By Casey-Jo Loos
Ask me how I am and I'll no doubt respond, "I'm great, but I'm BUSY!"
Ask most people that, I'm confident that they'll respond the same way.
We're all so damned "busy" all the time. In fact, if you ask someone how they are and they don't respond with "busy" you get to fire them a sideways dubious look. It's true! It's on the internet so it must be true, and really, who ARE THEY to not be busy??
Being so busy, we manage to muster whatever leftover energy that we have listing off the ways we are busy, unknowingly competing with others, playing the internal comparison game of "who's busier?", and thus, "who is more successful?".
We couldn't be more wrong.
Busy-ness is a sickness you probably don't realize you suffer from. And that's okay. There's a way to cope with chronic busy-ness: Nothingness.
It took me a long time before I even got comfortable tip toeing into "nothingness."
"What's that? You mean, doing NOTHING?" (cue over-achieving me, incredulous with eyes bulged)
It sounds insane. We couldn't possibly do nothing when there's so much we should be doing, right??
Now let's take a second.
I grew up with the mentality of doing everything just to avoid feeling nothing and doing nothing and thus being a nothing. Being busy equals success, right? If I'm not busy, I'm less than you; if I'm not busy, I've somehow failed. I have no choice but to constantly create, make something of myself, climb the societal ladder, or work three jobs to make ends meet. Slowing down means it gets quiet, and being alone and quiet means I have no where to run from my pain or my wounds. I have to be busy. I have no choice.
You may think you have no choice, but you do. And truthfully, if you catch the busy-ness now and do something about it, you'll be able to actually be more successful for REAL in your life.
Yes, I have learned that being busy can equal success; but I've since learned it can also equate to exhaustion, breakdowns, distractions, suffering, self created stress, and many uneccesary health problems.
The busy-ness and endless suffering of "no time" and re-prioritizing can equate to having nothing left for yourself. If you're empty, how will you ever possibly be good for someone or anything else?
This is exactly how busy-ness tears apart our relationships. Busy couples and busy people often mirror each other to a point where they drive each other away from themselves. They don't make their connection a priority anymore: "I have no time."
In order to really thrive in the best version of yourself possible, we need to carve out little pockets of nothingness from the regular programming of busy-ness. It's a delicate balance of saying "no" to some things, so you can say "yes" to your self. What I'm saying isn't new and you already know this, you probably just forgot [it's that busy mind, I say!].
Floating in a sensory deprivation tank has helped me so much with both departments: physically in the doing of nothing [floating, letting go] and mentally in the practice of being nothing [easing a busy mind]. We can physically be busy, but even when we're still our mind can be moving like an out of control piece of machinery that's unpredictable, hot, and on the verge of self destruction.
My first float was half anxiety ridden, half sedated visual coma floating in space. The first 45 minutes I had my monkey mind reeling: "You shouldn't be in here! This is a stupid waste of time. Here's a list of things you need to be doing. Here's a fake list of conversations you should have in the future. Here, here's some conversations in the past you need to analyze. And what of your future!? What are your plans?? There's no time to be in here with your unknown future looming ahead. Get out now! What if someone's texting you, someone needs you, someone's died and you're in a pool of saltwater being irresponsible!?? Dummy, snap out of it and wake up!"
Instead, I fell into such a deep meditative state that my left calf muscle unlocked from clenching itself. All the reeling thoughts that I had taunting my mind effortlessly floated out into space, nothingness, where it felt like I was tumbling around. My spine lengthened, my breath deepened, I had so much internal space opening and my heart cracked open.
I was doing nothing! I was just being. This experience was new and strangely odd, and very much had me turned on to a new way of being.
My other new favourite reason for floating to cure the busy-ness disease was silence, slowing down to really listen. And I've since learned that silence is always better than bullshit.
"Screw being busy. If there's one appointment or commitment and priority that I "should" do, it's doing nothing. And making it a regular habit."
Making time to do nothing doesn't mean that you've failed. You can still lead an abundant, productive, and fulfilling life without being addicted to the busy-ness. Gift yourself with some nothingness this week and you may be surprised that you like it. And that you get a real handle on that overly trendy busy-ness, who can really become your friend and ally with practice to tame it when it rears its ugly head.
The next time someone asks me how my life is going, I already know my honest and truthful answer. I'm choosing to say "fulfilled" because "being so busy" just isn't cool with me anymore. Being a hard worker is a great quality to possess; being busy is a sickness that we can all free ourselves from.