space stuffing our kids' schedules (which then time and space stuffs ours) so that they too never learn to just be with themselves, and God forbid bored. We call all stand to be a little bored, because that is in and of itself something to go within and look at, why does spending time just being present and breathing have to be boring? We are pretty complex and intriguing beings if we just observe ourselves.
So look at your list, transform some to-do's into to-don'ts and spend some time with yourself and just observe.
I will also add this wisdom bite, and something I have learned to be absolutely true, when you fill every minute of every day you leave no energetic space for the new and exciting possibilities to appear or emerge. I have found that when I create spaciousness all sorts of opportunities and possibilities appear.
I would love to hear some things you have chosen to not do, and how that has created spaciousness and possibility for you.