Choosing one thing is a revolutionary act. Those of us with multiple loved ones to care for, who are also multi-passionate, often feel like we have no choice but to be doing ten things at once. We may even wear our ability to multitask like a badge of honor. But the truth is that constant busyness is a stress response, and one that often dilutes our experience of joy. It also dilutes our potential for deeper connection, our ability to be present, the degree of intimacy we have access to, and even our sense of belonging.
Though we may want to slow down, doing so can sometimes feel next to impossible, even when we secure the childcare or get the time away. This is because some part of us doesn’t actually feel safe unless we’re being productive or moving fast through the world. It may also feel easier to stay in hyper-arousal than to slow down and face our fears, our losses, and our disappointments.
It’s required a long, messy healing journey to get here, but these days, my body actually registers a frantic pace as less safe; a threat to my hard-won serenity. When I find myself pulled into “I need to be doing more!” energy, I try to take 20 minutes in my hammock or a walk around the neighborhood (without headphones) and then see how I feel. I’ve learned that more often than not, when I feel like I need to do more things, what I actually need is a nap, to stop consuming information, or to reduce the stimulation I’m exploding myself to.
Every time we say yes to something, we’re saying no to other things. Less “productive” choices like resting, savoring spaciousness, catching up with a treasured friend, a leisurely stroll through the woods, restorative yoga, or reading for pleasure might not seem as important as getting our finances in order, cleaning the house, or working out, but that’s because we’re conditioned to be producers and consumers. No one profits from our decision to slow down and do less. No one gets rich when we’re resting.
Saying no to something simply because you want to say yes to your serenity is valid, self-honoring, and wise. Being able to access serenity because we haven’t overburdened or overloaded ourselves, is a gift to every life we touch.
Wishing you sweet moments of summer slow down,