Boy oh boy is it time for a musing!!! I even have a few friends who have emailed me to ask me how I am since they haven't heard from me in a while. You are correct. You have not heard from me. I have been "too busy". Yep - back to that old hat.
I struggle so much with this. With being too busy and saying yes to too many things (aka: not having healthy boundaries). With being too busy because it's easier than dealing with pain or hurt or anger. With being too busy and wearing it as a status symbol to show that I am a strong productive member of society.
The part that's hard for me this time around is that I had made such great progress on this the last coupla years I was in Los Angeles and seem to have lost it. I took a hiatus from theatre to have some down time. I got my jobs whittled down to being in my neighborhood so I wasn't on the road so much. I said no to jobs with bosses who disrespected me and trusted that I was creating space to get hired at a job where I was respected. I said no to parties even if I wanted to be there so I could be at home taking care of myself. I even got to the point where I sat down to a homemade meal... that I cooked... at a table... at my house... fairly frequently. Revolutionary considering before that I prepared/took all 3 meals for the rest of the day with me in the morning. I also ate most of those meals in my car or on a bus for most of my life! No exaggeration on that one!! I had grown leaps and bounds towards taking care of myself by taking time for myself.
Somehow I lost most of that when I moved to Walla Walla. I taught every class I could so I could get known as a yoga teacher. I also "had" to work other jobs to cover the bills. I also "had" to go out so I could meet people and be social. I also "had" to say yes to any favor anyone asked to insure people would like me (old habits sure do die hard). In the beginning I also "had" to be busy because the other option was sitting by myself and dealing with the enormous amount of pain I was going through. But then it became a habit again. Needless to say, for the past 2 years when someone has asked me, "How are you?" I often answer, "Busy, but good."
But I'm not "good" when I'm busy. Suddenly I'm not doing any of my personal rituals that make me calm/grounded/well/happy. I'm not sleeping 8 hours a night. I'm not exercising. I'm not eating right. My emotions run high and they overwhelm me and I start to plummet into depression. That is just the beginning of the snowball effect that is the - cranky, depressed, anxiety ridden, lethargic, dull minded. easy to get ill - Christel Joy Johnson i become when I'm too busy.
So, the good news is.... I'm making a concerted effort to going back to NOT being "too busy". I'm trying to create boundaries to make sure I take care of myself. I am no longer working as many hours. I am no longer working late nights. I am no longer saying "yes" to anybody and everybody who asks for my time. I am saying no to some social things (not because I don't want to do them, but because I know it would be at the expense of my own health). Recent example: Saying no to going to a party after working a 13 hour day when I also had to be to work at 7am the next morning. I took some flack for it, but better someone giving me a hard time then me wearing myself down so thin I get cranky or sick!
I am back to waking up at my usual time and having time in the morning to meditate, to do the physical practice of yoga, and/or to write in my journal. The things I know that help keep me centered and grounded for the rest of my day. I am back to exercising, which of course makes me want to eat things that nourish my body, not just taste good. I am coming back to noticing my feelings/emotions without letting them hijack me. Basically, the beginning of the snowball affect that is the - grounded, centered, calm, joyous, energetic, sharp, healthy - Christel Joy Johnson that is me when I am NOT too busy.
I sure don't pretend to have it all figured out. But there are a few things I have figured out about myself. After having tasted the sweet sweet nectar of slowing down and finding more harmony in my heartmind and in my life - it sure is hard to go back to "too busy". I did go back. But I'm not gonna beat myself up about that. I'm just gonna keep taking baby steps and drawing boundaries to get back on track.
So if you were to ask me today, "How are you?", I would answer, "Excellent. I'm getting back on track. Thank you for asking."
Consider setting and/or protecting your boundaries especially as we move into the often too busy holiday season!!!!!!!
A couple of my favorite saying/quotes as I researched setting boundaries:
"A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect."
"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others." Brene Brown
"Stop asking why they keep doing it and start asking why you keep allowing it."
"Givers need to set boundaries because takers rarely do." Rachel Nolchin