These days, in cities, especially New York City, we wear being busy like a badge of honor. “OMG my life is so crazy- I can’t keep up!” or “Work is insane!” are said CONSTANTLY. Part complaint, part bragging rights, if you ain’t busy you ain’t shit. The energy in New York City is so palpable that you actually feel out of sorts when you’re not “in the zone” going 100 miles per hour. And yet even though it feels good to be moving and shaking, it’s just not normal to be doing that 24-7. Nor is it healthy. But as society and Instagram seem to reward that non-stop lifestyle with plenty of likes, seeing the truth behind this is becoming a whole lot harder to “see.”
Personally, I’ve found that when you’re “in the zone”, rushing through life, working your ass off, it feels extremely gratifying. The work tells me, “You are important and you are needed,” and damn it – as a recovering people pleaser – that shit feels good! I’m not going to lie. But “work” and “projects” are outside factors – things you have no control over, as you could lose your job or a project could fall through at any time. And then what would you be left with? Answer: A big gaping hole that feels lonely and leaves you feeling doubtful about yourself and your worth. How do I know? Because I lived it.
As a business owner, you are always subjected to highs and low in work and projects. The first time the phone stopped ringing and project requests stopped coming in, you better believe that hole I speak of, sucked my ass right in. Those months were some of the toughest of my life. Why? Because there was no work to validate me anymore. And without that I felt like nothing.
Eventually, after months of crying at night in frustration, but being adamant about my spiritual practice and watching my thoughts, I somehow got spit out the other end of things and SURRENDERED. What does surrendering look like? It looks like a night in March in the middle of a horrid New York City winter, out with my best friend (who also has quit her corporate job to start a business) at Dos Caminos drinking margaritas (my medicine of choice) and both of us looking at each other and saying “I’M DONE”. I’m done with networking, I’m done with strategizing about how to get new clients, I’m done with redoing my website for the hundredth time and I’m done with Instagram. It felt so fucking good to say it out loud and be complicit in this feeling of being over everything together.
The next day, I tried to take it easy at the office, but found myself working on my marketing strategy for 2018. But this time instead of coming from a place of pushing a boulder up the hill, everything was just F L O W I N G. The surrendering had blown the lid off of what I was “supposed” to be doing and instead lead the way, organically.
A lot of what “being busy” does is makes you think you feel good about yourself when in fact, if you strip the being busy away, you don’t actually feel good about yourself at all. A huge exercise and challenge in truly being content and knowing your authentic self is learning to live with the opposite: complete stillness.
This starts with little things, like when you’re in line somewhere and have about 5 minutes of waiting time – don’t pull out your phone to look at social media. Just stand there. Observing your thoughts, the people around you and get in touch with your general state of being. What’s the predominant chatter in your head? Is it negative? Are you thinking about everything that needs to get done in the next couple of hours (future living) or are you replaying something that has happened in the past (past living)? Whatever it is, just observe it. That will give you an indication of where you are at as a person- not a VP of so and so that has to do this and that, but just as YOU, in the here and in the now. If the majority of that chatter is negative, self bashing, about the present or the future, then you know, it’s time to breathe and get present and finally, to the slow the fuck down 🙂 . Once you can get present and find some time to slow down, do nothing or follow your bliss you tap into your true essence and from their, all beautiful things follow– clarity on next steps, big ideas, a sense of inner peace and feeling like you are in the flow. Sometimes it’s as simple as standing on that line, closing your eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths, and when you open your eyes again the world is slightly calmer and more beautiful and a sense of happiness and ease takes over.