Busy vs. Lazy:
Why Do We Do That?
Jessica Ruby, MA
Here's the deal: we all self-sabotage at times in our lives, and some more than others. And before you start to point fingers, remember that it's way easier to see other people's faults than your own. So, instead, let's just explore some of the common ways people sabotage themselves, and take a peek behind the curtains.
Busy-Bee: they.never.sleep ... ever. They are super-duper over-involved in way too many things and are usually in over their head. They rush from one event to the next, never have time in between to rest, think, exhale, or feel.
What they think they feel is a sense of pride for being so ding dang productive, but what they're really doing is putting the kibosh on any forward momentum in their life, as the "productivity" usually only serves to maintain the status quo.
How to be a rock star extreme Busy Bee: Overbook your schedule. On purpose. Schedule every single detail of your daily life all the way up to bed time. Push all the self-care type of events (if you even schedule them in!) to the end of the day or end of the month, whatever-they're last, ok-you don't matter! Do not, under any circumstances, cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself.
Hmmm…on the other side...
Lazy Sloth: They can easily be found watching TV or gaming or internet surfing. All. Day. Long. And perhaps imbibing their drug of choice to make sure they never leave the couch. Because if they left the couch they'd have to face their life. Or, gah, other people who are onto the fact that they're wasting their life away on the couch.
I'm not talking about depression here, although there could be some overlap. I'm talking about the un-motivated (wo)man-child who won't use an ounce of brain fuel to think about their life and that means ix-nay on thinking about the future beyond what time they'll get up to go pee. Not that they actually plan that either.
How to be a rock star extreme Sloth:
Ignore your physical and emotional needs, and any decision that may lead to you doing something other than waste time. Keep yourself numb and disconnected from any dreams you may have had for yourself. Absolutely avoid all forms of responsibility-even for your own personal hygiene.
Where would Goldilocks be on this continuum? Right in the middle, of course! (You didn't see that coming, did you?)
How to be a rock star healthy Goldilocks on this continuum:
Listen to your body, and give it restful down time when you truly need it
Find a healthy outlet for your thoughts, emotions, fears, etc. Examples are journaling, talking to a trusted friend or therapist, or any form of legal creative expression. Quality of life usually goes up when we remove things/activities from it, so think about what you can reduce or remove from your life in order to begin to feel better.
The bottom line is that both extremes are attempts to avoid the same thing:
self-connectedness. Ouch, what's that about?! That's a whole 'nother blog, but suffice to say there's a myriad of reasons why one might avoid self-connection.
Sometimes we're afraid that we won't like what we discover about ourselves. The good news is that usually our worst fears are not actually our sincere truths. Whew!
Where are you on the continuum?
Seven Tips for Quieting
Your Inner Critic
Lauretta Zucchetti, MA
It never leaves me alone.
Wherever I go, no matter what I do or what time of the year it is, it is always by my side, ordering, nagging, criticizing, scolding, disapproving and ultimately making my life miserable.
If I work, I am not working hard enough. If I relax, I am told I shouldn't. If I travel, I am bound to take my computer along and always perform some kind of daily tasks. If I sleep, I ought to wake up early so I can get more done.
I am talking about my most inner, most critical voice, that nasty gremlin that showed up in my early teens and took up permanent residence inside of me. It is as extolling as a slave owner, as haughty as a prima donna, as incessant in its screaming as a broken record.
After years and years of living with it, I decided to do anything to get rid of my uninvited guest. I sought help and looked for solutions.
What I found is that most of us, humans, have it. Whether it is because our families told us we were not enough, or treated us as if we weren't, or, in my case, out of ignorance beat me into a pulp and told me how dumb I was, the fact is that most individuals carry an internal self-critic who won’t leave them alone. If the culture in which we live is also one of demanding people to perform all the time, as the industrialized cultures tend to be, then we are in for some real challenges.
I'd like to share a few key principles and tips about this roommate of ours and how to tame it:
- No matter how we feel about yourself and where it comes from, realize that it is only through mistakes that you are going to learn anything. Kudos to you for erring and correcting your path.
- Be compassionate towards yourself (yes, more than you are to others!): who else is going to accept, respect and love you if you don’t first and foremost?
- Realize that this part is entrenched in your subconscious and is now part of who you are after the many years of conditioning; it is going to take time, patience and persistence to get rid of it.
- Talk to this part as if it were another person in front of you; tell it to leave you alone and that you are a good person. Unmask its claims by reminding 'it'; of every effort you have made to be the individual you aim at being.
- If you can, even with the help of a therapist or a coach, ascertain the origin of the voice. Where does it come from? What happened in your past that caused you to doubting and criticizing yourself?
- Most importantly, remember that, as spiritual Beings living in earthly bodies we are here to learn lessons and to grow. The more mistakes we make the more we learn, the more courageous we are.
- Meditate often and clear your mind and your spirit. It will enable you to feel the true Essence of your Being, made of light, love and compassion, which is who you truly are, and nothing else.
After many years of battling my enslaving force within, I am now able to prevail over it. When the guilty feeling or the impulse to throw myself at frenzied activities arise, I shush the accompanying comments by way of reminding myself that mistakes are good and that I can't possibly do more if I don't rest and enjoy myself first.
You should try it. It works!
Happiness vs. Evolution:
Why Making Meaning
Means More Than Feeling Good
Gail Whipple, MTP ACC
So many first-world people like me are consumed with the pursuit of happiness, where many other-world people are consumed with just staying alive. I've often thought if I were a woman in a refugee camp, I would be so upset to know there are folks in the world with SO MUCH and they aren’t even happy with it. But the more I think about it, people who are disempowered don’t need us to be happy. They need us to evolve.
The happiness thing is an easy sell, so believe me, it gets sold. The spiritual ideal of happiness may come out of eastern culture yet it has lost much of its meaning at the hands of western marketers. So chances are, pursuing that picture of happiness will not bring you happiness. Why? Because the job of being alive is to evolve. Doing that job well brings us at least fulfillment, at best peace, and it brings the world to new depths, heights and possibilities.
Evolution brings the hope that we may all make the quantum leap from self-interest to self-actualization, instead of reserving that stage for a select few sages we look up to. We’re in the second act of our particular time with all the universe watching the drama unfold: Will they learn to co-exist or will they destroy everyone and everything? Will they give up being violent with one another and learn to just be with one another?
In other historic times the dramatic question has been different. When the myth of Hercules took center stage the dilemma was, can humankind be stronger than the struggle and death that is all around? In Gilgamesh’s time it was, can humankind build something - say the first City - something that leaves a legacy instead of life just being dust to dust? In the time of Jesus it was, can an individual exercise moral freedom even though the ruler/gods and the tribe wills it otherwise?
There’s always a central creative theme of evolution at the core of the heroic myth, which is always at play in a creative universe. While former iterations led us to a shared value of acting with strength, building legacy and demanding freedom, today we’re being called to add compassion to the script.
Our time on stage has all of these former lessons of human development packed into the action: Will the actors learn to be strong enough to love one another more than death? Will they learn to leave a legacy that is beyond the material? Will they-having secured their own freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness-learn to help others secure theirs?
Or will they just pursue happiness?
If we don’t evolve purposefully and positively, if we don’t make meaning of our lives, our time on the universal stage will end, and we will have been a mere curiosity, just as the dinosaurs are today. What did they look like? How did they survive, how beastly were they, and how smart?
But if we do evolve, if we do live into our creative and heroic potential, we have the chance to fulfill all the heroic and creative stages that have played through the human experience: We will live on as did Hercules, we will leave a legacy as did Gilgamesh, we will distinguish ourselves as loving spiritual beings as did Jesus, and perform stunning acts of compassion that will move us beyond the killing fields of overwhelming materialism.