I don’t do busy.
Life is messy.
When uttered, each of these truths went ping! straight into my heart.
My wise friend Kate proclaimed the first in the midst of a women’s gathering in my new Healing Space at Bear Lodge. “’Balance’ is the new fancy term for ‘perfection’. But you know what? Balance is bullsh@t!”
Ah! Yes! All that striving for some idea of balance – between work, life, kids, partner. It doesn’t exist. It’s constantly moving. Believing that we need to be “balanced” is just another thing to do, to worry about, and ultimately judge ourselves for never achieving.
As this truth wormed its way into my being, I laughed at my struggles to be mom, wife, daughter, shaman, friend, business owner… Constantly gauging what I want and need (and the underlying motivations for why) against what my children ask of me, my home, my husband and my clients need.
And so I choose to stop. Be still, check in. Slow down. Say no to balance/perfection.
What is most important right now?
What do I most need?
Does whatever is driving me crazy or causing frustration really need to be done?
I feel how strongly “get it done” is ingrained in me. I grew up with a mom who did it all, in an era when women were proving that they could be just as successful as men. I watch as our culture constantly emphasizes “more” – buy more, do more, be friends with more people. I feel the internal struggle as myself and other women have a baby and jump right back into the full swing of life, or sign our children up for a week’s worth of activities, or try to work and make a home or simply take in all that’s happening in today’s world.
That’s why I both melted and felt tears prick at my eyes when I heard my brilliant and vibrant friend Kelley say, “I don’t do busy!” And she doesn’t. She lives with fire in her belly, saying ‘yes’ to what really makes her feet dance and heart sing. And yes, she works, has a kid, husband, and home.
What do I really want to do?
How do I want to just be?
Since moving to New Hampshire from metro Boston area, I’ve made a more conscious choice to “not do busy.” Last year we only did kindergarten – no extra activities. And it was so refreshing to just come home and play, eat a snack, lie down on a sheepskin in front of a fire or head out into the woods. I said “no” to going places that felt draining even when that voice inside my head said I should – should make new friends, should help out the new school, should… NO. I made peace with the fact that I love spending time at home. I started limiting myself to no more than one outing a day – especially once the baby arrived. It’s enough. It’s okay.
Because quite frankly, life is messy and I’ve needed a lot of time to process all the changes in my life over the past year. Heck, I’ve needed a lot of time to just accept life is messy. I used to spend crazy amounts of energy trying to make everything okay – the emotional vibe in our house, the way the house looked, the relationships between everyone within my family. I tried to balance it all out. And that was exhausting and (refer to above) bullsh@t. It was a way of trying to control what was happening around me. Of striving for some idea of perfection.
Life is messy. Businesses grow – and fail. Money comes – and sometimes goes. Babies are born. Loved ones die. Shoulders hurt. Feelings get hurt. I stopped living in Bubbleworld. Stopped trying to be divine without any room for human. Stopped using spiritual to just exact a higher, impossible standard for myself.
Now? I’m making room for the mess. Making space for myself to just be. Allowing. Reminding myself that it’s okay. Asking for what I need. Forgetting to ask for what I need (ouch) and trying again. Really choosing what I want to do with my time. Sitting quietly in my Healing Space. Enjoying the challenge of working and parenting – from home. (And on some days, not enjoying it.) Stopping the busy. Letting go of my old notion of balance, perfection, striving, pushing.
Wow. Doesn’t that feel better?