Busyness: What’s Hiding Behind Your To Do List?

“Busyness is an illness of the spirit.”

– Eugene Peterson

It’s been a very busy few weeks for me. Travel, work, all of it has kept me both out of the studio (and subbing out my regular classes) and off my mat.

As a full-time freelance writer, I spend a lot of time trying to manage projects and hit deadlines. Many times, those deadlines happen to fall bright and early on a Monday morning which means I’m working through the weekend. I find that I spend countless hours in front of the computer typing away, researching, interviewing, and by the time I look up, the entire day has slipped past.

Recently, I was having a conversation with my partner. It’s been a hard year for both of us. Jobs, two moves, a new city that neither one of us loves, total upheaval, the death of one of our beloved pets, a ton of stupid things popping up and asking to be dealt with, all have made the last year of our lives blur by in one rather-unsatisfying fell swoop. A friend recently posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, “I am going to make it  through this year if it kills me.”  As the year winds down, I feel exactly that way.

We’ve been busy. Busy trying to catch all the things that have been thrown at us. Busy trying to deal with all the right turns, changes, and busy building a new life (again) but recently, I’ve been working on being less busy.

But Who Are You Showering With?

You’ve heard it all before. The inundation of technology has made us all more connected but it’s also made it harder for us to not be busy. There are studies out there and plenty of stories of failing marriages, terrible jobs, bad health habits all being hidden under a good helping of to do lists.

If you read my post last week, you know that I have recently started employing a tactic that artist Samantha Ritchie mentioned and uses to keep herself aware of the present moment. I loosely call it the “Who are you showering with,” method.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you are physically doing something say, taking a shower but, your mind is somewhere else, say thinking about that conversation you had with your sister, or planning for your next meal?

Instead of letting your mind run off and be busy, what if you just tried to stay present with what was going on in the shower? The feel of the water, the sound of the steam? That’s the trick. Ask yourself who you are showering with. Is your boss yelling at you? Are your co-workers demanding your attention? Whatever you’re doing right now, just do that. Try to breathe into it.

The Hardest Thing to Do is to Be Still

“One of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy. I often say that when they start having 12-step meetings for busy-aholics, they’ll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.”

– Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

My sister hates yoga because she can’t stand savasana. She says that she’s “too busy” to lay on the floor for 5 more minutes.

Last week a student in one of my classes commented after a 75-minute Restorative class, that it was one of the hardest practices she’s ever done. She’s a regular practitioner with a robust practice herself and I think we did a total of maybe 7 poses throughout the entire class–all of them supported and soft.

She’s right, though. Becoming still in the world of busyness to just be with ourselves and our loved ones is one of the hardest things we can do. It asks us to go inside and be with whatever scary monsters live there. It asks us to just be alone with our thoughts and our physical sensations and not jump from one thing to the next. It asks us to take a good hard look at what’s really going on in our internal monologue.

I’m here to tell you are absolutely not alone in this struggle because it’s currently what’s going on in my life and I bet, if I looked at it long enough, I might discover that there’s something greater going on there.

So, as I ask myself who I am showering with and what’s hiding underneath my to do list–I invite you to do the same. Feel into the edges of that sensation and see if you discover something that could change the way you approach the busyness.









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  1. This is aa great blog

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