Being Rushed Is Just A Feeling

Ever wake up and feel from the moment consciousness seeps back into your brain in the morning, until the final moment that fleets through your thoughts at night, that life is just one big rush?

I used to find myself always jumping up to get things done out of some ingrained childhood habit of seeking approval. I don’t know what it is about me, but my time never feels like mine, even when as a professional I’m mostly in change of my diary. When a email pops into my box I rush to get things done, causing the conditions of those who like to delegate to come back to me next time they can’t be bothered to do something.

This habit, combined with a compulsive inability to say no and low self esteem, has caused me to rush through most my life; impulsively jumping all over the place in order to please. However I was not satisfied with just this level of neurosis. I spent a lot of my life also trying to be perfect at everything I do, due to a very strict and pushy father. If I wasn’t perfect at it and it wasn’t career worthy, it was a waste of time. I haven’t spoken to him since 2002, but still these tendencies are only starting to reveal how deep the root is.

This year I’ve been doing some ‘self retreat’ work during my sick time, holidays and with my meditation practise. Since then I’ve noticed how long it takes me to completely unwind from a day of work. Even at home if there are things to be done I’ll be rushing to get them sorted so I can sit in my chair in peace for the evening.

Sometimes when I change my routine because I go on holiday or go back to work, or I get a second wind after over doing it, it usually triggers mania so I can’t sleep and my mind is buzzing with loads of ideas. This phase is when I’m really prone to get myself entangled in all sorts of projects in order to create a sense of worth by my productivity, especially if it’s off my own steam. This just increases the rush as my mind charges about at a million miles per second. Then when I crash shortly afterwards and have to take a day off these ‘commitments’ are doomed to fail, leave in their wake a sense of worthlessness.

For so long I thought mania was just being normal, as it was the only time I seemd to get things done. When you look around sometimes at commuters in the streets you can see why. Everyone seems to be going at a supper fast pace. Personally I think this country expects too much from us, which is why I think the family unit is crumbling compared to the European continent as we have a poorer work-life balance.

So having noticed this tendacy to rush and how it sparks mood swings, it dawned on me (with thanks to some Dharma talks!) that being rushed is just a feeling. I don’t have to have my head at work the second I wake up. I’m not paid for that. I don’t have to reprimand myself for taking an extra minute over things because I needed to take a deep breath and tell myself to relax. It’s OK to look out for myself. This feeling is just a conditioned mess of neurons firing in my brain, nothing definitive about the nature of reality.

Obviously there are some things that are time dependant like catching the bus, but having given myself an extra five minutes in my morning routine simply dedicated for ‘not rushing’ it’s amazing how much better I feel in the long run. Sometimes I have a few minutes after I’m ready to just sit down and clear my mind. That never used to happen before. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a chronic insomniac and early mornings aren’t fun, but even I can manage to get up 5 minutes earlier for my mental health, in fact it’s 15 minutes if you include my mini meditation session.

However, like I’ve learned all my life, once you can see a negative thought or pattern you have to digg it up to get the root out. You may know intellectually there is no justification for something but emotionally it takes time for the heart to heal and let go of it’s habit to close down in the rush. But like a puppy that was ill treated it can be tamed and brought back to health, with time patience and love. No-body should be so important as to make you disregard your needs, not even your lover…and if I can figure that out then hopefully by writing this you can too 🙂

How we start the day drastically affects how the day goes. If we start nervous, impatient and frustrated then it’s no surprise this lingers and spoils the whole day like an infection. So take it easy, blow off some steam and like Bertrand Russell said: “Wasting time is not time wasted”, especially if it’s spent on yourself.

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

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