Over the years I’ve identified a strong correlation between Doing too much and an increased experience of stress and tension (revelatory – I know). I can now immediately identify the beginnings of physical symptoms that tell me I’m running around too much and not checking in with myself enough- mostly skin and digestive issues. My emotional and physical red flags are my body’s way of tugging on my sleeve, asking me to please take a breath and listen to it so it needn’t resort to transforming into the Incredible Hulk. Which, if I ignore it long enough, it always does (See: Monster-in-a-Box).
Putting a stop to all the Doing is an act of significant courage and intention. In the absence of Doing, avoided, ignored, and neglected Parts of ourselves come galloping up to the surface like retrievers with bones, desperate to engage in raucous play. Since there is no one there to contend with them but ourselves, we alone must engage with these Parts, and take care of them. Depending on what they have to share, this can be a truly Hard thing.
And so sometimes instead, we run around. We buy stuff and rearrange it again and again, we purge stuff and acquire new stuff. Sometimes we work fourteen hours every day for a week. We don’t stop for illness, or the need for sleep. We are heralded for being hard workers and perfectionists, but the reality is often that the Doing of All of This is so much easier and less intimidating than getting in touch with what’s happening inside our hearts and our heads, and we welcome the distractions.
In my own Self-Work, I am doing my best to move towards a lifestyle that encourages intention and self-exploration, while being as gentle and kind to myself as possible. This of course involves embracing slowing down and going inward to see what’s happening in there; daily, if possible. Despite my best efforts, some days I get caught up in the Doing and just can’t make it happen. I repeat to myself that there is no failure in this: Doing is simply an expression of a (very stubborn) Part of myself, and that Part needs attention, too. And, each moment presents a new opportunity to slow down, to breathe, and to take the next step intentionally, with self-assuredness, with purpose, with love.