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Holistic Family Healing - The Myth of Busyness - by Catherine Van Wetter
Have you ever wondered who you are if you are not busy? Busy taking care of other people, busy working, busy doing “stuff”?
Years ago, due to a serious foot injury, I was forced to stop doing things. I couldn’t exercise, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t distract myself by continuously running around, and I noticed that I slipped into a mild depression. This may have been due, in part, to the fact that I wasn’t exercising regularly, but the biggest awareness that I came to was, “Who am I if I am not being of service?”
It was fascinating how that question literally shook the very essence of who I thought that I was. For years, I have been a mom, a wife, a single parent, an educator and a seeker. When I was forced to slow down, it was as if my system went into shock. I began thinking of all the ways that I had failed in my life, all of the things that I “couldn’t” do, and how much time I had used simply by filling up my time with “busyness”. I was very hard on myself and found myself being envious of those folks who could spend hours seemingly doing nothing, and it didn’t seem to bother them! I allowed myself to be swept away with catastrophic thinking. It was a powerful experience that I was more than ready to let go of.
Years later, I still catch myself noticing how I am when I don’t have a task at hand. While there at times the unease of doing nothing, I know that it is all right to give myself permission to stop doing and start being.
In everyday life, how does one step off of the “dread mill” of busyness? What I find works for me is the awareness that I may be experiencing a withdrawal of doing. I begin to notice what my thoughts are, how my body feels, and whether I am being present in the moment.
As I begin to practice what I often teach others about befriending any situation that we find ourselves in, I am able, with a compassionate heart, to begin looking at the core of what is coming up for me. I begin becoming acutely aware of how our society encourages the myth of busyness. This ranges from the multi-tasking that we do at work, either by our own choice or being forced to, to the continuous stimulus that we are inundated with minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day. It’s as if our “on” switch never goes “off’. If this happens for a long period of time, we can start to feel the ill affects of it in areas of our life that we are most vulnerable in. For instance, our health can become comprised, our relationships strained, or our overall outlook on life one of dread rather than of joy.
Stepping away from the notion that one must be busy all of the time is truly a retraining of who we think we are in this world. I have come to realize that if I don’t take time to slow down and refuel myself with stillness, nature, solitude or doing nothing, I will pay for it. I will not be as productive, optimistic or compassionate as I know that I am capable of.
There are some of us who have been taught to believe that if we take care of ourselves by doing nothing, that we are being selfish and unproductive. I have learned over the years that it is selfish not to take time to do the proverbial “nothing”.
It’s all about finding balance, and knowing that doing nothing on occasion is a really wonderful gift to give to our self and to others. Try it. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Catherine VanWetter, MSW is a Holistic Family Healing Practitioner trained in a variety of techniques that help people come to a place of peace within themselves. Her newest book and meditation CD, "The Soul of the Heart", offers inspiration, deep healing and hope during these turbulent times.
Download Catherine's Morning Meditation Free at http://www.ToTheHeartOfTheMatter.com. Like this article? Visit Catherine's blog: http://totheheartofthematter.com/blog.html Interact with Catherine: Twitter: @SouloftheHeart Facebook: Catherine VanWetter