How to Create Space When You’re Always in a Rush

(The following is excerpted from an article on zenhabits.net. Article by Zen Habits contributorJonathan Mead; follow him ontwitter.)

There’s always something to be done, always that “thing” in the back of your head that you forgot about that needs to be taken care of. There’s always something else that needs to be finished, andthen you can feel happy. (Or so you think.) But then you remember another task, and the cycle repeats.
Of course, there’s only one problem… Nothing is ever complete. Not for long, at least.
So if that time and place is impossible to reach, we have to stop caring about unimportant things.
The constant desire to want to be done, then be happy, creates the background feeling of anxiety. If you’ve ever found yourself doing the dishes as fast as possible, when you have no reason to be in a hurry (like I have), you know what I mean.
If we’re ever to get at that feeling of peace — being OK with taking things slowly — we need to start enjoying our lives. We need to start being instead of just doing.
Here are a few of my (humble) suggestions on how to create more space in your life:

  • Realize that not having everything done is a good thing. “Blasphemy!” you say. I know, I know. This sounds awfully backwards, but it’s true. Having things in your inbox means thatyour time is in demand. And that’s a good thing.
  • You don’t need a two week vacation to create space. When you pull up in your driveway after work, take a minute or two to just relax and breathe. Turn off the radio, and just sit in silence for a moment. Enjoy the space. Two minutes is all you need. Now don’t tell me you don’t have time.
  • Look for the gaps. Between your thoughts, there lives little gaps. They may not be huge, but they’re there. Start paying attention to those gaps. Allow them to grow by just letting go of thinking all the time. You might think that you need to think about things in order to work or to live. But the opposite is usually true. Most of the time, thinking is completely unnecessary.Most of the time, you’re just thinking about the same things over and over. That’s called a pattern. Or brooding, whatever label you prefer.
  • Listen, feel, engage… be there. The reason we’re usually in such a hurry is due to a mind-created obsession with finishing things. So the way out of that is to be where you are. Listen to the ambient sounds you hear, feel your feet on the ground when you walk, feel your hands running through the water while you wash the dishes.
  • Let go of the need to become. Sure, there will always be things you want to change about your life. There will always be goals, dreams, desires and all manner of wonderful experiences to seek out. Great, seek them. Desire them. But don’t sacrifice the present. Don’t sacrifice the place you’re in right now. There’s too much beauty.

Comments (1)

REALLY excellent advice, Suzi. Worth reading twice to be more “present” the 2nd time through 😉
Good stuff!

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