Even when we’ve seen our true identity, it’s still easy to get caught up in old cycles and patterns. Life is exciting, and engaging, and magnetic. It draws us in. And we are creatures of habit, after all – some conditioning dies harder than others.
The thing I notice at lot recently is being in a hurry to get somewhere with _____________. My clients have this issue, and it still happens to me more often than I’d like. I don’t even know where it’s going, but as soon as ego picks up the scent of some possible destination, it’s off and running before I realize it. Doesn’t really matter whether it’s the yard work, or house-work or work-work, or personal to-do list items. Suddenly there’s a feeling of urgency, and I’m rushing around like mad. And then sometimes, there’s irritation or pressure or anxiety, until it is noticed and questioned.
Where is it in a hurry to get to? Who knows? Some magical place called “done” that the old conditioned part thinks will lead to a magic feeling of some kind – relaxation, maybe? But it seems it never comes. There’s always something else to be done that fills the space of what’s finished. Or there’s an unexamined belief, more like a feeling, that it will be disastrous to not act, or not act quickly, or not get it all done. I cringe to think of how many times I have made my imaginary urgent agenda into someone else’s problem, expecting them to feel pressure to participate in my illusion. If we really want to be free, we might ask “who or what is in a hurry to get somewhere?”.
When we recognize that we don’t really (if we’re honest) know where we’re rushing off to that’s so much more important than right now – more important than being present, prioritizing the day, and working at a reasonable pace while we take care of ourselves and others along the way – everything can relax back into place. We can ask “what will the actual consequences be if it isn’t done today?”. We might even love the work we’re doing, and feel really inspired, but if we’re in this hurried state, we’re probably not present anymore. And things tend to go awry fast when we’re not paying attention – you know what I’m talking about.
One place I notice an obvious change for myself from intentional inquiry like this is housework – especially laundry. I used to try to do it all myself and finish every stitch of it before Monday, no matter how miserable or exhausted it made me or anyone else. Somehow, I had it in my head that it would be a disaster if I didn’t start the week with all my clothing choices available, and that I could finally, magically “rest” after it was done. I also had the idea that doing any laundry during the week was somehow impossible and would break me.
After examining those assumptions, none turned out to be true, and now sometimes I don’t get to the washing until someone’s running out of socks or underwear – and it’s ok. It’s just not a “problem” anymore. I am free of the weight of it! Most of it still gets done on the weekend, without any pressure or suffering. Now, I no longer believe I will get to rest after some huge task – it never happened, and never will. Now, it’s simply laundry. Waiting a day to wash anything is not a big deal, and I rarely lose sleep doing laundry, or over not doing it. Now I usually rest all along the way, and try to manage my energy daily so I don’t run a deficit that puts me in crisis. It’s nice to not be so used up all the time.
What if you question the urgency next time you’re in a hurry or feeling like the list MUST get done NOW? What are the actual consequences? Lay them out. If the true consequences are that someone might be unhappy or worry about what someone might think, it’s time to take stock, and return to what really matters. If you put off this questioning, I can almost guarantee it leads to relationship or health problems, or both. I’ve seen it over and over with my clients and in my own life.
Sometimes the illusion has such a hold on us, that we still believe the urgency is true no matter what, and we may need to enlist the help of a trusted friend or advisor. Sometimes we need to address our unresolved stuff (trauma) with professional help, because the hypervigilance (never-ending feeling of urgency) has us convinced that, indeed, having it all done in time has life or death consequences. Living with the tyranny of such urgency is exhausting, but you don’t have to keep suffering! You have the power to make the shift.