Are you feeling like you’d love another few weeks to play, hike, windsurf, go beaching, curl up with a book, hang out with loved ones, watch old movies (or binge Netflix) or my fave – lie on the grass under a tree?
Or are you just taking a little while to step into the year or work with full gusto?
I typically spend the 1st of Jan completing my Summer Revolution Life Review Kit (you can still download one for free here) and mapping out my intentions for the year. I often return to work with some clear goals for the first quarter of the year, and dive into some tasks around those.
I have done none of this yet. I spent my holidays resting, studying, reading, journaling and having fun.
I thought I’d be ready to dive back into planning, strategy, writing and so forth once my official holidays were over. But no.
And I know I’m not the only one who totally switched off and isn’t entirely ready to switch back on again.
So, I’m calling it.
I’m naming it for us all.
Because it’s okay, my friends.
Sometimes we need a lot of what we need. You know what I mean? Maybe you realised in the hols you needed waaaayy more sleep than you first thought. Or way more time to yourself. Or you couldn’t get enough quality time with your spouse.
And here’s what we do. Before we are fully satiated, before we’ve truly caught up on sleep, time-out or had enough lazy lie-ins or date nights, we let our rational, logical mind kick in and say OK, that’s enough. You shouldn’t need any more than that.
And we stop.
We start making ourselves get up. We stop being so ‘needy’ about date nights. We stop asking for more time to ourselves.
We’re afraid nothing will ‘happen’ if we don’t get going.
We decide it’s time to ‘get real’ or ‘get back to normal’ and start getting on with things. With doing. With being productive. Useful. Worthy.
Eeeeuuwwww. These are some of those sneaky societal pulls and conditioned thoughts we are at the mercy of. Do they ring just a tad true for you?
I had a lot of time to myself through the holidays, a lot of time in nature, swimming at far north beaches and walking the trails of Auckland’s west coast, and I could have kept doing so for weeks to come! But life (and my cat!) called me home and back to my every-day, and here I am easing my way into the work year.
I’m delighted to be connecting with clients, but do I really want to get that admin done, finally tidy my office, or get my marketing tasks done? Not so much.
I’d like to be out walking in the bush, swimming in the sea, lying on the grass. Wait, I mentioned that already …
And that’s what I’ve been doing this week. Oh, and some work. Look, I even wrote this article!
Do we have to ‘get going’ and get stuff done and get busy?
You can set your own pace.
What if your being just wants to Be?
What if it wants to just be with your nearest and dearest, or with your Self?
What if your inner dear self just wants to think about life and the universe, or your own inner universe for a while instead of dealing with the nuts and bolts of daily life and work? The nuts and bolts that so easily take us out of ourselves, that have us in our head, in doing mode and even somewhat disconnected from who we really are.
Because you’re not actually a manager, consultant, an accountant, a business owner, a coach or even a parent. You might do those things, know those things and get paid for some of those things, but when it comes down to it, they have little to do with who you really are.
You are your mind, your heart, your body, your spirit. Your innate essence. The You that is present when you’re not in any of the life roles you play and not needing to be anything for anyone else, just your animal self. Your native self.
When do you most feel connected to who you really are?
Is it when you’re running down the beach with your dog?
Watching a sunset?
Embracing your lover?
Daydreaming over a cuppa?
On your meditation cushion?
Holding your child?
Standing under a tree?
Lying on your back in silence?
And what does this native, essential self want time or space for?
To simply sit quietly and watch the sun rise before you begin your day?
To take a forest walk on the weekend?
To have a quiet ten minutes to yourself during your work day?
To listen to a divine piece of music?
How comfortable do you feel tuning into what your Being wants, and then carrying it out?
A bit squirmy?
Once upon a time it was deeply uncomfortable for me to not be seen to be working long hours and ‘really hard’. These days I honour my own being above all else (including all others’ opinions) and I celebrate to myself that I’ve worked a five hour day, or had Monday off, or that I will take a walk or a nap in the middle of my workday.
These days I honour my own being above all else (including all others’ opinions).
Yes, we’re still told it’s selfish to want to take time for ourselves. A friend of mine went on their Christmas holidays a week prior to Christmas and another friend of his said “Wow, really? That’s a bit indulgent don’t you think?”
In a puritanical society that isn’t comfortable with too much ‘laziness’ or enjoying of one’s life – and in this case avoiding the busiest part of the silly season – it is true indulgence indeed.
I thought it was a bloody great idea and said, “Good on you!”, applauding their plans. What if an act of ‘outrageous’ enjoyment like that was the norm?
It’s very easy to forget how riddled with expectations, fear and moral obligations our lovely society is. We’re immersed in the stuff. It’s like water for fish – we can’t see it all but we’re right in it.
To be busy, in service to others and outwardly making an effort is applauded. Working late looks like dedication. Arriving early looks like loyalty. Offering to help looks like kindness.
But are these things ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
They’re good when they’re done from a place of ease and resourcefulness; from a place of spaciousness. When we have fuel in our own tank.
They can be ‘bad’ when they are exhausting you, severely limiting your quality time with family, or coming from a place of needing to look good enough in other’s eyes. To name but a few.
Thomas Merton said, “To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.”
The most typical response to taking time for ourselves or going at a more sedate pace is fear that things will not be okay if we’re not there doing stuff. We worry there won’t be enough customers, enough money, enough ‘progress’ and yet we can actually trust (as hard as it might be at times) that we’ll have everything we need. I know when I fill my own tank everything else flows. Sometimes I feel wobbly around that, and I’ve learned to de-wobble in my mind, not start taking more mad action.
I’ve learned to de-wobble in my mind, not start taking more mad action.
Let’s start talking about the future of living
I recently re-shared a post from CEO Chris Herd asking, “Do we really want to be thinking about the ‘future of work’ or are we better off talking about the future of life?” Such a brilliant conversation to be having!
This was his post:
I’m bored of hearing about ‘The Future of Work’
Let’s start talking about the future of living 🙌
We no longer have to sacrifice our life for work
We have the chance to begin working around living
That sounds like a small thing but it has massive implications
Offices are great for some people – but they are terrible for the vast majority of people. That’s why 90% of us never want to work in an office again full-time and 50% never want to work there ever again
The future of living means flexibility
It means having the freedom to set your working hours
It means having the freedom to choose where you work
The opportunity to work from anywhere is a new operating system for living
The biggest quality of life upgrade in a generation.
Making life about life instead of work is a rebellious act in a society that values conformity and ‘slogging yer guts out’.
And here’s the thing, I believe this is for right now, not when the pandemic is over, or when this happens or that happens. It’s quite simply about deciding to value the quality of your life – to allow yourself a quality-of-life upgrade. And to then start living from that premise.
And, you know, it takes courage to do so, because making life about life instead of work is a rebellious act in a society that values conformity and ‘slogging yer guts out’.
I say we can each find that courage should we choose it.
Wishing you a 2021 that honours your Being in every way.