Are You Like Me?

Just over 6 years ago, I was a different person than I am today.

I used to go at high-speed through my whole day. I would wake up early, jump out of bed to get the list of things I needed to do within the day done. I glorified and exemplified busy. I was not one to sit still. Even when we were on holidays, if I sat on a lounge chair any amount of time that was a miracle. I was up, antsy, not able to relax.

At that time, I heard about people doing yoga and meditation and journalling and all this slow stuff and I just didn’t get it and I just didn’t have time for it. I look back now and I somewhat laugh and somewhat feel a heavy weight of sadness for that version of me. One of the things that I fit in everyday was a workout routine and that workout routine involved a video program called P90X. In all honesty, for me, this was not driven from a place of health. It was driven from a place of poor body image, striving for an impossible bar of perfection. Within that program was a yoga day. I gave my yoga DVD away to my sister-in-law because I was under the mindset that if I was going to fit a workout in I was going to make it worth it – I wasn’t going to waste my time on something useless, meaningless like yoga. {For you yogis out there, you are likely gasping at my ignorance at that time.}

Little did I know that what I actually needed most at that fast-paced time of my life was some form of stillness, contemplation, introspection, gentleness, self-love, inner peace and compassion. I was driving myself something fierce; never good enough, never fit enough, never in the right place, never complete with my never-ending list of things that needed to be done. But! I was not aware of this at the time.

If you are like me, and if I can give you any words of advice from the other side…this is not healthy and this is not sustainable. Slow down and listen to yourself, listen to what you say to yourself, listen to what is driving your busyness. Capture your thoughts. Would you ever say what you say to yourself to a loved one? to your kids? Would you ever push them to this extreme? And, if so, why? What do you believe is important about this? Is that coming from a loving place or from a place of fear or not enough-ness?

Now, this is likely vulnerable because at the base of this drive, this push, this achievement and strive is an identity that you and others have likely identified you with. I was one that got things done. I and others valued that about me. But, this drive started to have me, I was out of choice around it, and it started to work me like a workhorse. It forgot that I was human, with limits, with simple desires, with a longing for acceptance and a realization that I am enough, as I am, without needing to accomplish SO MUCH all of the time.

When I finally did get a taste of what it meant to slow down, truly slow down. When I got a taste of what yoga, meditation, stillness and contemplation have to offer, I found an inner peace that is always with me and I realized that much of what was driving me was not my voices and not what truly mattered to me. Many of those voices and messages were ones of others, of how I was told to live a valuable life. When I let them go, I found freedom.

If you are like me, I highly recommend reading Brene Brown’s, The Gifts of Imperfection and Pema Chodron’s, Smile at Fear (or any of Pema’s books.)

You are enough – inherently enough.

You are basically good without needing to prove anything, achieve anything, do anything.

Kristen Bentley