As I start to write, George, my brain starts the work of pushing me along. George starts yelling, "you have so many things to do, move quickly, hurry, go, go, go". Its been like this my entire life and its quite exhausting. Always feeling like I'm behind, like the thing I'm doing isn't important enough, like the next thing will be the right thing. Do you recognize this feeling? It can get overwhelming and it truly robs me of enjoying that which is right in front of me.
This pushing from the brain creates anxiety because the body can only do what is right in front of it. This anxiety not only causes problems in my life it gets in the way of relationships. George's messages of "must move faster and get more done" don't take into account other people's needs, their desires or their pace. The faster George is going the more I start to bulldoze over other people.
I know its history ... my poor mom is a fairly anxious woman. She raised 10 children on very limited resources and she was always hurrying us along, trying to save some pennies today to have something for tomorrow, always trying to work as quickly as possible because there was so much to be done. I fully understand she was doing the best that she could and am amazed at what she did accomplish. But the toll has been heavy.
I'm 58 years old and by 8 pm I'm exhausted - not because my life is physically demanding but because my inner world is usually pretty revved up. Throughout the day George is in overdrive, thinking, planning, hurrying me along.
A long time ago a friend gave me a book called "SLOWLY, SLOWLY, SLOWLY," SAID THE SLOTH because he said I was always in a hurry. I often reread this cute fun book as a reminder that life is way to precious to be hurried through and I rely on my mindfulness tools to help me slow things down:
1) I notice what I notice - creating space to decide which thoughts are helpful and allow non-helpful thoughts to float on by.
2) Good gentle deep breathes to bring me back to the present and to help still my brain.
3) I intentionally slow things down - the more George says hurry the more I notice his messages and then with compassion for myself I slow things down.
What are your brain's messages to you that may be causing anxiety? Are you willing to notice those messages without judgement or harshness - just notice and then take gentle action that is in your best interest? These things sound simplistic and yet they are incredibly effective.
I leave you these words from Eric Carle: Why are we always in a hurry? Rush. Rush. Rush. We scurry from here and there. We play computer games and then-quick! click!-we watch TV. We eat fast food. Everyone tells us to make it snappy! Hurry up! Time is flying! Step on it! There's so little time just to be with friends, to watch a sunset or gaze at a star-filled sky. Ah, what we could learn-even if just a little-from the gentle sloth who slowly, slowly, slowly crawls along a branch of a tree, eats a little, sleeps a lot, and lives in peace.