We listen to an audio book about tidying up while we shop for more. We book a yoga retreat away from everything and everyone on our way to meet with friends after work. We subscribe to a meditation app yet cannot find the time to use it.
Rather than signing up for on-trend solutions that are marketed as the ultimate remedies for our busy lives, how about we learn to simply say “enough already”? On a daily basis, I introduce people to the virtues of yoga, meditation and a minimalist lifestyle. All three practices are incredibly powerful tools to help calm the chaos that can be everyday life. But have we as a people reached a stage where we no longer feel comfortable with calm in the first place?
I have been thinking about this a lot recently. Now that my kids are a little older and quite happy to entertain themselves after school, I struggle to fill the time gained with anything that I don’t consider ‘productive’. There I am, starting dinner much sooner than perhaps I should. Or occupying myself with one thing or another, just to stay busy. Sometimes I have to try hard to come up with something I could do to make myself feel busy. Or should I say to make myself feel useful?
I have become uncomfortable with downtime. Being busy keeps me from feeling unworthy. Who am I if not the busy mother, the consultant with a full schedule, the friend who is always available? The answer is, of course, very simple: I am enough and that is plenty.
Very often the practices that I work with are used as remedial tools. A lot of my clients are busy professionals, overwhelmed parents, and often both. Treating them to a yoga practice, guiding them through a meditation or helping them simplify an area in their home, does indeed bring calm. The beautiful essence of the practices, however, is that they can bring about a fundamental shift from the striving struggle of busy to the wholehearted embrace of enough. My new-found spare time has made me realise that I have been using my own practices to treat the symptoms of too much instead of tackle their cause. It’s time for me to shift back from not busy enough to plenty enough!
Image of The Asset Strippers by Mike Nelson at Tate Britain, 2019
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