What’s with all the urgency?
There is a fine line for me between a satisfying, enriching day-to-day and a draining one.
I like to have a few different projects going on: something work related, something family related, something social, something spiritual, something creative. Having a hand in each of these baskets makes me feel like my life is coming together and I have what I need to be happy and fulfilled.
But I easily reach and pass a tipping point where suddenly having all of those things at play becomes overwhelming rather than fulfilling and stressful instead of nourishing. Does that mean I’ve taken on too many commitments? Maybe. Or maybe it's deeper than that.
Recently, my body and health have required more of my attention and I’ve not been able to “execute” my projects in the same fashion or the same timeline as I originally conceived of them. Including writing on this blog! And the stress of all of my commitments in the face of more immediate health concerns was weighing heavily on me.
Until I realized it wasn’t the existence of the commitments that was burdening me, but the sense of pressure and urgency that I had created around each of them.
I have a deep and limiting belief that if I don’t do something in the way and in the timeline I originally intended to that I have failed.
And I know I am not alone in this. Mainstream culture in the US has taught us that slowing down, re-evaluating, changing our minds, or going “smaller” are detriments to success.
Luckily, I have some practice in challenging the little voices that tell me I’m not good enough. And the second I named my fear of ruining all of my projects by slowing down, my wiser self put her foot down and said “that can’t possibly be true”. And it's not.
If you define success as completing a set of expectations you set for yourself, sure, slowing down is "failing".
But success is much bigger than that.
Success means playing in the beautiful mess of twists and turns. Success means being able to meet yourself in the present moment and explore the next moment with curiosity instead of judgment. Letting go of the urge for urgency and the fear of failure is success.
So if something doesn't go the way you planned, think of it as an opportunity. You have an opportunity to step back and see yourself in the midst of your life and make new choices that will work for you. You have an opportunity to let go and focus on being instead of doing. You get to make a new plan and open yourself to the possibility for more change down the road.
There's a yogic principle that while change and even pain are inevitable, suffering is optional. Instead of arm wrestling with the nature of life, we can surrender to it.
Challenge the sense of urgency with newfound spaciousness.
Give yourself time and slowness.
Let your plans change and evolve.
We'll all be better off for it.
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