One of the great gifts of stepping away from our home is the chance to start over again. I have this incredible view into how I was operating daily life back in Boulder - what was working, what was not working, though I didn't see it clearly.
One of my patterns is that I am a do-er. I can often be found making dinner, firing off a few texts, then finishing a post, or a call, with just enough time to get my kids to practice. Then I hustle them home, feed them, rush them to get ready for bed so I can speed read to them and have a moment with my partner. Oy.
Can you relate?
Believe me, this ambitious, I-do-it-all, action-oriented attitude has served me. I'm sure it has you, too. Being a do-er is highly valued in our society, and as a result, many of us step up to fit the need.
But as I sink into the quiet of the days with my kids back at school, and spend much of my day in very intentional solitude, I find a question bubbling forth with urgency:
IS THIS NECESSARY?
It is my new mantra. I find myself asking it at every turn as the impulse to take on something new strikes. And so often, the answer is no.
You see, many of us constantly DO not because we entirely want to, but because we literally can't stop. It's a pattern that runs deep. We have YEARS of practice and praise from living this way. "Look how much you're doing! Look what you accomplished!" As if the million frenzied things we do gives us another sticker for our chart. We rarely consider what is lost living this way - the moments, the calm, the relationships, quality of health and more - in the pursuit of "doing it all."
It starts as a genuine desire to contribute, share our love, and give. But it ends up being a personally destructive mode of being, one that will have lasting consequences if we're not careful.
If there is quiet, we turn on the music. If we have nothing to do, we frantically call a friend to schedule tea. If we finish a work project, before regrouping, we blast forth to the next one. While we're on our vacation, we're obsessively looking for flights for the next trip.
Overcommitting ourselves without considering the implications is not something to be praised, though on the outside it might appear "impressive." It displays a of lack of self-awareness and groundedness. It comes from a yearning to be significant and, at its root, a fear that we are not.
None of us wants to live with fear, conscious or not, being our driving emotion. And there is nothing exceptional about doing a million things shit-ily.
What blows my mind and stops me in my tracks are people who say NO. Not today. I'm staying in, thank you. I have enough on my plate already. I'd like to focus on what I'm doing. I treasure my alone time.
These are my people.
I am not the mom on the playground waiting to pick up my kids with a look of eager (desperate) anticipation to meet people in this new community of mine. Lord, no. My anonymity feels amazing right now. I am settling into it like the comfy sweatpants I don each day.
I am the one who stands alone, surrounded by groups of chatty circles, not feeling the least bit excluded, who pulls down my hat over my eyes, and awaits my precious, squealing child with a hug. Because my kids are who I really want to give my energy to.
And I am more comfortable in myself than I have been in long, long while.
To stepping out of the race, if even for a moment.
"The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long." Lao Tzu