If I've learned one thing about myself it's that I do things in my own time. It doesn't matter what others say or what a schedule says or the dictates of Father Time -- I move at my own pace (for better or worse). It's ironic given that I was a product of an induced labor. Hmmmm...maybe that's it. I was rushed out of the womb so I now rebel when being forced to do things in a certain time frame.
The Mysterious Unopened Box A few weeks ago, my mom paid a visit and noted that a box had been sitting on my dining room table for over a year and a half unopened. I laughed when she pointed this out, because this box -- which contains a mountable electronic organizer/calendar/digital picture frame -- has actually been sitting unopened on one table or another since the Fall of 2011. Whoa -- how's that for rebellion? At the time I bought this nifty technological wonder, I was moving to a new place. It was a temporary move, so I put off unboxing the gadget until I moved to a more permanent home. Fast forward 2 years and...nothing. I've been in a permanent place for well over a year and a half but the box remained unopened.
I got inspired about a week after my mom's comment (perhaps it was fessing up to my mom and my friend who visited that day that I'd been squiring around that unopened box for years that shamed me into action) and set up the organizer/calendar/digital picture frame in a prominent spot in the kitchen. I spent a ridiculous amount of time getting pictures together (downloading from my phone and pulling from my hard drive) to load onto the gadget. After a lot of tinkering (and a dry erase pen replacement, for the one that was included with the gadget had dried out -- yep, that's what happens when you leave something unopened for 3 years!), the gadget was up and running.
More...or Less The picture frame is set to slideshow mode, so later that night as I waited for my tea to brew I took in the photo show. The past two and a half years of my life passed on the screen. I hadn't realized how many moments I'd captured or how many amazing experiences I've had these past few years. Memories came rushing back and I was left nonplussed. You see, just a few days prior, I was thinking that I should have been doing more, traveling more, experiencing more. Yet, here I had photographic proof that my life has been more than full. In fact, I would go so far as to say that my experiences have been absolutely amazing and I wouldn't change a thing in regards to how I've been living these past few years.
Yet each day I'm seduced by busyness. I've got a new Web site to build, a new business to launch, places I think I should be traveling to, things that I feel like I need to "make happen." It reminds me of a famous quote regarding meditation:
"You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day -- unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour."
Doing Less to Be More Ah yes, the whole the-time-to-slow-down-is-just-when-you-think-you-don't-have-enough-time logic. Seems impossible, eh? The feeling of "I need to do more" can be powerful and overwhelming...and it can drown out the truth: the key to getting more done is doing less. I'm not going to launch into a lecture about the Pareto Principle or turn this into a meditation infomercial. I'll just say this -- I realized as I watched the pictures of the past few years flash before my eyes that I hadn't set out to do any of the amazing things depicted in those pictures. I wasn't motivated by the need to do something or the need to entertain myself. Rather, I was moved to do those things in the pictures. And the only way I could feel what I was moved to do was when I slowed down enough to feel what moved me.
I've been thinking about expanding my work for years. Yep, it's been like that boxed up electric gadget sitting on my dining table. Everytime I thought about it or someone asked, I thought, "I really need to get on that." Months turned into years and still I didn't make more than a handful of moves on it. Then, like I've been doing all my life, I acted when I felt it was time. Oh yes, I'm all about following my own sweet little timeline. Sure a part of me feels like I've wasted a lot of time getting here and that I "should" have started sooner, but I know in my heart that I wasn't quite ready before. The Italian in me needed to marinate until the time was right. It wasn't right 2 years ago or 6 months ago. It's right now. I didn't speed up to get here. Instead, I slowed down.
So, are you willing to slow down? Rather than squeeze one more thing in, are you willing to drop it and just be? What would happen if you dropped the busyness?
A Little Lesson on Meditation to Get You Out of Busyness These days I'm finding that my meditation time has lengthened despite the fact that I'm getting more done. See, this stuff works! If you're feeling pressed for time, thinking that you can't possibly do one more thing, how about trying a little meditation challenge? Check out this free meditation training and then set aside two 15 minute chunks of time to sit in silence each day. If that feels like too much, then start with just 15 minutes a day. Drop 15 minute of habitual busyness and substitute in 15 minutes of meditation. No, don't roll your eyes or come up with a list of excuses as to why you can't do this. Just do it. Every day. Slow down. Take some time to be with you. And then notice what happens (and report back, please).