Enough

I’m trying to slow down.  It’s not easy.  I have some Type A.

I love efficiency.  I love crossing things off lists.  I like to hoe the row all the way to the end, preferably without interruptions.  I make SuperWoman to-do lists despite the fact I know they’re way more heroic than I am.

IMG_0193Which is why I have pretty much run through the majority of my life as if it was a race.  As if I wanted to get to the finish line first.  This is a sobering realization.

Sometimes busyness works.  Hustling gets things done.  But wrestling with that list day after day makes me want to run away.

Except not really.  I love my life.  I want to love it even more.

I’ve come to suspect that my SuperWoman lists have an insidious little thread invisibly woven in.  A thread of belief that if I do more, maybe I’ll actually be more.

Most of the time, doing more just makes me busier.

And busyness can become a bossy, obnoxiously righteous state of mind.  Don’t stop now!  There’s still so much to do!

No matter how many things I cross off, the Busy Bully isn’t satisfied for long.  Let’s face it—there’s always more to do.  And, the truth is that right up to my very last day, this will be the case.

What is enough?

I believe the adage that less is more.  And know from experience that even when you subscribe to this, it’s still easy to keep piling on more stuff, more obligations, more activities, more food, because we feel obliged, deserving, needy, unsatisfied.

In our culture, afloat with opportunity and inducement, it’s actually easier to believe satisfaction lies in the next ‘thing’ than to be content with what we have.  The net result of this is buying into the pursuit and selling out on contentment.

But contentment is patient.  Abiding.  Only requiring I be genuinely willing.

Nature gives to every time and season a beauty of its own. ~Charles Dickens

 

When I stop rushing, I experience a richer texture of life.  I find more meaning when I nudge aside the pushy thoughts from my to-do list to give a conversation with a friend the time to unfurl and fruit.  When I focus my awareness, the lilting flight of a butterfly can land me gently into gratitude.

Moments of choice like this are embedded with power.  Neuroscience is proving this.  Each time I purposefully focus my attention beyond my harried mind, mental strength and flexibility develop and build, exactly like biceps respond to resistance training.

My ability to do this usually doesn’t make an appearance when I need it most.  I hyperventilate about meeting the work deadlines marching toward me, getting the car in for service, the tomato plants into the ground.  But, when I catch myself, each of these is an opportunity to practice, to build those muscles.

I take a breath.  Feel my chest rise and the oxygen flow in.  I observe my anxiety, reminding myself there’s more to me than the stress that feels so overbearing.  And that larger part?  It doesn’t need much.  Most of what it wants is connection.

Like taking in the beauty of a sunset while I’m waiting at a stop sign.  Or, watching the kindness of the checker who’s clearly weary on her feet as I stand in a grocery line.  When I offer her a smile, we both feel better.

Am I giving up lists?  Probably not.  In fact, I’m trying to figure out how to include this mindfulness on my list.  Something like:

Five times today, draw in a deep, centered breath. Notice something new on my daily drive today.  Taste, really and truly, that first sip of your afternoon latte.

I like all these, but actually when I envision this intention on my list, what I see is a transparent overlay that softens the insistent words and burnishes the pages of my life with a lively glow.

What would it look like on your list?

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About Lisa Sorensen

I'm an architectural designer with a passion for exploring the stretch beyond, the lean toward what we yearn for.
This entry was posted in Finding Enough and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Enough

  1. kacoatney says:

    Lisa:
    Oh man do I see myself in every word. Such a great blog. Thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dana says:

    Wonderful, Lisa. I hear your voice so clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lu Erickson says:

    Love your blog, Lisa. Really hit the mark with me. Keep it coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I never liked the hare, anyways. Overzealous and conceited 😉

    On a more genuine note, Why is it such a battle to slow down? I constantly feel assaulted (in a very literal sense) by thoughts of everything I’m not doing, rather than what is at hand. It’s a war, and I’m both sides of the chess board; always wondering what more I can do. Being present, accepting the moment, and filling it with genuine love, feels at times as intangible a project as holding smoke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a point about that hare, Austin! 😉
      I share that feeling of literal assault, the struggle and the wondering how I can add. Your words are poetic and truthful to me. And convey a good wise reminder about the importance of presence and love. No, not always easy to do. So, we just keep shooting for it. Thanks for adding in here. Hugs to you!

      Like

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