We live in a world where ‘doing’ is encouraged and even applauded both in the literal and figurative sense. To not be doing is somehow frowned upon and unacceptable. Through societal and familial constructs we then find this unacceptable to ourselves. Ever felt the feeling of not having something planned for the weekend and the fear of being asked what you have planned and if you are asked, the terrible and shameful feeling that ensues of somehow not being good enough and the associated negative thoughts about yourself. That’s just one example.
I’m here to say that it’s ok to not be doing and sometimes it’s absolutely necessary and sometimes stopping is all that we are capable of. So, give yourself permission to stop as it is unlikely that anyone will ever give that to you (except me right at this moment).
I think that many times we do all that we do, not for ourselves or because it’s what we want but because it is what we should be doing or what we are supposed to do or want. It’s been constructed by society. You’re supposed to get married, have children, be successful in your chosen field (any field actually even if it’s not what you want), buy a house (or multiple), cars, look a million bucks, keep up with the Jones’s (how happy are the Jones’s really) and travel the world, just to name a few things. It’s exhausting isn’t it and it’s never enough.
And, if that weren’t enough, we are encouraged to “take it to the next level” and be the “best version of yourself you can be”. This is suggesting of course that who or where you are currently is not good enough. It’s all fear based. That’s how people sell.
I’m not saying that any of these things are bad as long as you do not fall into the trap of believing that this is where happiness, fulfillment or satisfaction lies. It doesn’t – not in things, other people, how you are perceived, status, not in anything outside of yourself.
We have all experienced the thrill of acuiring something whether it’s a new job, car, house, or starting a relationship and yes, for a time, we feel good, but then we don’t. It’s short lived, and that’s because, nothing external to ourselves will ultimately give us what we’re looking for.
And, as far as “who you are” is concerned, at your core, beyond the conditioning and expectations of others (and yourself at this point), both at the societal and familial level, there is nothing to fix. How liberating! Yes?
So, how do you stop ‘doing’?
During my darkest times or when I have felt a sense of meaninglessness and despair, I have had to stop. Perhaps it was that there was nothing left in me that this was even possible. I literally couldn’t do it anymore. Everything converged and I couldn’t emotionally or physically do any more. I had fallen off the hamster wheel and I could neither get back on nor did I want to.
So, sometimes you are literally forced to stop (particularly if you push and push and don’t heed what your body or deeper consciousness is telling you), but you can also choose to stop if there is enough awareness in you. I am forever grateful to the person who said to me “Martine, just stop – there’s nothing to fix”.
I finally surrendered.
So, how do you stop doing and how do you do it without fear that if you drop the ball it will all come crashing down (if it hasn’t already).
Here, you will find peace, clarity, right word and right action (when you are ready). In that place (and space), you will know you are complete. You will feel joy, be fulfilled and know that you are ok with or without the acquisition of things, status, achievement and whether or not certain people are in or not in your life.
The paradox is that when you are in this place, more is likely to come to you (and you can accept it gratefully and gracefully), but you know that your wellbeing is not dependent on it, not on anything outside of you.
Read my articles What is the Power of Awareness – Waking to a Life unimagined! and What is presence? And what is the power of presence? to find out how to access your essence, who you truly are and start to live with ease now.
Simple techniques when you decide to stop
Some simple techniques I used when I could do nothing more was to:
1. Write every day (in the morning) how I wanted to feel with no overthinking or editing. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or forced. Just go with the flow and write as much as you can if you wish to.
3. Ask yourself “What can I appreciate in this moment?” e.g. the breeze on my skin. Find 3 (and keep going if you can). This is an exercise in gratitude really.
4. Meditate. Even a few minutes a day or a few conscious breaths is of benefit. Again, no force.
You may increase your doing if you want to, but trust what’s going on inside (not your mind telling you what you should be doing).
Keep it simple and without any force. Trust that you will be once again energised and will wish to ‘do’ again but hopefully this time from a place of consciousness and awareness.
Even if you can’t stop completely or don’t yet trust the process, increasing your awareness of what’s really going on i.e. the constant chase for something/anything that will finally make you feel ok is gold. If nothing else, just be mindful. More on mindfulness here.
A note here, that if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed and at risk, seek the services of a medical professional.
I hope you “give yourself permission to stop”.
Go forth with ease and just be!
Your Pure Potential