ZEN TIP TUESDAY #17
I’m so happy to welcome back to the blog my friend and former work colleague Monica Rottmann for ZTT #17. I interviewed Monica for the blog back in January 2015. You can read that interview HERE. Monica is the owner and Principal of Cultivate Calm Yoga studio at East Brisbane, but she goes by the title of ‘Chief Relaxation Officer’. You’ll soon understand why!
If there was ever anyone who truly understands why I left my last workplace, it is Monica. We not only worked for the same organisation but worked in the very same unit, side by side. I found her to be a very smart, clever, and inspiring person back when we worked together. I still find her inspiring, but even more so now. This is because of her courage to bravely live and be her true authentic self. This is not as easy to do as it sounds! I hope that like Monica, I can eventually reach a point where I feel that I’m doing the same.
Enjoy Monica’s post, and be sure to pop over to her website because as well as being able to check out all about her yoga studio, she has some great blog posts over there. Oh and do check out her Instagram & Facebook too. You’ll see that she thinks outside the box and her posts (and images/artwork used) are very thought-provoking! If you live nearby to East Brisbane and want to try yoga, you should so go check out her Cultivate Calm Yoga studio!
By the way, be sure you don’t miss the FREEBIE surprise that can be found in Monica’s Bio and guess what – the feature photo used today was taken by yours truly (yes me) a few years ago!
If you’re linking up with us for ZTT #015 – welcome and I look forward to reading your post!
When people ask me if I’ve been busy I reply with a big fat NO. And I receive a strange look like I’ve said something taboo or offensive.
This is because many people equate being busy with being productive. Or even worse, that being busy means we’re important.
So when I say I’m not busy people assume that I’m unproductive and unimportant, which explains their weird look.
Sure we all have busy days and have important obligations. I’m talking about being crazy busy or too busy to take time out for ourselves. Crazy busy is a symptom of something else, a mask for something deeper.
When we’re feeling anxious, uneasy, or not good enough, we seek a distraction. And being busy is a useful distraction for our uncomfortable feelings. The upside to constant busy-ness is that we don’t have to feel our feelings and we can go about our lives pretending everything is ok. We can also use our busy-ness to create an inflated sense of importance and success.
The downside to all this busy-ness is:
- Increased stress and anxiety
- We scatter our energy and achieve less
- We lack focus and are prone to more mistakes
- We’re distracted and not present with our loved ones
- We’re too busy to enjoy life
It can be confronting to remove the busy mask and see ourselves and the life we’ve created. When we’re no longer covering up our insecurities with busy-ness, we’re left with who we really are.
When I stopped hiding behind busy-ness I realised that I’d been living my life on autopilot, pursuing external success and validation while inside I felt numb, empty and that my life lacked meaning. Rather than filling that emptiness with distraction, I got really clear on what was truly important and how I wanted to live my life. When I became clear on what mattered to me, I started living on purpose, consciously choosing how to spend my time and energy and stopped living like a robot on autopilot.
Becoming unbusy was a process of stripping life back to its bare essentials.
“Essentialism involves doing less, but better, so you can make the highest possible contribution. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about challenging the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’. It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for us.” ~ Greg McKeown
Here’s how I became unbusy:
- Learn to say no
I’m a people pleaser and I used to worry about upsetting or disappointing people, which meant I said yes to things I didn’t want to do. Not only would I resent having to do that activity, I would waste my time and energy on something that didn’t matter to me. Now if it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no. And I don’t explain myself either as I have learned that no is a complete sentence.
- Learn to do nothing
I spend time each day doing nothing. Not reading, not playing on my phone, and not watching TV. Just being present with myself and checking in with how I’m feeling. I used to feel guilty about doing nothing. I thought it was a waste of time and found it hard to justify when I was busy. Now, doing nothing is a non-negotiable for me. It’s how I recharge my batteries and how I can be of service to my community.
- I focus on how I want to feel
We only ever want something because of how it makes us feel:
- The work promotion makes us feel valued and successful.
- The new car makes us feel independent and mobile and makes a statement
- The relationship makes us feel loved and supported.
- The new shoes/bag/outfit makes us feel confident or stylish.
Attaining these ‘things’ are just a means to an end. When I shifted my focus from getting things to the resultant feeling, I was able to define success on my own terms rather than what other’s think of me.
Feeling calm and relaxed are important to me. Feeling independent and having freedom over my time are things I value. Feeling like I make a difference is what drives me. I spend my time and energy on activities that foster these feelings.
There is an alternative to anxious lifestyle and it starts with a choice to say no to busy-ness. Saying no, doing less and focusing on what really matters in life has actually helped me achieve more and live a life on purpose.
Monica is the Chief Relaxation Officer at Cultivate Calm Yoga in East Brisbane. She teaches busy, stressed and anxious people how to relax their body and calm their mind. As a former busy addict and stress merchant, Monica has proven and practical techniques to cultivate calm.
Listen to Monica’s FREE RELAXATION AUDIO
ZTT LINK-UP #015