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We’re all so busy. We work every hour we can, we run the kids around, we socialise when we can, we go, go, go. Every waking hour seems crammed full of stuff. Having no time to ourselves, being stressed and overworked has become a status symbol in the Western world. How many of us have said “Oh, I’m so busy, I haven’t had time to think!” and felt kind of proud that we feel that way. It’s as though we’re saying “Look at me, I’m so busy. I’m top of the heap for being busy. And that allows me to justify my existence. What about you? Are you that busy? Can you justify yourself as well as I can? Can you be as good at being busy as I am?”
Photograph: courtesy of Kira O'Connor
Let me say right here that I’m not pointing the finger at anyone other than myself on this. This is EXACTLY how my life goes… or how it went, anyway. But if the shoe fits, if you can relate to this…
It feels like a race, a competition to see who can do the most, be the busiest, feel the most stressed. When I was a teenager, if I did before or after school sports (and I did a lot of them), I made my own way there. I had a horse who was stabled 5 miles away. It was up to me to get there; the only time I got a lift was on Christmas Day when there was a lot going on and it was just get to the stable, feed him, muck out and leave. Apart from that, I either caught the bus or walked. There was no option. Nowadays, most of us wouldn’t DREAM of letting our kids do that: it’s not safe, the kids have too much on, it would be too difficult for them, they need the time to do their homework, meet with their friends, etc. So, we finish work (whether that’s paid work or whether we’re stay-at-home parents) and we spend our evenings and weekends running the kids to their activities.
We cram our lives to the BRIM, doing, doing, doing. We don’t allow ourselves any spare time, spare time must be filled with things, we have responsibilities, we must meet them, we must try harder, we must do better, we must do more, we must do what THAT person is doing because they look like they have it so much more together than we do. We do all this stuff and we PRETEND that we’re ENJOYING it, that we’re living FULFILLED lives, that we LOVE what we’re doing, and we make sure that we LOOK as though we’ve got it all under control while we’re doing all this.
Can anyone else relate to this? This is generally how my life looked and, to the outside world, I looked as though I had it all handled, as though I was happy and fulfilled, cool, calm and collected, like the eternally graceful swan.
And I prided myself on having everyone believe that of me, on having everyone think that I was on top of everything… organised… the perfect parent. For others, it’s the perfect employee, the perfect assistant, the perfect lawyer, the perfect businesswoman, the perfect corporate climber.
The thing is, I CAN do all that, I CAN handle it all and make it look easy. A lot of us do, regardless of the field we choose to do that in, but ask anyone who’s created a lifestyle that they TRULY love, one that inspires them and makes them feel great, and they’ll tell you that 90% of the work in getting what you want from life is IN THE MIND. It’s not in what we do, what we have, how many hours we work or who we know. It’s what we think; being aware of what we think and using our thoughts to create what we want.
Think about this: must of us spend all of our lives doing things. We work our entire lives, doing what we believe we need to DO so that we can be a little richer, a little wealthier, have a few more things, feel a little more comfortable. 95% of the world does this…
…and have 5% of the wealth. We’re the ones who wear our “stressed-out-working-all-hours-don’t-have-time-to-do-anything” badges of honour on our sleeves. We’re Human Doings…
Oh my god, I can’t stop laughing! I know what that means, but whenever I think about “doings”, I think of dog poo. One of my aunts used to say she had to go out and clean up the dog’s “doings”. It’s actually quite appropriate in this context, don’t you think?
Getting right back to our serious conversation… The other 5%? The ones who aren’t Human Doings, they focus on the BEING, on the mind. They spend a large portion of their day taking care of their mind, allowing themselves the space to create, to think, to just be.
10 minutes at the start of each day. 10 minutes focusing on your mind, taking care of it, nurturing it, feeding it, loving it, expanding and growing it. 10 minutes every day. That’s all. 10 minutes to BE, to remind yourself that you’re a Human Being not a Human Doing.
How will you spend your 10 minutes?
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, peri-menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...