At various times in my life, I have found myself to be extremely busy. These last three or four weeks have been like that. Elise, my wife was away at a workshop, we are selling our Volkswagon westfalia and our Boler which have needed to be cleaned and fixed up, there is school and lunches and play for the kids and then my practice here at Wellness on Whyte. I won’t bore you with the other details but let’s just say I’ve been busy.
If you’re like me, you have a set way of dealing with the stress of busyness. For me, I get compressed, slightly frenetic (if I just work all the time, it’ll get done). I close in around myself and become tense. Head down and move forward almost forgetting to breathe.
We don’t really think about it -it is our learned response that has worked for us in the past. We put this protocol into play as soon as the events around us call for it. If we stop and think about it, we have set patterns for how we deal with almost anything. How we deal with conflict, how we deal with time off, how we think about food and eating -even how we rest and sleep. It is normal for us to respond in certain ways to events that unfold around us. Perhaps we can even call them habits. They are the embodied way we characteristically approach life. Our friends, partners and colleagues at work know all too well these patterns.
For us they are much more difficult to see and feel because they are so close to us. Who we are and how we act is much like a container -mind, body, emotions, the relationships with friends and at work as well as where we live and our natural environment -all interconnected and at play. Because our patterns are so engrained and we feel them so deeply, we see them as “just who we are”. Sometimes we playfully talk about our patterns as the unchangeable aspects of ourselves that we have come to accept.
What is interesting and is now becoming such an important topic of research is that we are not etched in stone -we are pliable, resilient and agile -if we choose to be. We are as capable of learning new ways of being and change as young children -just a bit more resistant to it. So instead of reacting in our normally way, we open ourselves to the wildness of life with a fresh perspective. We have other options. I’m not saying this is easy -but it can be if we practice.
The Practice: How to approach life with ease and openness
- Sensing ourselves – taking moments of time to simply become aware of the container of ourselves -emotions, mind, body, connections with others and connection with our environment (both unnatural and natural).
- Kindness to ourselves – this is very important -to observe and sense ourselves without judging as either good or bad –
- Centreing: Breathing calmly in our lower abdomen, feeling our connections with others and our environment and acting with an inner knowing that we are capable of meeting everything in our lives that comes up.
I put this practice to use in the last couple of weeks. Of course, in the intensity of all the activities I was trying to accomplish, things went sideways. Instead of reacting in my usual pattern, I was at ease. I watched my breath and felt it deeply in my lower abdomen, I took time to look at the trees and enjoy nature around me, I opened my senses to my family, friends and colleagues and told myself that I would meet each obstacle that came my way. I am happy to report that it has been a much healthier way to approach life.
Keep in mind though:
I was still busy
Things still went wrong
My natural inclination to follow my patterned response was still there.
What was different was that I chose a different way of being with it.