And, why does that matter??
Do you find that too? When I do consciously to allow myself the time to just look out the window, I find myself picking up my phone (so I put that out of reach deliberately) or the nearest magazine or book (anything will do!) to distract myself or to feel as if I’m DOING something. Where does this difficulty in being able to be still come from and why is it so hard to allow ourselves to do?
Our Western world is so geared towards productivity. Probably much more than we are even aware of. We are programmed to be doing, achieving, crossing things off the list, ‘getting it done’. You feel that too? It’s as if we have become wired to ‘Do’; and if we’re not Doing we’re not being worthwhile people. We’re not earning our right to exist on this planet. We’re not validating our existence, in a society that intrinsically values accomplishing, not ‘just’ being.
And yet, there’s so much about self-care around at the moment too. Surely, self-care includes the possibility to just sit and look out the window, to daydream, to not think about anything in particular. To catch up with ourselves, to connect with ourselves, to not feel pressured to get on with the next thing.
Why does this matter? It’s actually pretty essential, I feel, to allow ourselves to be able to sit and Be. I find when I’m in one of those moods where I just can’t do that, I’m restless, I start ten different things and am distracted to the next thing before I’ve finished any of the others. When I notice that this is my frame of mind, I realise that I am caught in a web of adrenalin (or cortisol), ‘fight-flight-flee’ mindset. This will not do long-term because I will wear myself out! Like burning a candle too brightly. Focus, intention and clear thinking are gone – ‘It has to be done! Now! Or else!’
When I find that, magically, I AM in the frame of mind/body to just sit and Be, there are so many benefits happening behind the scenes. My body is relaxing, via the parasympathetic nervous system, that tells my being that I am safe and I can digest and rest. It gives me the space to connect with myself, my body, my emotions, my needs. Sooo important if we are going to take seriously the need to look after ourselves.
It can also be a real issue that somehow we just don’t’ feel we deserve to spend time ‘doing nothing’. We have subconsciously absorbed the learned behaviour that we are supposed to be looking after others, not mollycoddling ourselves. Not lounging when there’s work to be done and people to look after, others’ needs to be seen to. Our needs don’t matter like the others’ do! This surely has a deeper origin and will be the subject of a future reflection.