Possibility arises in the moments between busy and doing. You need space in order to have new growth.
It goes without saying that this is an interesting time in the world. Some people are working harder than ever, others are on pause, others are in limbo, and others are sick and managing poverty. There are so many extremes.
There are even extremes in our own minds.
Too much time, too little time.
Being too busy, to being flat out bored.
What inspired me to write this article on this topic was my own personal musings this week about the thin line between being bored which can lead to being overly lazy, and leaving time for Being in order to regenerate and enjoy life. How do we know when resting has become a form of avoidance or resistance to something more generative and fulfilling? What constitutes true laziness versus genuine refill time.
Is it lazy to take time to chill and watch movies?
I personally consider it a generative use of my time to unwind and be told stories.
Mind you, I am quite selective of the shows I watch and love quality acting and stories. But still, there’s nothing inherently wrong with mindless TV sometimes. It gives your over worked noggin a well needed rest. People call these type of activities “guilty pleasures” because we don’t value the balance of being off, in order to be “on.”
To some, this lack of “being productive” is unthinkable. Productive = worth to many people.
However, there is always a balance.
For others, they might find themselves being too lackadaisical and convincing themselves that’s ok. When deep down they feel like they are missing out somehow. There is an uncomfortable ache underneath the distractions trying to speak up, trying to get us to listen, but it scares us so we just keep pressing play on the next thing, or sleeping more, or playing another game. There is a difference between boredom and numbing out in order to avoid something.
The bottomline is learning to trust our own rhythm more, and discern what we truly need, and when, and how to enjoy our lives in our own individual way.
Here’s my advice about balancing Being with Boredom. How to know which is which, and when to do what…and when not to do.
What is being?
Being is the ability to have your thoughts exist where you are, in your body, at that moment, in that space, with whomever is there. It is not a focus necessarily, but a state. We eventually don’t have to try, it is an experience that involves minimal force or intention in order to allow for the moment to arise as is.
Letting your thoughts bop all over the place, past, future, over here, over there is what most people think is normal thinking. It’s normal because it’s what people have been taught, or more accurately not taught, how the mind works and therefore how life is. But the truth is you think your thoughts. When your thoughts think you, then you are susceptible to worry, overthinking, fear, powerlessness, confusion, and lack of authenticity.
Being truly being in the moment means all of you is there. Don’t be hard yourself, few people achieve this in modern life. I work on it daily, actually hourly, perhaps even minute by minute. But, the results are 100 % worth it.
For so many people, these moments of Being are flashes and are rarely something they can repeat on demand. Meditation of course is the practice of cultivating more being. The goal of being, is to be fully present WHILE you are doing, while you are in a conversation, while you are living your life.
I did a talk at an entrepreneurial event in Toronto and a man came up to me after and asked, “How can I enjoy presence like Eckhart Tolle explains in his book, ‘The Power of Now’ and still be successful? I’m afraid I will be lazy and not get anything done.”
That’s a really common concern! The fear is: “If I let myself have presence, I will just lounge around all day and never get anything done.”
But, it is not our nature to do that. A cheetah naps, and is still a friggin cheetah! When it’s time to go, instincts arise and off it goes. We become inspired from within to create something. Just like kids run around for no apparent reason than because it’s fun, and puppies chase after balls. We are no different, except we’ve stopped trusting our nature.
So, How can you stop doing and begin Being more without degrading into slovenliness and procrastination? How can you begin to trust your nature again, and act from being inspired within yourself?
Sometimes boredom is the perfect entryway into being.
You hang around on a Sunday, meander your way through some chores, follow your flow, and dance with the day. I call it my dawdle time. I don’t have set plans, but am open for the plans that come my way and feel into them and chose with a mindset of freedom. This type of being in action can be amazingly beneficial to every area of your life.
Do you have to be alone to BE?
You don’t have to be alone to BE. Experiencing being is a state that is internal that can be accomplished around others. But, most often other people do not know how to “BE” together. They tend to require a lot of attention, and therefore your energy goes outwards rather than within where you can achieve a sense of uninterrupted flow.
Either way-alone or together-space in your day that is unplanned and allows for the unknown is healthy boredom. If your mind gets into a rut that “it’s bored” in a complaining tone, that is just your untrained brain robbing you of Being time. Being time is the space where new things can arise. If you are always doing what you’ve always done, with no space for anything else, how do you expect new things to come into your life?
Let go a bit, and leave space for space.
Watch out- Boredom can also be the beginning of a Procrastination-a-thon.
Sometimes we don’t tune in, and the day can be “wasted” by checking out and mundanely doing something just because we are stuck in a loop. That is not being. That is a state of resistance. Resistance has been discussed mostly in the area of entrepreneurial training and the creative process, but it applies directly to any human being’s experience of life. We are all creative beings creating our experience of our lives. From time to time, we get scared, we procrastinate, we get genuinely lazy and we waste time. The good news is, we can begin to notice we are in this cycle quicker and quicker and switch back to being and being conscious. There’s nothing wrong with being human and falling off the wagon into distraction, as long as we know we have the power to get out of the rut, which we always do. Both motivation and procrastination grow the more we chose one or the other.
“Resistance by definition is self-sabotage.”
― Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”
Eckhart Tolle’s advice about managing our thoughts about laziness.
In his popular book, ”The Power of Now”, he says that either you should stop procrastinating immediately and go do your task, or you should completely accept whatever you feel at the moment, in this instance your feeling of laziness. Avoid internal battles and should within yourself as to what you’re supposed to do. Be with your feeling of laziness completely, don’t try to fight it.
Boredom can also be a sign to listen for next steps, evolution, and inspired action.
This brings me to my own recent revelations about boredom and being.
I have a truly amazing life that I’ve created. I own my house, my car, I live near a lake immersed in trees, I have a job with the freedom I need to practice self-care and authentic living. I express my gifts and invest in trainings that inspires me with mentors I admire. My clients are rock stars that are committed to their own greatest becoming and are doing the work, and receiving the guidance they need to get there.
A gnawing, nagging dissatisfaction has begun to emerge, infecting my perfect, comfy, blessed life.
Ugh- Here we go again, time to push myself beyond the known, evolve, and surrender to my soul’s messages for me to listen without attachment. This might mean doing things and not knowing where it will lead me. Total trust and faith.
Yay- Time for new things, possibility, expansion, and growth. The good news here is I’ve been through these growth phases before.
1. When I left the personal training industry I literally got sick and could not be in gyms with all the noise and lights and would get headaches if I stayed too long. So, I listened to the “messages” of my body, how I felt and I left.
This opened up space for me to meet my Coach mentor and take the training, but I did not know that at the time.
2. Then, I felt this way again when I got the inner insight I needed to leave Toronto. Again, physically, I couldn’t stand the city smell. The smallest things would make me tired, and I found myself being irritable and impatient (more than usual ;).
This was life talking to me again. I gave notice to my land-ladies, looked for a house, found a 2 bedroom cottage with my Mom’s help, and put down the down payment.
That move created more space again for me to be in nature and gain even more of a foundation to build a successful business and become more ME in the process.
3. Now, I have an amazing business, and I am starting to feel tired for no reason, or bored or unfulfilled.
It is time for possibility to have more space in my life. It is time for more Being, so I can tune into my next steps.
I don’t know exactly what is ahead, I just know change is giving me a nudge, a preview, that I need to pay attention and be open.
I’ll keep ya posted on what arises from this space, and what comes from hanging out in the unknown consciously and without resistance to the best of my ability.
I am embracing all of the emotions and experiences of this journey into the unknown, that people all over the world are also feeling, and I am not making them wrong. Instead I am curious, open, unattached, trusting, and tuned in.
Do Not Compare!
Nature is my teacher. And nature has lots of microcosms under the umbrella of Nature. They are also called ecosystems. Trees, animals, streams, rocks, insects, microbes…they all have their own rhythm and intelligence.
We need to learn to find our own rhythm in order to discover the best ways to regenerate or create. We need to find the ecosystem that works best for us.
Release the Need to Know How
Let go of control and needing to know how everything will turn out. Do what you can, where you are, right now. Be here. Do what’s here.
That includes being and enjoying alongside responsibilities and scheduled plans.
One of my favourite mindset shifts is, “ I don’t know how….yet.”
“Resisting your reality is a futile use of your precious energy.”
I have another article on when to generate and when to incubate if you want to hear more about this topic: https://jennasmithcoaching.com/incubation-and-generation/