Breaking the Hurry Habit

white-rabbitDo you find yourself rushing through your life? Hurrying through dinner so you can get the dishes done so you can fold the laundry so you can go to bed? Always in a rush to get from one thing to the next? You are not alone.

I recently got laid off from my job. If you’re thinking, “Didn’t you give notice at that job a long time ago?”, you’re right. I gave notice in June and my last day was supposed to be August 31st. But I hadn’t found a new position and my company still needed the help so I stayed on.  And on. And on.

My real last day was November 30th.  So I haven’t worked for over a week and I’ve noticed something interesting.

I’m still rushing.

I thought I would be able to relax now that I don’t have the pressure and the timelines and the deadlines to meet. How relaxing it would be for the first time in two years not to have to be on a conference call at 6am ready to talk about my goals for the day. How nice not to have to report in at the end of the day on where I was with each project. I thought the job was the problem.

I was wrong.

It seems I have this habit of rushing. I first noticed it in the shower the other day when I was vigorously washing my hair. As if I didn’t have the time to enjoy a leisurely shower. I had nowhere to be. I could’ve slowed down and taken my time.

Even right now I’m tightening my stomach and holding my breath.

For the longest time I’ve wanted to do a yoga video I have that’s supposed to help with back pain. I’ve been in alot of pain as a result of forcing myself to sit at my desk for long periods of time without a break. The video takes a whopping 20 minutes. But I couldn’t get myself to do it until yesterday because in my mind ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Seriously? I don’t have 20 minutes a day to take care of myself?

This is actually not new for me. Rushing seems to be my MO. I remember being shown this very clearly when I got together with Cyrus, my former boyfriend. His whole being is definitely in stark contrast to my own. He tends to move more slowly, more deliberately. He has a very calming presence, which is one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place. But calm can be annoying when you move through life as if everything is an emergency…or a race.

I remember the year Cyrus came to visit for Thanksgiving. He wanted to go to the store to pick up a few things. Having worked at a grocery store during the holidays in my past life, I was not thrilled with this idea. So when we got there, I asked him, hurriedly of course, what he needed so I could point him in the right direction and we could get in and out as quickly as possible. The funny thing was we weren’t on a time crunch. I was just in my normal mode of rushing. He wouldn’t tell me what he needed and proceeded to wander somewhat aimlessly up and down the aisles. Looking at this, picking up that. It was infuriating at the time. But it forced me to slow down. To wander. To see there is another way of moving through life.

When I look at my family I can see I have come by this naturally. My dad in particular seems to always be in a hurry. I remember my mom describing his driving. He speeds until he catches up with other cars. Then passes those cars so he can speed to catch up with the next group so he can pass them…and so on. He doesn’t drive to enjoy the drive. He drives to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible.

And I learned that.

As frustrating as this has been, awareness is the upside. I can shift this habit. I can pay attention. I have a choice. I can take a deep breath whenever I feel myself tightening. I can slow down when I realize I’m in a hurry. I can relax my shoulders when I notice them making their way to my ears. And my guess is, this will exponentially increase my enjoyment of my life (or at least my ability to breathe).

I love this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh…

“When we walk like [we are] rushing, we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth.
We have to walk in a way that we only print Peace and Serenity on the earth…
Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. 
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
 

Kissing the earth with your feet…I like that. It feels like a completely different energy, doesn’t it? One of softness and love. I know it will take some practice to shift this old habit, but I know it can be done. I plan to take it slowly…one soft step at a time.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

Goofing Off Is A Moral Imperative

Yes, you read that right. I am encouraging you to goof off. To not get things done. To let go of your schedule, your have to’s, your shoulds. I’m not only encouraging you…I dare you!

If that thought makes you all queasy, sweaty and light-headed, hear me out.

Because that’s how I used to operate, so I know the compulsion. The not feeling good enough if you don’t do enough. The drive to get it all done so you can finally relax and enjoy your life.

It is exhausting. And it’s a lie. You will never get everything done. Ever.

The more I focus on letting myself off the hook, the better I get at doing what feels good to me. It still doesn’t come easily. Even though I enjoyed my lazy weekend, I notice I’m feeling that ‘morning after’ regret. As I sit here contemplating the week ahead, my mind chatter shifts into overdrive.

“You didn’t get anything done. What a waste of time. You had all this time off work and you didn’t cross one thing off your To Do list. What were you thinking?”

Good lord! Enough already!

So today, instead of focusing on everything I ‘should’ have done, I made a list of everything I did that I enjoyed:

  • Read an entire book cover to cover
  • Watched sappy, heartwarming Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark channels
  • Slept in
  • Sat on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, enjoying my morning coffee
  • Baked a chocolate cake…just for me
  • Had two great coaching calls
  • Daydreamed
  • Looked at all the cool stuff you guys have posted on Facebook recently
  • Watched a video of Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk at O Magazine’s 10th anniversary
  • Listened to some of John Mayer’s new songs
  • Watched an inspiring video about a roadtrip taken by two brothers after their mom passed away
  • Napped
  • Read several blogs

No, I didn’t get my Christmas decorations put up, or my weekly grocery shopping done. I didn’t do the laundry, pay the bills, or clean the house. And that’s okay. I’ve discovered that everything gets done that needs to get done.

I’m learning to strike a balance between planning for the future and living for today. Tomorrow I can get back to my To Do list if I choose. But for now I’m headed back to my couch with the remote in hand and a big piece of chocolate cake. I’m sure there are some sappy Christmas movies that need my immediate attention.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.