Do you find yourself rushing around in the name of productivity? Squirming away from the present? Stuffing emotions or trauma deep down like a taxidermy dog?
Whatever you push away, will push you back… like the boomerang that returns to bite you in your cute bubble booty 🙂
The Productivity Hamster Wheel
For most of my life I wondered: would people still love me if I said and did less? Would I be enough for myself if I slowed down? What would happen if I released my obsession with go-go gadget productivity?
In dark stillness, without something to do, my thoughts and traumas bubbled up. Guilt. Responsibility. Urgency. Constantly going, impeded darkness from rearing its ugly head.
What if I had helped my dad with his surgery bandages? Would he still be alive? What if I had worked and partied less in my early twenties? Would my insomnia and Lyme disease be healed already? What if I had believed in my writing earlier? Would I already have published a book?
In college, I abused Adderall and coffee to cram into the hour of the wolf. In the corporate world, I woke up at 5am to exercise, be in the office by 8:30, and either exercise (again), run errands, or socialize and eat dinner with friends after 6pm.
The need to be productive stemmed from a time-poverty mindset. I believed I was living on borrowed time. I was behind. I needed to do more.
My body knew I needed to slow down. Rest. It clued me through soft whispers of exhaustion. Then loud knocks of heart palpitations. But I didn’t listen to my body. The broken record of my mind was blaring. Hurry! You’re running out of time!
Stillness Fosters Healing
I never allotted time to turn off. I never let my mind wander or relax. Because who has time for that? I couldn’t see that stillness fosters healing. And healing is productive.
Spirit saw I was Queen Stubborn and had no intention of slowing down. So it knocked me flat on my face with Lyme and insomnia. After a year of illness, I began to realize that in stillness there is movement. The movement of healing. And we all need healing for something.
As a flow coach, I see how important it is for myself (and my clients) to allot time for a flow activity. Something that makes you feel alive and recharges your batteries. Something that doesn’t involve work. Think painting, writing, playing music, learning a new language, yoga, running, dancing.
When we make time to refuel and practice creativity, artistic energy flows into our professional life too. It’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter. And working smarter means finding balance in all avenues of life.
Many of my clients want to increase joy in their life, but they are afraid to practice presence. They hate pumping gas, meditating, or being stuck in traffic. What’s the common theme here? You are stuck with your thoughts. You are in the present moment.
Living In The Present vs. Living In The Future
The universe presents you with the present and if you’re accustomed to running into the future, the present is an uncomfortable creaky chair that you just can’t sit still in. Living in the future hinders happiness, creates anxiety, and blocks serendipitous opportunities from occurring. Living in the future does not allow space for healing movement. For stillness.
The fairies, angels, or whatever you believe in can’t sprinkle us with their sacred dust if we constantly run to the next item on our never ending to-do list.
This dramatic irony strikes a dagger through any control freak’s heart. When we make time to meditate, relax, practice self-care, we receive more time—whether through efficient energy, laser focus, or a magic opening in our schedule.
Tactics to closet thoughts, trauma, imperfection, and grief are endless.
My tactic was to numb and channel energizer bunny. I worked out 2-3 times a day sometimes, while still working before 9 and after 5. And somehow still found time to clean, drink, read, watch TV, and research to the extreme. No wonder I got sick.
Here are my 5 favorite ways that helped me heal through stillness and slowing down:
Meditation and breathwork are the simplest and most effective way to heal your body through stillness. Science shows that meditating everyday slows aging.
I used to think I was too busy for meditation. But the busier I am, the more I need it. The more I practice this stillness, the more meaningful and productive my movement becomes.
2. Mindful Movement
Mindful movement, like yoga or walking, promotes presence and stills the mind. I love to leave my phone at home and go for a slow walk. Taking note of what I see, hear, smell, and feel. Fully experience each moment and movement.
When was the last time you allowed space for your mind to wander or marinate on a milestone experience? Or simply lie in the summer grass and gaze up? One reason people have anxiety and/or insomnia is because we don’t give ourselves enough down time to simply be, wonder, and/or daydream.
4. Creative outlet
No matter if you are an artist, entrepreneur, or scientist. Everyone needs a creative outlet. Creativity is an innate part of being human. Our soul yearns to express itself. That can look like writing poems, mindfully coloring after a long day, or woodworking. Bottom line: create.
5. Allow time to sit with feelings, trauma, or triggers
Sitting with the feelings, traumas, and triggers that we do not want to sit with holds power. There is great medicine in experiencing the uncomfortable stuff we would rather not experience.
Stare into the red beady eyes of your trauma, imperfection, or limiting belief systems now. Rumi says, “The only way through the pain, is in the pain.”
What if you invite your pain to tea like an old friend you’re curious about? Don’t rush through it and burn your tongue when the tea is too hot. Sit with it. Let the tea cool. Take a sip. Relish. That is where healing lives. Here and now. Even when we pump gas.