Pulling the emergency brake on life
I took a wee break over Easter and headed to the West Coast. It was glorious! I haven’t yet seen much of the West Coast and the experience was a sheer delight for me (except the sandflies!).
I didn’t take my laptop, I left my phone on silent. I took no work material, just food and a novel. This for me is a triumph. I am a head person, I learn, write and read endlessly and to slam my brakes on and simply stop, is something of a challenge.
The first 24 hours were painful….talk about withdrawals. I fidgeted, checked things, over unpacked and couldn’t read a few pages of my book without getting up. Frankly, I was lost and found the whole stopping thing unsettling. Did I not have stuff to do?
The following morning I got up, sat outside with a coffee and breathed in the sea air, watched the waves and nothing else. NOTHING ELSE. It was blissful. I didn’t have to do anything for anyone, be something for someone, organises things, plan things, learn things. NADA. Not a thing had to be done.
Have I really been living my life at such a manic pace? I didn’t think so. Yet things happen faster and faster as each year passes. Everything seems to have an urgency, needs to be done now.
We run a schedule of important stuff all day long. I even see devices that tell folk when to eat, when to move and how well they are sleeping. It stuns me how we need some latest piece of technology to tell us what to do and when! Bugger that! This stopping business is rather decadent. I’m liking it. As I sit here, I’m wondering what do I do to keep so busy and just how much of it is necessary?
Maybe I am over reacting, or maybe not. It worries me, that we are forgetting to be human and we have settled to having these inhumane expectations of ourselves. I meet so many people who have no time, are exhausted, tired, depressed and over-committed (I’ve been one of them). Who wants to feel like this all the time. I don’t. So I’m going to choose to stop even when my internal dialogue does this:
‘‘But I can’t stop, When will it get done?’’ ‘‘It won’t, so be it.’’ ‘‘But people rely on me.’’ ‘‘They can rely on themselves this time. Give them the gift or becoming resourceful.’’
We do so much because we feel we have to, that we do not listen to our bodies screaming at us to halt. It’s only when we get sick that we pay attention.
We thrive on being efficient multi-taskers that we do not enjoy what we do and we become too stretched. We push aside the things we enjoy and the people we love to get it all done. Sounds a bit insane, does it not?
What if we took 15 minutes a day to stop (or even several ‘15 minutes’), press the pause button and looked out at the world - not watch TV. I intend to add that to my day to stop myself from going nutty. I’m going to choose to do a little less and appreciate what I do. I’m going to make it important enough to happen, because no one will arrange it for me, they’re too busy! www.saheralaing.com
12072017. Sahera Laing, therapist.