I admit it. I’m totally THAT person sometimes. You know the one: the person who’s sitting in front of the computer, eating something, watching something else, toggling through web pages researching something else, and, oh – maybe even talking on the phone with someone about something else.
Sometimes I name this state of multitasking “being busy”, “productive” or “getting things done.” When I’m in this mode (which, unfortunately, is more often than I’d wish) and my husband asks, “How was your day?”, I hear myself list off ALL THE THINGS I got done, as if it’s a badge of honor I wear, and the longer the list, the bigger the badge.
When I’m getting things done, crossing things off my to-do list, going a million miles an hour and BEING REALLY PRODUCTIVE, I feel, well, worthwhile and valuable, like I’m making some sort of worthy contribution to the world (and, as any self-employed individual knows, there are MANY, MANY moments of self-employdom where you’re not sure if what you’re doing is making any iota of difference in the world at all – in fact, many days you’re actually pretty convinced that it’s not. You regularly face the fear that your business is just some delusional fantasy of one, and that the rest of the human race is DOING REALLY GREAT STUFF and MAKING A DIFFERENCE. But I digress).
A greater part of me knows that my productivity is not what makes me valuable. I’m valuable, well, because I just am. Because we all just are. We are all inherently valuable, worthwhile beings.
So as I was vacuuming today (vacuuming is when some of my BEST ideas come), I had an awareness: What if, just what if, my REAL work is to slow down more… to slow down so much, in fact, that it might even appear to the world as if I’m not moving, or not being productive (gasp!). And then I thought about how easy it is to NOT slow down, to just keep going BECAUSE THAT’S JUST WHAT YOU DO. However, when I keep pushing forward and try to keep up (with who? with what?), those still, small voices and wise intuitions just fade into the background, like small seeds waiting for the right conditions to sprout.
And what if I NEVER slowed down enough to really hear what those seeds were? What if I went my whole entire life just PUSHING ONWARD, never slowing down enough to really LISTEN? It might just be that a gift – my gift, my contribution – to the world could be lost forever, in the mix of some unimportant multitasking.
I then wondered, if instead of trying to MAKE STUFF HAPPEN all the time (which, as a small business owner, feels like one-half of the equation most days), what if my REAL, honest-to-god work right now is to get even quieter inside, to slow down even more, so that the truth of my work – the truth of me – can emerge.
It occurs to me that the harder path (for me, many times, anyway) is often the slower path.
Yet it’s the slow path which, in many ways, is the path of the soul, and is the most rewarding journey in the long run.