Thursday 20 March 2008

Busy Bee Going Nowhere

Have been going a bit crazy over the last few days due to low-lying anxiety. Only realised last night when I stopped to think what was making me so jittery. I realised I have been fretting too much about what to do next. Hurrying to get to work early so I can get more done, hurrying to get my work done so that I can write, rushing home at the first chance to get things done there, rushing through my prayers and fretting about how long till the next one. Trying to spend more time with the children “doing” reading, Arabic, numbers rather than just “being” with them and playing and still fretting that I am not doing enough with them and time is flying by. Fretting that I could be doing other things, but not having the time – learning to sew, learning to draw, cards and jewellery to make, wanting to write. I started a novel last year and then just stopped when I began to doubt myself and lost courage. Encouragement from Kooky Little Sis and others is making me want to return to it, but I am fretting that I don’t have the time. What a ridiculous state of affairs.

I just stopped last night and realised that I was feeling very anxious and couldn’t sit still and that it was causing a kind of permanent background headache. Being the queen of the navel-gazers I had to ask why and I realised that I am trying to do everything without paying attention to anything because I am already thinking about something else.

Something that has really woken me up to this kind of thinking is Ingrid Bacci’s book: The Art of Effortless Living in which she says:

Like compulsive eating, hurry sickness and compulsive effort don’t resolve the underlying feelings that motivate them either. We keep on hurrying or doing because of inner anxiety, but our activity only dissipates the anxiety temporarily. And over the long term it actually aggravates that anxiety. Like other addicts, we need to acknowledge the reality of our pain and fear an allow ourselves to feel them. We also need to own out responsibility for our fear and pain, and instead of reacting to them, learn how to transform them.

Another thing that has on occasion helped me immensely is David Allen’s concept of a “Psychic RAM Dump” which is basically taking pen and paper and writing down every single thing in your head: the mundane, the pointless, the important, things to do, things that are bothering you, until you have a completely clear mind. Then you diarise what needs to be done, deal with what is bothering you and discard the rest. I think I am due a “brain dump” tonight – that should leave me in a better state to enjoy the Easter weekend coming up.

The situation also made me think about what mode of thinking I have as my default thinking as it were. I believe that everything is in the hands of Allah, he takes care of us and sustains us, yet when I am not consciously holding this thought in my mind I go straight to the default mode of “I have to do this, I have to get this done, I have to sort this out”. Is there any way of changing this default setting I wonder?

So this Easter bank-holiday weekend I have promised myself I will drop everything and focus on playing with the kids, giggling with the better half and doing nothing at my mums (except eat her scrummy food).

"... without doubt in the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah do hearts find tranquility"
(Quran 13:28).

This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy. - Kerry Gleeson

1 comment:

  1. Mashallah sister for such terrific adivce. People spend years searching for this kind of quality of advice..hint hint!!! Jazakallah for being such a wonderul sister and sharing your knowledge especially as I'm lazy to find it myself.