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Mind Your Own Busyness

· Mindfulness,Healing nature,Transformation,The Hero's Journey,Writing our lives

“There’s always a sunrise and always a sunset and it’s up to you to choose to be there for it,’ said my mother. 'Put yourself in the way of beauty.” Cheryl Strayed.

Asking people ‘how are you’, I have noticed an increasing trend for the answer to be “I’m just so busy”, mostly said with a slightly tired, resigned or overwhelmed tone. This week, my Mum shared with me a round robin Christmas note where everyone mentioned in it was extremely busy, wearing it like a badge of honour, and received an email with the strapline at the end “written in haste”. Modern life is busy, there are just so many calls on our time, especially if we have families to look after and particularly at this time of year but, I am beginning to wonder what all this busyness is for. Hard work yes, I’m in favour of that. Being so busy we miss life going on around us or do not have time to connect properly to each other, ourselves and the world around us is more troubling. It is not just us, but our children’s lives too. Without awareness, they can easily become crowded with activities with no time for just being, playing and discovering who they are, resulting in stress and tiredness - just like in ourselves. I am well aware that I do not want to pass on the disease of busyness to my children. We are human beings not doings, so some kind of balance or flow in our lives is not just appealing but deeply necessary. But how?

It is an easy trap to fall into that we think cannot do anything about it, that this is just what living in the modern world brings. I am learning that we are, or can be, the creators of our own lives and that although we cannot change what life brings us we can always choose our response. Somehow, I was able to transform my response to my chronic illness, from extreme resistance and a ‘why is this happening to me, it’s not fair’ attitude to one of active acceptance, that brought with it a calmness and a feeling that although I would not choose this, I do choose this. I’ll own it and see what lessons it has for me, I am and will be responsible for myself. As it turned out, there were many lessons, and I am still living this story. We can write our lives: the same creativity that I talked about on the blog two weeks ago (http://www.iwishyouwell.org/blog/creating-space) can be used in any given situation in our lives to construct something better and more attuned with our values. For me, it also requires giving myself permission to do something different to a perceived norm and swimming upstream. Who knows what beauty is to be found upstream in the hills and mountains?

I heard an engaging and inspiring interview recently with Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat Prey Love fame) talking about Joseph Campbell and ‘The Hero’s Journey’. She said that no wonder women, particularly, struggle with giving ourselves permission to go on The Hero’s Journey and writing our own story, as where are all the role models? There are thousands of years of male heroes to emulate. Where are the female heroes? We are the first generation of women allowed to write our own stories rather than living in a story written by someone else; doing what everyone expects you to do; or what women before you did. We do have the power to create our dreams if we allow ourselves to be brave enough.

So as life inevitably gets busier in the run up to Christmas, I am being mindful and reminding myself to take the time to be and to incubate my dreams. It is the perfect time of year in the northern hemisphere, to be there for the sunsets and sunrises; gaze at the beautiful moon through the bare winter trees; and wonder at the sparkling stars in the clear, cold nights.

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.” Omid Safi.

I took this photo on Sunday of beautiful Slapton Ley and wanted to share it with you. Clare x

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