There is a big difference between being productive and getting lots done, and simply overworking. There is being social, and there is filling loneliness with people. There’s enjoying the inspiration of social media, and the storytelling and creativity, and then there is being addicted to connection, being seen and heard. There is being in a loving relationship, and then is the spill into co-dependency. There is being enthusiastic about interests in your life, and then there is obsessively filling every spare moment with stuff to keep us occupied.
In ancient cultures, once the food was gathered, and the daily amount of upkeep as a human was taken care of, there was a lot of time to be in nature, to sit about, to ponder. Now however every minute seems to be crammed with stuff, activities and screens. I teach little children meditation who have an after school activity every day of the week, and both weekend days, in the midst of homework increasing and screen time increasing. Their level of socialising rivals most adults, with extravagant birthday parties and play dates and sleepovers from the age of 6. I teach some adults who sleep only 4-5 hours a night, work insane hours each week, and fill every spare moment with exercise and socialising. I teach exhausted teenagers who are absolutely pushed to their limits by school and extracurricular activities and constant FOMO (fear of missing out) due to social media.
We are losing our ability to cultivate emptiness in the whirlwind of modern society. The art of doing nothing is now seen as laziness.
I know the phenomenon, I used to constantly fill my days. Ambition became anxiety. Determination became doggedness and what was creativity, had become cruelty in the amount I pushed myself. A steady, twice daily meditation practice changed that. A few life shocks on the way, a health scare with Arran and listening to people day in day out share things that had occurred to them which were incredibly challenging and often heartbreaking, snapped me out of it.
We need to cultivate space to simply sit in nature and we need to carve it out as no one is going to grant it to us but us. We need ‘free thinking time’, to let our overworked mind just run wild, to be curious, and not always reading, being informed, looking, scrolling, scanning. We need to learn to say no. We need boundaries and priorities and to be really clear on our values.
We need the peace and freedom to be human BEings that are not always DOing.
Sent with love,