A Remedy for Too Much Busyness!

Sick frog card - A Remedy for Too Much Busyness!I have a cold. It’s a good sign that I’ve been pushing myself too hard. My body is telling me in no uncertain terms to take a break and slow down. Naturally, I resisted for the first two days, so my body turned up the volume and yesterday I couldn’t do anything.

Illness is a sure-fire way to make sure I take a rest. When I feel sick, anything else is a waste of time and likely to delay recovery. Illness also comes with a reassuring feeling of entitlement.

Sick people are actually encouraged to rest.

Unfortunately, having a cold is not very pleasant — the dripping nose, the stuffy sinuses, a knock-you-to-the-ground tiredness. All in all, I think I prefer taking a time off I can enjoy.

Taking time off is not so easy in this fast paced, non-stop world of ours. My four email in-boxes are always overflowing. I am forever behind on my social media activities. My digital calendar is bursting with events and I have a backlog of training modules to watch. Who has time to rest?  I am often at my computer until 11 at night.

I admit — I like being busy. Slashing through a task list leaves me feeling virtuous and self-satisfied. But is this constant busyness the best use of my time? Sometime I feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel.

The fact is, when I do take time off, magic often happens. Not only do my batteries recharge, but people return my calls and things seem to flow easier.

Let me make an important distinction — time off the computer, while good, is not the same as taking time off.

Shopping, vacuuming, laundry, preparing a dinner party, or working in the garden still have a goal. The real benefit of relaxation comes when there is no purpose or plan.

Do Nothing is an exercise first introduced to me by my Sufi teacher, Adnan Sarhan. At least once a summer at his camp in Torreon, NM, he sends us out in the woods to “do nothing” — no chanting, no writing, no painting, no taking photos or collecting flowers — just being.

This assignment can be a challenge for a Type A person like myself. However, if I persevere, the mind-chatter stops and a deep, restorative peace takes over. In this space my awareness shifts and a world previously unnoticed opens — the activity of a bee or beetle, the song play between two birds, the applause of aspen leaves shivering in the breeze, the changing artistry of clouds on a canvas of azure blue.

 A deep feeling of contentment takes over me. My heart bursts with gladness and gratitude and everything good seems possible.

I find it hard to replicated this do nothing exercise here in the midst of daily life, but here are a few things that recall its restorative peace.

  1. Focused Breathing. I meditate once a day, but it is not enough. Breathing every time I go through a door is a good reminder to stop and notice the moment.
  2. Pause and Stretch. I can set a chime to go off on my computer once an hour reminding me to stand up and stretch.  Go to Temple Bells and set you own reminder.
  3. Lie in the sun. I do this best at the beach with the rhythmic sound of the waves in the background. When a trip to the beach is not possible, I sit back on a chaise lounge in my yard and let my thoughts drift.
  4. Cloud gazing. On the chaise lounge, I watch the clouds and search for faces and shapes.
  5. Strolling through a new neighborhood. The new visuals help me pay attention to what’s around me and to stay present.
  6. Soaking in a hot bath. I sometimes use this technique when I am stumped with a problem. The relaxation often allows the solution to surface without effort. But it is even better without an agenda.
  7. Music jamming. I play my guitar and my husband plays his dulcimer and we just see where we go. Sadly, we don’t do this often enough.
  8. Dancing. This is my favorite form of meditation. I get completely immersed in the movement and music. There’s a place in Berkeley called the Barefoot Boogie where there is no smoking, not drinking, and no shoes, just great music and space to dance. I feel rejuvenated and glad to be alive every time I go

For me, the very best way I know to take a break and recharge is to do a workshop with my Sufi Teacher, Adnan Sarhan. The delicious combination of slow movement, breath, chanting, dancing and rest leaves me feeling as though I have taken a month’s holiday.

Usually, I can only do this in the summer. However, the Rest and Relaxation Gods are smiling. Adnan Sarhan is coming to the Bay Area this weekend!! For me, he couldn’t come at a better time!

If you want to know more about why I like Adnan’s work so much, read my blog, The Breath of Heaven where I describe how it helped me after the break-up of my first marriage.

Adnan teaches all over the U.S. and Europe. If interested, see his website for a workshop near you. http://www.sufifoundation.org/

Be relaxed,


PS: What are you best relaxations techniques? Please share in the comments section.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief  Transformation Coach Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps professional women struggling with grief to find peace of mind, closure, new meaning and a life worth living in 90-days or less. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of responding to loss and change, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at www.secretsoflifeanddeath.com

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