I used to be one of those people that could multi-task, work long hours and accomplish a lot like no other! When I was tired, I pushed right through. I kept my home clean; I was organized, on top of it, an awesome mom and a wife! I did it all and proudly stated “I am so busy”. After all doesn’t being busy equal success? And when a problem or concern came up, I went into hyper control mode – I’ve got this!
I was driving down the freeway of life at 100mph, so fast I had been missing the signs that said: Paradise this Way, Turn Right for Peace, Yield for Happiness, Less is More.
Around 2010 I began to wake up to the fact that my old way of doing things was no longer working. I was lucky enough to be neighbors and friends with Barbara Stanny who is a master coach, brilliant and oh so wise. Barbara was the one who brought to my attention my addiction to busyness. She was also the one who called me out on multi-tasking. I’ll never forget that moment. I was taking one of Barbara’s tele-seminar classes and answering a question when Barbara asked what I was doing. I told her I was watering the garden. I mean really – who sits on the couch with earbuds in and does nothing else but listen?! Barbara was kind, but firm. I can’t remember her exact words right now, but it was something along the lines of turn the flippin’ water off, sit and listen. That day I learned that listening with your ears, is much different than listening with your heart and soul.
2010 – 2016… Six years of being deeply mindful. Six years of learning what makes me tick and what makes me tock. Six years of diving deep into my emotional and spiritual well-being. Six years of not running away from what’s uncomfortable. Six years of learning to completely trust that I am exactly where I should be, even during challenging times. Six years of learning that everything happens for a reason. Six years of understanding that the people in my life, the circumstances in my life, my life as a daughter, a child, teenager, adult, wife, mom – everything had prepared me for this time right now in my life.
Because…had I decided to take a year off before 2010 I would have been crazy freaked out not working/not doing. I would have pacified my anxious feelings by multi-tasking, over-doing, and generally being my normal busy, high accomplishing self.
Instead…I am using this time to clean out my internal closet. My closet had filled up. There was old stuff that I was hanging on to. There were pieces that no longer fit. There were things that didn’t even feel like me anymore. There was a lot of clutter that was clouding my ability to see which outfits actually made me feel happy. Had I not kicked my busyness addiction, I would not have been able to see or feel any of this.
I have not read the popular book by Marie Kondo, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but I have heard that she suggests to start with what you don’t like, and get rid of that.
Enter my ‘Year of No’
Anytime I hear myself say “I should” or “I have too” or “I need too”. I don’t. Blogging being one of them. I’m writing, but not posting. Posting felt like a “should”. In the world of online business, it’s a bit crazy to stop interacting (I suppose it’s a bit like removing everything from your closet and standing there naked). My nerves were on edge and I felt so vulnerable (still do at times).
But doing a ‘should’ is like wearing an outfit that doesn’t make you feel good. I chose naked.
My modus operandi has always been to push through. Another layer in my internal closet purging has been to wire a new habit. I know my physical signs of pushing. I get very “nose to the grindstone”, seriously focused and will “do” even though whatever it is, is making me grumpy – like a frumpy outfit!
Now, when I notice my old habit kicking in. I stop. Take a break. And come back to whatever the task was when I’m in the mood.
You might be thinking, that’s easy to do you’re not working, however I began this years ago when I was over-the-top busy with my store. Taking 5 minutes to breath. Go for a walk around the block. Crank up the stereo and dance. Little things, that don’t take long that will shift your energy in a heartbeat. The end result is the task that was bumming you out, will be completed with ease, instead of dis-ease.
Life gets busy and full. And just like our closets, from time to time, we need to purge and clean. We do live in a culture that supports busyness, long work hours, over-giving and over-doing. Clutter builds up in our closet. Clutter builds up in our lives. It’s up to you to grab that garbage back and start dumping.
Here are the questions I ask to help sort out my internal clutter:
- Do I really love this?
- Is this necessary?
- How does this serve me?
- What’s the lesson I need to learn here?
- Why am I feeling this way?
- Why am I reacting this way?
- Do I really need to do this now (or at all)?
- What can I let go of to simplify my life?
- What can I say “no” to?
- Where can I say “yes” to me?
- What can I do less of?
Saying no, and doing less allows for space to do more of what makes you happy. The happier you are, the happier those around you are. By eliminating or doing less of what clutters up your life and prioritizing what is most important to you, you become the designer of your life – creating beautiful outfits that allow you to glow from the inside out!
Truth. This is a daily practice. My “Year of No” began seven months ago. The more I purge from my closet, the more stuff I see and feel. It isn’t always comfortable. At times I want to be busy, so I don’t feel the parts of me that I have stuffed away. All those questions above I ask – sometimes all of them in the same day! And the answer, providing I listen with my heart and soul, always comes!
What can you do less of?