I used to identify with the woman above - a lot! And I have to admit, somedays I do feel like her again. Life ebbs and flows and the busy times with it. As I sat at the beach before school the other day, sipping a coffee and chatting with my soon to be 10 year old, I had a moment where I stopped to notice how far I had come.
It got me thinking: about parenting, about life, about that word ‘busy’
How have I gone from frantic, stressed out and overwhelmed busy superhuman, to so cruisy that I have time to drive to the beach and sip coffees with the kids enjoying a moment of relaxed stillness before school has even begun?! And why? Why is everyone so crazy busy?!
I used to be the busiest person I knew. I wore my busy badge with a mixture of extreme pride and quite a large dose of drama. My friends would say “How are you?” to which I would take reply “I’m soooooooo busy”. A little bit ‘poor me’, a little bit ‘look at me, I’m superwoman!’ And probably a large dose of 'If I ramble on about how busy I am, I won't have to think about or tell you how I REALLY feel'.
I would rush about madly, getting up at 5:30am to thrash myself at the gym, get home to do all the mum jobs, drop kids at school, walk or run around the block, grab a coffee, attack house chores, practice some new choreography for my part time job as a gym instructor, do some work on my new photography business, head into town to gather bits and pieces or have meetings with sponsors for the next big school fundraiser that I was creating.
Realising I was late for school pick up I would rush madly back to school, collect kids, chat at the gates with other mums about my busy day, home and jobs and more work.
No, sorry kids, can’t play with you – too busy (but I would say things like "soon" and "later" and then that time would never come). Then I’d feel like rewarding all my hard work with a glass of wine only to find by 4pm I was totally completely and utterly exhausted, still in my gym gear and top knot, reaching for another wine cos that sugar is kicking in, and then another because I am actually starting to relax and this is the only way I know how, perhaps sharing the moment with another mum, reveling in the drama of how hard life is and where would we ever be without our wine?!!
Then I would fall into bed for a bad night’s sleep as the sugar zoomed around my body causing my muscles to twitch and an early wake up with a mild headache and some bad sleep until it was time to get up and do it all again. The image of a hamster on a wheel springs to mind!
So what caused me to wake up to myself?
Well the first alarm bell was when my children stopped asking me to go to the zoo or buy them outrageous new toys and just started asking for ‘some time’. Ouch. I felt TERRIBLE. I knew I wasn’t giving them enough attention and it wasn’t even attention it was ‘being present’. Even when I was playing my heart wasn’t in it. My mind was racing away with all the things I wasn’t doing or achieving while I was sitting on the floor playing dinosaurs and barbies.
The second not-so-subtle hint was when one of my very best friends bought me Dr Libby Weaver’s ‘Rushing Woman’s Syndrome’, which I accepted without offence. I read it from cover to cover in a couple of days and totally resonated with all of it because…
The third MASSIVE clue that something wasn’t right was that my body had been sending me VERY strong and clear messages that it did not like the pace at which I was living my life. I was feeling dizzy and fainting occasionally. I felt like throwing up after high intensity exercise and was taking a whole week to recover from my workouts. I had dark circles under my eyes. I had no energy without coffee and woke up stiff and sore every morning.
Whenever I sat still, I had sharp pains moving around and all through my body. I went to the doctor about 6 times, she said stress – which I thought was ridiculous! I wasn’t stressed, I was super efficient! I was great! Then I took an online survey, as you do (don’t do that please, listen to your doctor instead) and scored nearly a hundred percent for Adrenal Fatigue.
My life now, a life filled with passions
So now I find myself with a life just as ‘full’ as it was before. So what has changed? How is it different? What have I done to get off the hamster wheel and find my zen amongst a life filled with many passions?
Many things! Essential oils were the start of it all. They sort of interrupted the default patterns and opened me up to new ways of thinking and being. And that’s the key right there – I have balanced out all my doing with a good portion of just being.
A really interesting thing has happened. My life is now filled with just as many passions as it was before. Yet I feel calm (most of the time - I am still a work in progress). My inner world is filled with space and clarity. I possibly have just as much going on as I did before, it’s just not such a ‘hot mess!’.
Because I finally realised WHY. I found the underlying root cause for my busy-ness addiction. And it was an addiction. I was avoiding. If I sat still I felt highly anxious. I thought I had just forgotten how to relax.
Over time I actually realized that I avoided stillness and quiet time because under all that anxiety was all of the unresolved pain from the past screaming for my attention. I wasn’t short of time. Life wasn’t the problem. The modern world wasn’t the problem. Social media pressure wasn’t the problem. I simply needed healing.
I needed to go back and process all of the pain, guilt, shame, blame and grief of the past. I realised that anytime something traumatic had happened I had moved on quickly and blocked out all of the white noise with busy work so that I didn’t have to look at all the painful stuff. I was always looking outwards for the answer – food, sugar, coffee, wine, gym, shopping, work – all distracting my mind away from the sadness, the depression and the pain.
Only by making a conscious choice to go forward in a new way can we find our freedom. And the best thing is – you don’t have to have a plan, the answers or a pathway mapped out. When I CHOSE to make a change, I just took a leap of faith.
The beach was calling so we moved. I needed healing so my eyes were open and the right people and tools have just appeared in front of me. I had to let my pride crumble and be willing to rewrite the story of who I am.
I had to admit that things weren’t working. I had to admit I needed help. I truly think this is the crucial first step. So often when I talk to people that don’t like what is turning up in their life they answer back all my suggestions with an excuse as to why they can’t do that or that won’t work for them.
Until we are ready to take full responsibility for our lives and start to look inwards instead of outwards for our sense of fulfilment, love and guidance, we will continue to struggle with repeated patterns. These patterns always reflect a belief that we hold. Ultimately, we are responsible for everything that is showing up for ourselves in our lives.
When we can start to turn our pain into power, we are on the path to freedom. When we can start to see that our challenges are presenting themselves so that we can learn our soul lessons, then we can start to see life in a more positive way. Your energy shifts and that ‘problem’ can now be seen as a gift for learning and growth.
If you’d like to start the process of interrupting your default patterns, get in touch for a soul chat and we can work together to help get you back on track with one or more of the many tools that have helped me. Essential oils, yoga, mediation, journalling, mindset shifts, energy work or maybe you just need some TIME OUT to clear your head.