After a recent conversation with a dear friend I decided to try and remove the word 'busy' from my vocabulary and from my life. It began by her asking me how I was and I responded quite typically for me, "All is good. Great, actually. Super busy. And you?" Being the introspective type, she asked "What does busy even mean anymore? Everyone is just so busy these days..."
That conversation really got me thinking...
What do we really mean when we say we are busy? Are we over-scheduled? Are we filling up our lives with to-dos to fill some kind of void? Are we afraid of downtime? Afraid of the silence? Are we competing with one another by stating how busy we are? I'm so much busier than you are... Is this busy-ness a choice or more a function of the new, highly connected normal? And why in the world would we all choose to be so busy? What's in it for us?
With all that pondering came the decision to try my best to not use the word busy any longer when defining myself or my life. And, it wasn't until I decided to remove the word busy from my vocabulary that it became apparent how often I used the word to describe my life. I was using the word busy a lot.
Then I asked myself: How was this word serving me?
As I was taught by a teacher of mine, tuning into how certain words make us feel is a really important tool in achieving happiness and letting go of limiting beliefs. This whole 'busy' thing, I soon realized, was a limiting belief. By that I mean -- the more I told myself I was busy, the less time I felt I had in my life. This busy belief was limiting me, it was suppressing my creativity. It wasn't serving me at all. I was too busy to do something I love -- write; too busy to give more than 10 minutes to my precious morning meditation; too busy to prepare nourishing food for myself; too busy to pick up the phone and call someone I love for no reason at all; too busy to be fully present in my life.
Too busy... too busy.
So, I dug deeper: how does the word busy make me feel? It makes me feel anxious, likes there's a shortage of time, overwhelmed, fearful that I wont get it all done, over-scheduled, tired, stressed out and stuck. Saying, "I'm busy" I realized also made me feel important, validated, part of my peer group...
This word busy -- for me -- is layered with negative and egotistical attachments. And, being one who really believes that the glass is always half full and in the power of positivity and gratitude I made it my mission to rectify this busy business. Knowing wholeheartedly (and preaching it regularly to all my clients, readers and loved ones) that we are the only person who is responsible for how we feel, I wanted to shift my attitude around my self-proclaimed busy life. I choose how I feel -- in each and every moment. In each and every moment, I am responsible for how I feel. One hundred percent.
So, if I want to feel busy and all those not so great feeling emotions that come along with feeling busy than that's my prerogative. But I don't. I want to feel like there is plenty of time to do it all (however, now I am pondering: what exactly is 'it all' and why do I have to do it?), that there is no pressure (except for the self-induced kind), that time is on my side, that I don't need to be busy to be successful.
Sure, there are projects I have committed to, there are appointments I make and keep, there are plenty days with a full schedule, but how I approach those moments is up to me. Rather than looking at my life and seeing it as busy and overwhelming, I am now working on seeing it as full, as fulfilling, as a life that I have created that I am grateful for, as a life that is beautifully unfolding exactly as it should be. Yes, I have always been grateful and optimistic but as always with self-evolution, I was in need of some fine-tuning.
Regardless of what fills our day and how packed our schedules are, we can choose to be present and grateful for all that is going on in our worlds. As well, we can choose to let go of some of the 'tasks' that really don't need to get done. For instance, in my fine-tuning of the word busy out of my life, I let go of some things that don't need to be taking up my time -- I streamlined my life a bit. I am learning to delegate more, to ask for help more and most importantly to not compare my life and its 'full-ness' or lack thereof to others. I cherish down time. I love being present and in the moment. I honor my quiet, creative time. I am proud to be less busy and happy to have shifted my mindset from one of being too busy to one of living a full life.
I challenge you to tune into your vocabulary and really listen to the words you speak. Remove negative, stress-provoking words from your life like busy and overwhelmed and stressed, replace them with words like full and peaceful and happy. Even if its difficult at first, tuning into your thoughts and your words and focusing on being more deliberate with how you describe yourself and your life can shift your life in incredible ways.
Let go of the need to be busy and rather just be. Slow down, take it all in and realize that this moment -- right here, right now -- is precious. When we're too busy being busy we can miss this amazing life we are living.