The last few weeks I’ve caught myself feeling “busy”—you know, that stressed-out feeling where you’re thrashing around in the water just to keep your head above the surface?
I definitely did not quit my corporate job to become a stressed out mindfulness teacher.
As much as we wear “busy” as a badge of honor in the Western culture, it's not that glamorous to run around frantically without a clear purpose. Furthermore, constant “busyness” (business) actually has negative health consequences.
In Chinese characters, the symbol for “busy” is the character for “heart” followed by the character for “dead.”
To be busy is to be heart-dead.
Being constantly busy is stressful and does put a strain on our physical heart. Plus, beyond the physical repercussions, the heart is our emotional center. When we are busy, we tend to turn off our emotions and focus on the task at hand. The more we do this, the more accustomed we become to ignoring our emotions, which are a key feedback mechanism in our decision making. Finally, when we are busy, the connection to those people and things closest to our hearts dies.
Mindfulness practice is an antidote for busy.
We connect directly to sensations in the body and the heartspace-- we feel them rather than think about them. In this way, we step into the observer mind, the witness rather than the thinker. This shift strengthens our powers of awareness and cultivated contentedness.
We owe it to ourselves to replace the epidemic of stress, indecision, and mayhem by cultivating stillness, intention, and strength.
Try the Heart-Opening Mindfulness practice below, or see my Stillness is Strength blog on how to get started with meditation. Namaste, friends! :)
Heart-Opening Mindfulness practice
"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." -- Buddha
Encourage the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in by taking deep belly breaths and slackening the face muscles.
Cultivate curiosity for what's going on with you today as you notice the breath, observe the mind, and feel sensations. How are you today?
Next, bring awareness to your emotional center-- for some of us that will be the center of the chest, others the stomach ("gut instinct"). Breathe there. Can you feel energy, a color of light, any feelings arising? Let the feelings come and go. Let your emotions breathe. Acceptance is freedom.
Close with loving affirmations for self:
May I be peaceful and happy
May I be strong and healthy
May I be safe from harm
May I live with ease
And, remember. Peace comes from within--you cannot seek it without. :)