I used to permanently rush around. I was younger I had the energy for it and it was the way I was brought up too, to be speedy and efficient. I never felt I had enough time, and so being fast was a way to cram as much as possible in. ‘No time! Quick! No time! Hurry up!’ I told myself. My spiritual life was the same, a rush to try and ‘get somewhere’. Striving and devoted to a distant goal of perfection along some sort of ‘path’.
At one point a few years back I reached my stress limit. The way I was living and running my business was unsustainable and I experienced a burn out. I was forced to slow down or I would make myself ill. So I looked for tools and helpers. A friend introduced me to mindfulness.
At first it was hard, and difficult just to walk or drive slowly for example. I was used to rushing and getting there as fast as possible. I remember the absolute agony of doing my first mindfulness walking exercise at a mindfulness retreat. My whole nervous system went into rebellion at the snail’s pace of it! I persevered though, and soon with regular practice, I started to chill out. I listened every night for almost 2 years to different guided mindfulness talks which I found on youtube. I was terrified at times, this did not feel safe to me to slow down. I really clung to those talks at many times, and they helped to reprogram my nervous system.
I introduced mindfulness practices into my daily activities.
-consciously breathing many times through the day
-noticing my thoughts as I sit in the traffic jam
-having a shower and really feeling it physically, the water on my skin, the temprature, the soap texture
-eating slowly and tasting it and noticing the sensations and texture
– washing the dishes slowly and consciously and enjoying it! Not seeing it as a task I dont want to do and has to be done as soon as possible to get it out the way
Just being present to and aware of everything at it arises and disappears without resisting anything.
What I have discovered has been a big revelation. I have lots and lots more time now, and I still get what needs to be done completed! In fact I think I get even more done now and I enjoy it more.
I am no longer ‘driven’ by some need to be fast and I no longer run around busy busy busy all the time. I listen to my inner promptings and I do things at the right time for them to be done. Not simply as soon as I think of them. So that email which just arrived for example, will get replied to but not right this instant. I will wait for the ‘right’ moment for me to do it.
Spiritually I see that what I was seeking for is right here and now. There was never anywhere to get to or goal to reach. I can be friends with exactly as things are and face reality as it is. I can be friends with all the thoughts and the emotions and sensations and be aware of my essential stillness amid the movement of life.
I am much more at peace now, and deeply settled inside. Through mindfulness I have discovered I do indeed have enough time to do everything that needs to be done and with very little stress or thinking required. I am learning that it is safe to relax.