You know the stereo type of the Busy Body? You know the one who is in everyone else’s business? Probably criticizing others while being blind to their own limitations? Well I am turning into one lately. Yep. It all started with what seemed like a really good thing. And then another really good thing. And Another, and Another and Another… Before long I had just heaps of good things going. Problem is that just like babies and sugar it is entirely possible to have too much of a good thing.
This has turned into a very busy week for me. One might even say stupid busy. I am teaching two classes on two really different topics -bookbinding Tuesday and vegetable fermentation Sunday. My sister Kathleen was sworn in as the District 4 Clatsop County Commissioner last night. (Yay Kathleen!) There is a Scorcher talent show Saturday and a community contra dance Friday. Folks are out sick at work and because I have been filling in for them, the piles of referrals on my desk have reached unprecedentedly terrifying heights. In what by all rights ought to be my red tent week. Whoa.
This is a week that exemplifies why I am so obsessed with self care all the time. I am observing from the many small signals from my body that it is all really just a bit too much. Lurking migraine symptoms, leaden feeling upon waking, blurred thinking, achey body… grumpy.
Knowing myself, and my long history of pushing myself to ridiculous levels of overwork, I am now observing that I need to set some ground rules for myself, so as to not dig myself in too deep. I know I need a plan for rest, I just don’t have it quite yet.
A good place to start off is probably figuring out what is on the punt list. Already I can tell that trying to pull off going to the contra dance after work Friday is a non-starter. Despite looking forward to it since November. Scorcher Talent Show? Definitely will not be performing, but will likely drag myself to see the talents of family and friends. Dinner with friends tonight? Cancelled.
Then there is the Sauerkraut class on Sunday, I have been preparing for a few weeks now. I seem to be sacrificing everything else to pull that one thing off. I already sacrificed New Year’s Eve festivities to prepare for it. I spent the week between X-Mas and New Years, including New Year’s Eve, chopping up 85# of vegetables and making it into 12 different ferments to taste out at my class. If that isn’t crazy I don’t know what is.
Can you hear that slight whine in my tone? A sure indicator that I have not had near enough Gummy Time of late. The real mystery is not so much that I end up overcommitted, it is that I always seem to be surprised when it happens. Me thinks this is probably an executive functioning blindspot I have.
To make a long story short, I am noticing that when I overbook my life, I become increasingly less effective. With the current state of affairs in my nation and the world, this feels like a time in which my most important job is to show up in a thoughtful and effective way. Like so much in my life this isn’t just about my small little world. Taking time to center and have enough Gummy time is actually absolutely essential if I am hoping to be part of the new emerging paradigm that will lead to more peace love and understanding.
Seriously, the degree to which I let myself descend into overextended-grumpy-busy-body-autopilot is inversely related to how well I do the work I showed up in this life to do. Which seems super important to recognize, because not showing up to promote peace love and understanding is really the same thing as promoting the status quo. I am supporting the extraction culture rather than nurture culture when I treat myself like a cog in some insane productivity scheme.
When we reduce our value down to how productive we are, everyone loses. Being over busy is just another way of being asleep at the wheel. Plus it leads to busy-bodyitis in which I begin to have some pretty strong opinions about the drawbacks in other people’s behaviors. Compassion, curiosity, and empathy become somewhat degraded.
For the remaining three days of this week I will endeavor to make what efforts I do put forth count towards either:
- a) reducing stress – i.e. tackling as much of the insane piles of referrals on my desk tomorrow as possible. Or
- b) fulfill a strong commitment – like my Sauerkraut class. Or
- c) nurturing or rejuvenating – like going for a walk, planning a nap on Saturday, and sitting with a cat in my lap.
And pretty much nothing else. The good news about linear time is that we get to start over constantly. Monday will start a new week in which I can build in down time to nurture and renew. Which ought to bring me back in line with myself.
Being less grumpy also means that, rather than continually trying to build houses of straw by myself- as in the three little pigs, not permaculture straw bale, I can actually play well enough with others that we can lay a strong foundation that supports a world of wonder where everyone wins.
Maybe it all boils down to having enough time to pet my cats. Doing that means I am getting enough down down. And getting enough down time means I am choosing to show up how I want to be showing up in the world. Namely as a force for peace love and understanding – not as a busy-body.
I just need to get through this week first.