Guest post by Stella Tomlinson, Living Yoga with Stella, Dru Yoga and Meditation Teacher and writer

Life in the slow lane:

Why I’m standing up for slowness!

“Oh she’s got so much energy!” “Ooh I don’t know how she does it all!” “Gosh, I wish I had her energy!”

How many times have you said that or heard that and felt a pang of envy or a kick of inadequacy in comparison?

I know I have.

Some people seem to pack their lives full of activities and achievements. They have a hundred plates spinning at any given time. They are popular and always smiling. Their home is immaculate.

“Oh crap, I wish I was like that… Why do I feel like I need a nap some afternoons? Am I wasting time watching the birds or pootling in the garden or curling up to read?”

It’s all too easy to let that thought into your mind and it festers and you get stuck in comparisonitis.

I’ve been there – can easily still go there.

But then I take a moment to reflect.

Why do we glorify being busy?

Why is appearing to have so much energy and be doing all the things something we envy?

I have a different perspective on this I’d like to share…

We live in a culture addicted to busy. We have career ladders to climb. Bigger houses to buy. Lots of Joneses to be kept up with.

Governments and the media are obsessed with (unsustainable) economic growth (hey, the planet’s not getting any bigger, haven’t they noticed?!).

Success is measured by achievement, attainment and buying more, more, more … all, ultimately for the sake of fuelling the lavish lifestyles of the already rich.

And on an individual level, many of us know deep down this is an empty and unsustainable way to live. So we numb ourselves out playing along with the prevalent culture.

Keep yourself busy … keep a lid on those uncomfortable feelings!

So, that person who seems to have so much energy? Yes, maybe she’s an extrovert who loves being around people and maybe she loves to feel she’s developing and achieving and growing and gets a lot of self-esteem from that.

Or maybe she’s internalised our culture’s addiction to busy and feels she’s failing unless she’s constantly doing and achieving; maybe she’s keeping herself so busy so as not to address worries in her life and/or its numbing out uncomfortable feelings; maybe she’s on her way to burn-out.

The reality is probably a murky mix of all of the above – with a few more issues thrown in for good measure. Human beings eh?! We’re a complicated lot…

I’m not saying having lots of energy and making the most of life is a bad thing.

Not at all.

Enjoy life. Live life.

But if you find yourself addicted to being busy or envying others their jam-packed life, then I invite you to honestly ask yourself why?

Does this busy-ness truly delight you? Or is it a habit? Or is it something you think you should do?

And I also invite us all to acknowledge that human beings need rest.

We need down-time. Our body and mind needs to rest and restore.

{Admittedly perhaps some of us need more time than others for this – I know I need PLENTY otherwise I end up a confusing combination of totally wired and bone-tired #hsp}

We need time to ourselves and time to connect meaningfully with others.

But there’s nothing wrong with that.

There’s nothing wrong with taking your time. Focusing on one thing at a time.

Doing what brings you joy rather than what brings you kudos.

Filling up your well rather than draining it dry.

Taking time to savour the small pleasure in life rather than missing life as it whizzes past in a blur.

Play, have fun. Watch and listen.

Trouble is the slow and simple life is out of kilter with our materialistic, economic growth-obsessed, planet-trashing culture so we’re made to feel we’re not contributing enough.

Well, I for one see that for what is. Junk values. Making money for the already rich.

I’m happy to swim against that tide thank you.

So I choose no longer to play that game of envying people who appear to be full of energy and achieving loads – and are probably stuck in the prevailing consumerist culture.

I’m quite content to take the slow road.

To enjoy life my way.

To watch and listen and reflect and learn.

And then to share and connect with others from meaningful depth of experience.

We only have one life in this body at this time.

Please don’t waste it being constantly busy.

(Guest post written by Stella Tomlinson, Living Yoga with Stella,  Dru Yoga and Meditation Teacher and writer)


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