People come to me because they have a longing in their heart. I want more, they say. I long for deeper meaning / connection / joy / creativity. I crave a simpler life. I so desperately need more rest.
And then the inevitable follow up:
But I don’t have time. I don’t have time to follow my dream. I don’t have time to find out what would give my days more meaning and joy. I don’t have time to practice my creative work. I don’t have time to take a step back to see the big picture.
And I don’t have time to rest.
That last one is starting to get to me. Not just because you use it, but because I find myself using it too, and because living by it has such serious consequences. In fact, I don’t have time to rest might be what robs us of all those other things we say want (more creativity, more joy etc.)
I’m a compassionate soul. People often call me a gentle guide. But I think I’m running out of patience here. I think I’ve heard this particular excuse one too many times now.
You don’t have time to rest?
No? But you do have time to feel like crap?
Have time to walk around in a haze because you don’t get enough sleep?
Have time to deal with a tired, achey body because you don’t move and stretch the way your body needs you to?
Have time to feel clogged and drained because you don’t eat the food that would sustain you?
Have time to deal with the consequences of lousy decisions made because you’re not fit and present in the moment?
Have time to mend the hurt you – involuntarily, I know – cause your loved ones, because you’re simply too stressed out to respond the way you’d want to.
For so long, we’ve gotten away with almost anything using that excuse. I don’t have time. Because we all know it. We all feel it. We’ve lived that excuse until it’s become a truth.
Only it’s not.
What if we call ourselves on the lie that it is, and get a little real for a moment?
You don’t have time to rest and take care of yourself and your health properly, but you DO have time to deal with the massive impact that lack of selfcare has on your life, daily?
It just doesn’t make sense. It’s a ridiculuos thing to say. It’s a lousy trade and you know it. It’s not working for you. It’s not working for any of us, not as individuals and not as a society.
We’re exhausted. For some of us it’s just a nagging discomfort, some of us are on the verge of illness, and some are well past that point.
How about we don’t say things like that anymore? Things that make no sense. Things that help keep us stuck in a life situation that is destroying our health and stealing our joy.
How about we speak the truth for a bit?
I’m not sure what truth would sound like for you, today. For me, it would be about looking back at a spring season where I slowly lost myself to too much work. Again. Yes, in spite of everything I know. I found myself staying up late to meet deadlines in spite of sinus infections, a bad cough, and feeling so very tired. I didn’t tend to my sleep properly, I cut back on my walks in the forest, I was prickly with my family.
Because I want to honour my commitments. Which is a good thing. Yes, but if I dig deeper?
Because I still believe that promises I make to other people are more important than promises I make to myself.
Because there’s some part of me that feels that work is more important than everything, including my health and my family, and when I get stressed that part of me takes over.
That’s an uncomfortable truth. It doesn’t offer any simple solutions, but it’s true, and true I can work with. It reminds me that I’m actually making decisions here, even though at times it feels like I’m powerless and at the mercy of other people’s poor planning and insane demands. I’m always, always making decisions and some of them leads to me feeling like crap.
Admitting this offers the possibility of making a new decisions, different decisions. And that’s not possible as long as I’m hiding behind the dead end of I don’t have time.
There’s a relief waiting for us at the other side of our excuses. A softening that comes from not having to defend a lie anymore. A sense of hope that comes from feeling how solid and reliable truth actually is, even when it’s uncomfortable.
That’s what I want for us, today. Our shoulders coming down with the relief of truth. Head-space enough for us to get a hold of our true priorites and start making good decisions again. Heart-space enough to trust that when we do, life shows up to meet us.
And if we forget?
Well. I’ll be here to remind us.