by Kara-Leah Grant, Musings from the Mat
This was originally sent out as the editorial on October’s Monthly Digest. People loved it and a asked me to publish it on the website, so here it is, with an update.
Today, I sat down with a spreadsheet and whipped up a calendar for my month.
I blocked out the hours when Samuel is in childcare and I wrote down all the weekly and monthly tasks I need to do to keep my business running.
It was a sobering exercise.
Even allowing for extra childcare hours by paying a family friend to hang out with Samuel two afternoons a week, I am trying to do more than I have hours available for. Even adding in evenings three times a week doesn’t give me enough time to do what I’m already committed to.
Wow! No wonder I feel like I’m never getting around to some tasks!
I physically don’t have enough time to do everything that’s on my plate.
And I was going to write another book… that project is now on hold as I get realistic and start finishing off projects.
I’m taking on nothing new for the rest of the year. In fact, I’m taking on nothing new until time actually opens up in my day.
Somehow, even though I work for myself and practice yoga and don’t feel the need for more, more, more… I too had bought into the more is better mindset.
I was trying to do more and more and more in order to get somewhere – more traffic, more subscribers, more income.
The last is a necessity of course. I do need to make more income so I can survive without government support.
But I’ve realised that as a single parent, I don’t have the luxury of working a forty hour week – which means I should stop beating myself up about not making a forty-hour income.
Part of this exercise was so I could work smarter. Yes, finish off projects I’ve already started. But also only say yes to projects that directly led to income. I’ve noticed a tendency to say yes to projects that support and help other people, but don’t necessarily bring home the bacon. All good and well when you’ve got time and money up your sleeve… but an act of self-sabotage when you have neither.
But how many of us do this? Pack our lives full of commitments, many of which serve other people, at the expense of ourselves? We say yes because we’re empathetic and compassionate and kind and want to help out.
We want to make a difference in the world, so we volunteer here, or help out there, or donate time for that.
In the meantime, we feel like we never have enough time. We always racing from this thing to that thing and back again.
I’ve decided I don’t want to live like that. I’ve decided the most important thing in my life is having time to be – just time to be!
Wow – what a revolutionary thought that is! You mean, you’ve got time to just… lie on the couch and watch the clouds float past the mountains? You’ve got time to take your child down to the river for three hours and just throw rocks? You’ve got time to read a book on a Sunday afternoon in front of the fire? You’ve got time to spend an afternoon baking? And not feel guilty doing it?
Well… not yet. But that’s exactly what I’m working towards. Projects that pay income and time that’s free – completely free. Free to sit, free to watch, free to listen, free to be.
Free time is revolutionary. It’s radical. It’s downright dangerous.
Dangerous? Why on earth is free time to be dangerous?
Because when we just sit around with ourselves and contemplate life, strange things start to happen. Apples fall on our heads and gravity reveals itself. Music plays in our head and symphonies write themselves. We open up and life gets brighter and lighter and more… real.
The curious thing is the sky doesn’t fall down. Our lives don’t collapse. There is an ease and a flow that arises.
Suddenly, it feels like we’re being lived. Suddenly, we have a life again.
So in your life, as the year winds down towards closure, take a look at how you spend your time and ask yourself:
- Are you saying yes to things you’d rather not be doing?
- Can you finish up projects and finally get them off your plate?
- Have you unconsciously bought into the more, more, more mindset?
- Are you trying to fit more into your week than is actually possible?
And then ask yourself:
- What would happen if you started saying no?
- If you started cutting things out?
- If you trimmed down your commitments?
- What would happen if you gave yourself permission to do nothing for an entire day?
- An afternoon?
- An hour?
- Fifteen minutes?
- The next five minutes?
If just the thought of doing nothing sends you into panic… well, looks like there’s something for you to explore there.
Because when we’re doing nothing, the only thing there is… ourselves. Yep, ourselves.
And one thing I’ve realised is that our over-busy lives are mostly a sub-consciously created distraction from ourselves.
We don’t want to just be with ourselves – we might be faced to look at aspects we’d rather not see. It’s much easier to fill up our lives and keep the hamster wheel turning.
Don’t look! Don’t look! Don’t look!
But you know what?
The world needs you to look. The world needs you to look deeply. The world needs You.
So that’s my practice right now. I’m saying no. I’m cutting things out. I’m getting clear on where I’m going and why, while realising that I’m not going anywhere because I’m only ever here.
There’s new insights arising, as always.
Stay tuned for more.