Livin' on Island Time
I try to take one day at a time,
but sometimes several days attack me at once.
The time to relax is when you don't have time for it.
Jim Goodwin & Sydney Harris
Work is not always required.
There is such a thing as sacred idleness.
In case you’re wondering, if you ever accidentally pull your eyelashes out, they grow back within a span of 6-8 weeks.
There are multi-taskers, & then there was me. The model of the virtuously over-busy person was deeply ingrained in my mind-set from childhood.
That is until the year 2009 when I experienced a long bout of debilitating adrenal dysfunction & a whole comedy of errors that caused me to eliminate tasks that weren’t real requirements of my best, most authentic life & changed the way I operated in the world.
When one spends a whole year too sick to accomplish little more than the basic necessities of life, there is opportunity for a shift from what you do to who you are to occur. My shift came when the last vestiges of a faulty, unconscious belief of mine—I accomplish; therefore I am—was rooted out.
After an excruciating long learning curve, I finally locked into the deep knowing that I am whole & complete with or without accomplishing another thing, even my own precious hopes & dreams.
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Aha! So life is for living, not for a non-stop stream of productive tasks. Get me off this hamster wheel! Time to let go of impossibly high self-standards & suffering inquisition at my own hands.
Self-acceptance—as in full-tilt self-love—leaves overwhelm, exhaustion & fear in the dust & gives way to happiness, peace, & paradoxically, “struggle-free” accomplishment. When life becomes less about how much we get done & more about what we're able to do with a sense of joy & pleasure, miracles happen. Miracles of prosperity. Miracles of creativity. Miracles of ease.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Back to the comedy of errors & the eyelashes that solidified the aforementioned revelation.
It all started when I was talking on the phone about an oh-so-pressing matter while simultaneously rushing through my primping routine. Since it was a special occasion, I thought I’d splurge on a few extra seconds to curl my lashes before applying the requisite mascara.
How accomplished I felt. After all, saving the world (as any good card-carrying care-aholic, codependent would do) & applying makeup while employing the deft ear-to-cellphone-to-shoulder maneuver is no small accomplishment.
That is, until in one-fell-swoop, I pulled out every last eyelash from my left eyelid. Mystified, I looked down at the tool which all of a sudden took on the likes of an eye-torture contraption to see my lashes all lined up on the curved rubber edge like obedient little soldiers.
In retrospect, I wish I had taken a picture of me as the one-eyelashed wonder from the event for your amusement. But all photography to include me that day was strictly forbidden. (Although my eyelash mishap proved worthy as a conversation starter, it took me a day to fully embrace the humor of the situation.)
Now maybe you’ve had moments (or months) of white-knuckling the steering wheel while carpooling your kids to school, rushing to your next appointment or swallowing a palm full of vitamins all at once in hopes they’d make it down without needing the Heimlich maneuver. (Okay, pretty sure that last one was just me.)
But have you ever noticed that the more we hurry the slower we go?
Fast always takes longer when we rush.
It took a prolonged illness & long recovery process for me to really realize that time pressure is self-inflicted. Yep, we stress ourselves in ways that are completely avoidable.
Whatever was on my plate got there because I said yes to it. In retrospect, many of the things that I was absolutely certain were urgent & totally mandatory for me to do weren’t.
The key is recognizing that we have control over what we do—and don’t do. We can do less & be more. We can be comfortable saying no to things that pull us away from what we love.
We can savor the most important stuff & say no to the rest.
What if we believed we could afford to relax? And that we had nothing else to prove or get right first? What if we let go of the belief that we need to work hard for everything & swapped inspiration for struggle to make space for an easier, more joyful way?
It all comes down to this: Either we consider the lilies that neither toil nor spin & trust in the power that holds galaxies together—or we don’t.
If we experience relaxation-induced anxiety or say we want to be less frazzled, but are not, it may be fitting to delve into why we’re still tied to our busyness & stress. The dragon that guards the gold might be an attempt to elevate status, establish worth or search for external validation; or a fear of not meeting the expectations of others or of not being enough; or perhaps even an avoidance of intimacy in relationships.
Here’s the best part: After we finish our inner-detective work, we can choose to move through the world differently.
Insights come to life; truth sets us free & freedom acts.
We’re free to experiment with radical un-busy-ness; to rattle our routine & dial down our go-jo by slashing every non-urgent to-do off our list & emptying our calendars. In place of pushing too hard, too much, too fast & too often, it’s a time for reminding ourselves that who we are is enough & zero in some soul medicine to:
When Nature Pulls a Fast One
A Mulligan (Life's Second Chances)
The Kindness of a Stranger
Making Uncertainty an Ally
Lovin' the Town You're With
Being Part of Someone's First
THE STORY OF A
"An Amazing Life Story..."
Words that Live On
Cindy O'Krepki , Freelance Writer
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• Rest like we mean it.
• Move at the speed of sloth.
• Mosey on over to the dog park.
• Hike a favorite trail.
• Putter around the house.
• Play for play's sake.
• Sneak away for solitary time.
• Take a long winter’s nap.
• Belly breathe.
• Build a blanket & couch-cushion fort with the kids.
• See the world through the eyes of a child.
• Nurture deeply
Photo: Brenda Viola
Ya 'mon. Just as if we were livin’ on island time (enter balmy breeze, steel drums & calypso music).
That is, the time to do absolutely nothing—without a care in the world evoking the summertime freedom of childhood. The kind of boundless soul freedom we never stop craving & can revel in when we believe we are enough.
It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) | How to Be Happy: 22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki
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