Do you ever get the feeling that you are pushing a stone uphill? Against a herd of bison coming toward you? With your feet tied together? There are times in life when we seem to push and push and push, and yet nothing happens, nothing changes. Apart from our energy level, which visits the basement! And what do you do in response to the ‘nothing happening’?
Push harder? And keep pushing? Yes! Because if you want things to happen, you’ve go to put the hard work in, right? If we let ourselves off the hook for just a second, we will become lazy, idle, unproductive members of society. And this is a bad thing. What would you think if I told you that was absolute tosh? Would you think ‘yes, I know but I still keep pushing myself’?
There is a body of thought which says that when we stop pushing and start allowing things to happen naturally, organically, they happen faster than if we ‘push, push, push’. Not only is the happening faster, it is easier on us – there is a flow, a rhythm, an ease that is joyful. A surprising number of people know this, agree with it and ignore it! Me included on occasion! Just this week I was trying to push myself to do some work.
I was tired, couldn’t concentrate, wasn’t interested, kept being distracted, didn’t want to do it…and it still took me an hour to read the signs and move onto something else! Der. I had become very attached to doing this work – my success or failure had become tied into ‘getting this done’ (a ‘push’ attitude if ever I saw one!). As soon as I let go of pushing myself to ‘get shit done’, I actually managed to do something useful instead of being the living incarnation of resistance to pushing!
This does not mean forgetting altogether about what you want and giving up. It means stopping pushing and trying to force things to happen. It means stepping back from your challenge for a moment and finding out WHY it is so hard to do – it could be many things – there might be a better way, you might need some self care first, there might be something more important to do, you may have something to learn, something you need, something else that has to happen first. If you don’t stop pushing, you will never know if it could be easier to do what you want to do.
And if you collapse in an exhausted heap and the stone you’ve been pushing uphill runs over you, how does that get you closer to what you want? So, if you could stop pushing for a moment, enjoy your life and allow something to evolve naturally, what would change for you today?
Remember this poem from ‘Dead Poet’s Society’?
“Laughing, crying, tumbling, mumbling,
Gotta do more, gotta be more.
Chaos screaming, chaos dreaming,
Gotta be more, gotta do more.”
I was listening to something today that made me realise how much I have been trying to push myself to ‘more’ – more work, more hours, more focus, more concentration, more boundaries, getting more done, more, more, more. Sheesh. The irony is that when I am pushed, I push back! It never helps me to move forward when I am being pushed…I just go mule-like and stubborn. A waste of time and energy, and I forget that I am actually utterly fabulous just as I am, just with what I have done.
Where are you saying to yourself ‘gotta do more, gotta be more’? Is it helping you to grow, expand and enjoy your life? Or is it actually shutting you down? What if you could say instead ‘I don’t have to do anything, and I already am everything I need to be’? What if you could give yourself permission to be enough right here right now? This doesn’t mean you will stop and not do anything…but you will be able to relax and enjoy your life more in this moment. Ease the pressure on yourself just a bit, and trust that you are enough just as you are.
So this week I’ve been a little lacking in enthusiasm for the idea of doing work-type things. Talking to clients is no problem, clearing e-mails goes ok, then I get to the marketing/admin/taxes bit and I’m looking for distractions – twitter, facebook, damson picking, dog-walking, tidying up, even going for a beer with my dad on his day off! I thought it was because I was tired the last couple of days so I didn’t really stress about it. But I’m not tired today…and I’m still not that enthused! Hmm.
Now our usual response to this is to just push ourselves to carry on and ‘do’ something, anything, busy-work. I am in the lucky position of working for myself so I don’t have to ‘push’…and I notice that if I do, I still don’t get anything done anyway!! At least nothing usable! I write stuff that’s rubbish and doesn’t get used, it takes 12 times as long to complete any task, and it’s accompanied by lots of aggravated sighing! Lol.
Pointless, I think you will agree. So I’ve just been thinking ‘what would be a better plan?’ Because that’s just a waste of time. Especially as when I am enthused I can get 5 times more done in less time. So I asked myself what would I like to do right now. And it’s not sit at my desk (funnily enough!). See I think, rather than ‘push’ myself, if I can bring myself into enthusiasm by doing something I actually want to do, I’ll get more done.
It will also be more enjoyable. I know that some of us don’t have the luxury of doing whatever we want whenever we want (and if I could, I’d be on a beach in the caribbean!), but we can look at our reluctance to ‘do’ with less judgemental eyes, and just see if there’s a better way. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my tax paperwork, my Bob Marley CD and myself outside in the sunshine!