There's Not Enough Time (and other lies that make you miserable)
When I got up this morning, the sun was shining in through all the windows.
My cat was curled up on a warm spot on the kitchen floor.
It was quiet and delicious outside.
A blue-sky kind of easy. And in those first few moments before I started my day, I felt a peaceful sense of possibility. But then my mind kicked in and I began to think of all the things I wanted to accomplish. And KABOOM! That feeling of peace was blown apart by an explosion of urgency. I needed to meditate. And read the book I hadn’t been able to get to. And write. (Sweet-Mother-of-God, I HAD TO WRITE!) I felt a fluttering of fear in my stomach. Like the beginning of a terrible seasickness.
But instead of listening to it, I rushed to make breakfast.
(We coaches do that too, you know—bypass the quiet voice inside that’s trying to get our attention.) And that's when things always start to tilt. Because just as I cracked the eggs into a pan, I remembered the stew meat I’d put in the refrigerator to thaw. Two days ago. I could hear an internal timer, ticking off the minutes to expiration. And so I pulled out the stewpot and started cooking before I’d even eaten my breakfast. That’s when I noticed the floor needed scrubbing. I looked at the clock. I still needed to call my sister. And answer e-mails. And pay some bills. And shower and do my hair. But I had promised myself I would go for a walk. I felt a flame of anger. Damn it! There was never enough time to get everything done. Oh, how many times have I thought this thought! “Not enough time. Not enough time.” I’ve been singing this song for most of my life, sending a chorus of LACK ringing throughout the Universe.
And it’s brought me nothing but misery.
Because every time I believe this story, I react as if the house is burning down and start running around in a panic—grabbing at bits and pieces of my life, stuffing them into a duffle bag, trying to save what matters—while missing out on what's truly important.
So today, I did something different. I took a breath and asked myself what would bring me nourishment. And (surprise, surprise) it wasn’t “cleaning the kitchen”. Instead, I turned my back on the dirty dishes and gummed-up-floor and went for a walk. Because, as Jill Farmer says,
“Starving yourself from doing what you love is not the solution to getting more done.”
Jill doesn't know this, but she's one of my soul-sisters. She wrote a great book called, There's Not Enough Time And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. Seems a LOT of us have made busyness all about our sense of self-worth. Seems we’ve fallen into a habit where we’re actually afraid of NOT being busy. Seems a lot of this busyness is really a choice. Ouch. In my case, my busyness boils down to 3 big fat lies:
There’s not enough time (to do what I want).
I have to do everything myself.
I can’t ask for help.
And I’ve been dragging these stories behind me since childhood. Which is why I have a coach. Because I’m doing my work too, sugar-bear! And doing the work WORKS. Today, the old me would have started crossing off any “non-necessities” from my list (meaning all the things I enjoy) and gotten right to work—answering emails and making phone calls and cleaning the house and running errands until there was no time left for the truly important things that feed my soul. Which is why I'm changing "the old" me.
I don’t like the person I become when I’m caught in that tired chant of scarcity.
When I believe the story of “there’s not enough time” I’m sharp and irritable with the people I love. I cut my sweetheart off when he’s talking. I only half-listen, gulping down my food, rushing to cross the next thing off my list. And that’s not the way I want to live my life. Every time I stand up to the belief that “there’s not enough time,” it becomes easier and easier to be present. And the more present I am, the happier I feel. And the happier I feel, the more I seem to accomplish. Isn't that interesting? When I’m in a relaxed unhurried state, everything around me starts to harmonize and flow. The more I choose what’s truly important, the more the Universe offers up helping hands for all the rest. You know, the stuff that's necessary. When I allow myself to believe in ENOUGH, I actually feel something inside me change—like the cells in my body are expanding with a sense of abundance. And suddenly, there’s no mad rush to beat the clock. There's only the present moment, easy and kind, inviting me to step into a place where time is my friend. And I'm hoping that you too will discover this beautiful place.
Sending you so much love,