March Balance: Busy Does Not Equal Important

I skipped February, so my March Balance post is closely taken from a blog I wrote for my day-job about one of the reasons I found meditation.

In modern culture, we seem to idolize being busy. How many times have you answered: “How are you doing?” with “Busy” (or some variation of it), with the subconscious hope that you one-up the other person with your importance and irreplaceability. By being “busy” we think we’ll make a mark on society and be remembered. “Busy” has become synonymous with important; yet how silly would we sound if we answered, “How are you doing?” with “Important”?

I used to worship in the Cult of Busy, and admit I am a recovering busy addict who has slip-ups like anyone else. My worship of busy started as a way to relieve stress and cope with other issues. I always needed to be doing or involved in something. I always needed to keep my mind and body occupied. And for the most part I was happy — or thought I was. Yet, I would become irritable and frustrated whenever I had to sit something out. I’d think, “What was I going to do with those new hours of my time?!” or “How was I going to make my mark to be greatly remembered and continue being important!?”

I didn’t intentionally search out meditation as a solution (if I had I would have probably only done the productivity meditations, lol). I started to find meditation in running. Although it was also a way to be busy, I could allow my mind to wander and regenerate. Letting thoughts run out with each foot fall and pound of the pavement. In grad school after some injury, I began to take a closer look at yoga and attended lunch-time classes with a friend. While I liked how my muscles felt longer and stronger after each session, the Savasana at the end where we laid on our mats for 5-10 minutes didn’t hurt either. I found a group of like-minded spiritual people with whom discussion could be shared about creating and sending more positive energy into the universe. It was here that I really learned to be ok with my introverted, introspective nature and use it as a powerful tool to heal my destructive thoughts.

After saying “yes” to too many things, being near burnout, and suffering an illness that forced me to rest and sit more things out, I began to see just how useless “busy” was. I noticed I wasn’t even paying attention to the present and was always steps ahead in planning for the future, but never enjoying it when it came. I began to focus more on mindfulness and my relationships improved, I felt mentally clearer, and relaxed enough to know what was and was not within my control (but that’s another topic for another day). I began to lose interest in being “important and remembered” at least in the sense of grandeur and instead chose to find balance and enjoyment in life. If I was always striving to achieve something in the future, how could I actually make an impact on the present?

Even this January, I pulled myself back again to recognize what instances was I taking on too much, when was I using “busy” as an excuse when something really just wasn’t a priority at the moment (and internally recognize that), and what my overall long term goals are – and reprioritize to help get there… making those steps in the present that can influence my future paths.

Far more people remember our actions and how we make them feel than what we said or how much we did. I’ve made a vow to make a continuous effort to slow down and live in the now, even if it’s only five minutes a day to sit and practice mindful meditation. It’s always a challenge and will forever be a fight against the flow of the Cult of Busy, but it will ultimately end in a better quality of life.

Namaste.

 


December Balance: Kate

My Puppy Kate, Katie, Katers, Honey Bunches, my sweet little fur ball.  
Growing up we never had a dog or cats, just rabbits – which are super cute but not quite the activity companion I was hoping for as an adult. Since grad school I always knew I wanted a dog once I was out on my own, but hesitated when my first apartment really didn’t have the space or outdoor access required for the type of dog I wanted. When I started to date C, he said that he had a dog and we would take lots of hikes (and still do) with her. At first I’m not too sure she knew what to think of me – someone else taking up her owner’s time! She used to stand between our legs when C and I would like hug – just a little jealous/territorial. Kate’s definitely warmed up to me and I now am convinced I’m the favorite. Shhh, don’t tell C.

C adopted Kate about a year before we met from a local shelter. In his rendition of the story, he went in and instantly knew she was the one but the shelter caretakers kept asking if her was sure since she was so high energy and he wouldn’t be home during the day. Thank goodness he insisted and continues to run her 2-4 miles most mornings to get out some of that energy (she’s part Australian Cattle Dog part Pit Bull). She’s now 5 years old and has calmed down a little – as soon as she gets dinner she is asleep for the night most nights rather than playing tugs of war until well into the night. She’s still quirky as ever but sleeps a bit more.

This bundle of fur (lots and lots of fur) is one of the highlights of my day – she jumps out of bed when I come down stairs in the morning and greets me at the door every evening. She sniffs you then back her butt not you to have it scratched – sill pup. Even when I’m having an awful day seeing her just makes everything better. Her energy and happiness make me want the same thing, enjoying the simplest of life’s pleasures like a walk outside or playing and being silly. She helps keep me balanced and not so focused on the trivial parts in life.

Best of all, she constantly keeps me laughing: only wanting her butt scratched when you greet her, eating snow but abhorring rain, freaking out with any squeaker toy, whining incessantly until she gets her walk or run of the day, becoming startled by her own toots, only playing with toys on the rug, and so much more.

I love this girl. I really got lucky with the C and Kate package deal.

Peace and love,

Ingrid