I bought a book a few years ago called “Slowing down to the speed of life’ by Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey. At the time I liked the title, it felt like something I needed to do as life was so busy and I was being pulled in millions of directions.
I never read the book… it is still sitting on my shelf and yet its presence is a constant reminder to slow down!
The Japanese have a wonderful mantra 80% full. When eating a meal, they aim to stop when they are 80% full. Knowing when and how to stop is a challenge for us all.
Our busyness knocks us off balance all the time, and it stops us from really connecting with others especially our children. It’s a hard habit to break, perhaps because we don’t see it as a habit, we see it as a validation that we are doing ok – some of us need to feel busy to feel comfortable.
Why is it much easier to say ‘yes’ than ‘no’?
It’s so hard to say ‘no’ because we don’t want to miss out and we don’t want our children to miss out, but every time we say ‘yes’ to something, we miss out on something else. We are often making choices without realising it.
The biggest reason for me is that I miss so much when I am busy. I miss the little things that are happening in their lives. They won’t always ask for help, if they are stressed or worried, instead, it shows up in their behaviours but if I am too busy, I miss it. I tend to focus on the behaviour and not what might be going on behind it.
When we are busy, we might connect with what they are doing and be in the right places to give them lifts or watch them perform, but we might fail to connect with who they are and what is important to them.
If we are busy they won’t ask us questions or tell us what they need because they decide we haven’t got the capacity to really listen.
Busyness has turned into how we do things as parents and it’s hard to break the cycle. The first thing is to realise that busyness has nothing to do with how much we need to get done. It is not about what we are doing, it is about how we feel about what we are doing.
Here are some questions to reflect on using the stone stack that might help.
Imagine: What would it be like for you if you had more space?
Believe: What might you be assuming that is making you busy?
Let go: What could you stop doing that would lighten the load?
Create: What activity could you try to do daily that would help you find more balance?
Trust: How can you trust others more, and ask for help?
In the same way that we need to learn how to be less busy, so do our children, they might need more space to do nothing, to dream, to play, to become bored, to pause, reflect and learn.
We have shared more thoughts and ideas on each of these questions via our instagram posts this week (20-25th November). We would love to hear your ideas too.