Lani: Busy

pinkieWow, life has suddenly gotten insane. Book due, lots of clients (which is nice), we have our apartment lined up in Syracuse, moving in May, kids finishing off the school year, and it’s a snow day.Β Whew!

I always admire those people who are completely in the moment. They never get flustered, never run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Just… zen. I’ve tried meditation, yoga, mindfulness, the power of now. All stuff that sounds great, but I think I’ve come to a realization that it’s just not me.

I like being busy. I like the rush. I like the sense of accomplishment. Of course, I also get exhausted, worn down, and burnt out, which isn’t so great. Then I need a week on the couch to recover. But sometimes I wonder if there isn’t some kind of balance between the zen and the rush that can accommodate both ideals, because no matter how I try, I’m never going to be that zen girl. I’m always going to be high energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and I think one of the big realizations I’ve come to lately has been that I need to accept who I am and work with that instead of against it.

So, how do you balance the Pinkie Pie part with the part that needs to say, “Om,” once in a while?


26 thoughts on “Lani: Busy

  1. The ommm just happens when I get lost in something I’m reading. it’s the only time I unplug. Otherwise I am the push. I am the drive and enthusiasm and power for twenty-one students plus a husband and a toddler and an ailing mother. I’m not pressured to be that. I just AM that. I own it.

    I’m not having to let go of some zen image, it’s the organized image that i yearn for but can’t manage. I’m not tidy. I’m not orderly. I try sometimes but it’s like asking me to speak in Russian all the time when I only know how to say hello and my name is. It isn’t me. I’m a force of chaos. Chaotic good, I suppose. But still chaos. Power always is. πŸ™‚

  2. Lol, Diva, you sound like me. Order crumbles around me. That’s the nature of the universe I’m afraid. It takes a lot of effort to hold chaos back.

    I have my own balance. It probably doesn’t look like balance to anyone else in the world. Come to think of it, it’s not working for me at the moment. The minute I decide to get a book out by a certain date, I stop writing. WTF is that?

    Glad to hear the NY is coming together for you, Lani. That’s an exciting move.

  3. Susanne says:

    My Mom has this saying, it’s translated so it’s kinda rough, but it’s basically, “When the bear gets bored, he goes skating on thin ice.”

    Some of us love thin ice. Not me. I used to love the exhilaration of getting things done last minute, but not now, and I often feeling snarky at work because I can’t control everything (luckily for me I can hide it).

    For a while I lived by SEP’s “Embrace the Chaos” and I use that when I’m too anal. I look at people who live like Lani just described and I’m a little envious. There’s something so dramatic and alive with that lifestyle. Luckily there’s room for us all in this world.

    My ommm is reading, but when I’m really needing a break, I watch a TV show on the computer. It’s totally my time.

    Just looked out the window and see snowflakes. Will it never end????

  4. Lani, I’d think that high energy, all the time, isn’t sustainable. It is a matter of using the high energy and then filling yourself up with your own kind of quiet.

    Back when you were doing Fat Tuesday, Couch to 5k sounded like that time. But if you were doing it while being sleep deprived or not using it as “time out” then that’s where you lose the balance.

    Quiet time for me is sometimes zen/instrumental music. Sometimes it is 1 minute in the morning after I scatter birdseed and watch birds feeding.

    Kate, sounds like you don’t like anyone telling you what to do, even if it’s you. πŸ˜‰

    Diva, You’ll find the balance. Something will make you, especially if it is what you want.

  5. Sounds like good busy! (And yes, there is a difference. Good busy is working on things you are excited about and like. Bad busy is trying to deal with three broken appliances and replace a flooded kitchen floor in the midst of a horrid cold. You know, just as a random example. πŸ™‚ )

    Are the girls going to be able to finish the school year in Ohio? Are they excited about moving back to NY?

    I know NY is excited to have you back!

    Balance is one of those things I struggle with all the time, frankly. I keep saying I am going to get back to exercise and meditation, which help me with that, but so far, I’m just too busy writing. But I’m also constantly tired, more than I have been in years, so the balance thing is going to have to happen.

    I think part of me is afraid that if I stop pushing forward, even for a moment, I’ll lose my momentum and never get anything done again. I have to keep reminding myself that most things will wait, at least long enough for me to do what’s needed to stay healthy and sane.

    Anyone here remember how to do sane?

  6. Kieran says:

    Take mini-moments every day. For me, it’s tea breaks. I stop everything. I fill the tea kettle, turn it on, go back to crazy, come back when it’s whistling, steep it for 5 minutes, and drink the tea. At least six times a day.

    Also for someone high energy like Lani–and I’m that way, too–I recommend lots of baroque music. That sounds kind of dumb. But baroque music soothes the brain while at the same time stimulating all the smart parts of it. So it’s the perfect balance between zen and crazy. Baroque full blast throughout your house. Then when the hyper part of you needs release, change to to Pandora’s Current Hits–Rihanna or something to dance crazily to. That gets rid of a lot of adrenaline. But the other part about the dancing is that fabulous dance music also gives me huge jolts of adrenaline.

    That’s why baroque is good. It’s involving. But it soothes, too. Opera is good, too.

  7. Maine Betty says:

    It ocurrs to me that a problem with being the one who runs everything, and runs it from chaos, is that no one else can contribute, because they can’t catch up. So you remain the center of the storm and get exhausted and burned out because no one knows where you’ll be next. Since I’m single and childless, whether I’m chaotic or ordered, it’s all on me. When I try to help out my mom, a non-linear queen, I turn off after a while, because I don’t want to spend so much time anticipating what might be needed next. If we had the bigger picture, we could be a team.

  8. Lois says:

    I used to run full speed. Often in several directions at once.
    Now after years of caregiving I don’t run at all. I thought when I had time to myself again I’d be full of energy. I’m not. Sometimes it seems more like a void than zen.

  9. I had a lot of energy when I went back to Oregon to take care of Mom. Halfway thru the summer, I was tired and I’ve been mostly tired ever since: 2 1/2 years. I’m working on finding or building more energy (I have an apartment to pack!) and I’m going to drag my friends for walks once I move. Because I used to be energetic.

    My balance used to be that I was either off or on. I was either doing something highly energetic (like work, or school as a kid), or I was lying on the couch reading, or I was drawing or painting. Quiet things. I have no problems having do-nothing days, which I think are good for helping balance out that rush. And deadline rush is the craziest.

  10. Julie O'Connell says:

    I’ve got nothing brilliant to add – just wanted to say how happy it made me to see Pinkie Pie. She makes me smile every time I see her twitchy face.

    Embrace the Pinkie. Love the Pinkie. If you’re like her, you must bring joy to a lot of people.

  11. I tend to be balanced. It is just my nature. I like busy and in fact need it. I like the juggling of having many balls in the air, but in order to keep them moving, I have to be in my zone, my zen place.

    What I hate to deal with is fires. I cannot stand dealing with fires that have been created by other people not doing what they are supposed to do. I don’t understand that at all. I am also a procrastinator, but only to a point and then, I deal with it. I take care of it because I hate fires.

    Right now the clutter that surrounds me drives me batty. I am the person who created it and part of me is depressed by it. Once the conference is over next week and I stop having nightmares about the “what ifs” of a massive book signing, 68 authors from all genres of romance covering all methods of publication, (Ayeeyai!) I will start working on my home, one bird at a time.

    Of course with that being said, I am also starting a writing challenge in April through one of my chapters.
    See lots of balls in the air. It’s the balls in the air that keep me focused and in my zone. I need them all. The juggling is my meditation.

  12. Completely agree with the comment re working WITH who you are instead of against it.

    That was a huge thing in my life too. When I finally understood the phrase “go with the flow” I had a light bulb moment. Energy will always move and will run smoothly around all obstacles if you let it. It only gets blocked when it gets stifled.

    And constantly denying who we are is definitely stifling. But recognizing our qualities as strengths instead of trying to fit to some other ideal is very freeing, and that lets the energy flow again.

    Think for me, I bought into a lot of the messages I got in childhood from important people in my life. Messages that told me my innate qualities were somehow wrong. That what felt natural to me, was wrong. Well, I didn’t completely buy into the messages, not willingly. I was conflicted. But deep down the messages wore me down and got me questioning myself. It took me a long time to realize that it was the messages that were wrong, not the “me” of me.

    I’m not sure it’s about acceptance for me. It’s more finally getting to “own” the me of me and let it flow. That’s when I really found the strength in that energy and realized those were my gifts, the tools I was given to navigate life. If I didn’t use them, I had nothing. Nobody else’s tools would work for me. So now I use my tools and life flows a lot easier.

    And I find this true for all things. Fighting against what is is just a waste of time. It’s like trying to make curly hair straight. Yes, you can spend a lot of time doing that, but maybe, just maybe the curly hair suits you:)

  13. I feel most sane when I’m in the midst of a storm of work, and it seems when I’m busiest there are a million more things to do. There’s this addiction to lists and crossing off of accomplishments and adding more stuff. ; )

    When the eye of the storm passes that’s when I’m kind of lost. There’s this big aching nothingness that is not familiar. I tend to waste a few days adjusting to the slower pace and I really, really find that annoying.

    I’m sure it’s nature’s way to allow my tired brain and body to recharge. But I don’t like it. Except that like others have mentioned that time is used for reading. My grandmother used to say it was a sin to sleep in the waking hours. (I wonder what she’d think about stretching out on the couch and reading all day?) Gran was a farmer and would never do that. Most of the women my age are playing golf and tennis and taking afternoon naps. I’m like my grandmother and guess I’ll be working until the day I drop. But it’s all good. If the work was more evenly balanced I’d probably start napping or letting things slide. See I knew it was a control issue. ; )

  14. Cindy says:

    I like busy, bordering on chaos, but it has to be controlled. By me. I cannot handle things being out of control, unplanned, just willy-nilly happening around me, I have to have some kind of list, even if it’s in my head. And I do best when things are busy. If I’m too relaxed, I feel out of sorts, and I need to get busy, so then I procrastinate. That gets me busy later.

  15. Maine Betty says:

    Or straight hair curly!

    This comment is one I will keep in mind, in my job search. I’m in a very data-driven, sit and type, picky picky place, and that’s not using my best energy. There’s no good reason not to be looking for the place where I a better suited. I don’t have to pass every test.

    I looked at your site, and your dog has wonderful sweet face.

  16. I’ve often referred to my life as controlled chaos, but it’s not as bad as it used to be. As a single parent, you’re going to be busy. There’s no way around that. The older my daughter gets, the more she can do, but then it’s not easy to get a 13 year old to do anything without constant reinforcement.

    I did learn to say no a couple years ago. Made a big difference. Doesn’t sound like there’s much you can say no to, but definitely sort out the priority list and see if something can go. And if you’re like me, keep a real to-do list you can mark things off of (if you don’t already.)

    I run on accomplishments, big and small. The zip I get from marking something off keeps me going for the next item on the list.

  17. Jennifer.nennifer says:

    I am essentially lazy, so I treasure my driven/energetic spurts when they happen. I have to say though, lazy and zen don’t necessarily go together either – I have never been able to meditate.

    I think KatyL nailed it with “go with the flow”. One person’s ideal flow may be busier than another person’s. I theorize that if one is in one’s ‘zen of motion’, one would be productive instead of frantic, and not get worn out, just as a zen of meditation would not be boring and irritating. So it’s not the busy level, it’s the zen level in which one is doing the activity (non-activity.)

    So I guess one needs to find the flow that suits one, and in order to go with it?

  18. Thanks for the mention of my dog:) She is just as sweet on the inside.

    And I wish you luck if you decide to change jobs.

    Although I write, I don’t do it full time yet and I have another job that helps pay the bills. Lucky for me, I love that job too. But it’s not easy to find one way to make a living, let alone two, that are good fits. It wasn’t always that way for me, and it took a lot of work & luck to get to this place in my life so I consider myself very blessed and feel grateful every day.

  19. I get worked up and can’t eat, which should be a good thing since I could lose a few pounds. Talking over what ever it is that’s making me crazy with DH, who is both a logical and emotional being, does the trick. I can’t meditate, can’t keep my mind still long enough.

    On another level, to chill out, I watch a funny movie, anything that will make me laugh. Scary movies make me tense, heck, watching the news is scary enough.

  20. I think you just have to go with it and trust that it works out. Pinkie Pie has magical intuition that always steers her right, and she’s always got cake.

  21. Micki says:

    I think you pay for the high-highs with low-lows. Looking over your list of accomplishments, I’d say it’s worth it.

    I was reading about the Harvey Girls last year (waitresses who went out to civilize the wild west — very cool women), and Mr. Harvey got all these amazing things done — but apparently had very poor health. He’d be on for a couple of days, and then get hit with a migraine or tummy troubles, and have to stay in his room for a couple of days. But he really made his on-time count, and built an empire. I really loved that — it kind of makes it OK to sack out for a couple of days — as long as I get something done on the days when I’m feeling good.

    Conserving my strength seems to help me not have “nothing” days, but I don’t feel I accomplish as much as I do with “full power” and “total engine stop.”

  22. Lani, I’m so excited for you with all of the positive changes you and your family are manifesting. Go, you! My life is often crazy busy and I can handle multi-tasking, project juggling, plate-spinning and stress to a point. The trick for me has been identifying when I’m nearing the point when it will be unhealthy and counter productive for me to take on more. I know enough to put on the brakes and rebalance.

    Even in chaos, I establish oases of restoration, relaxation and calm. An hour or so of quiet on my porch. A bath before bed. My Tai Chi practice. A long walk. A boat ride. Even an extra Zumba class. These are all “me times” that even me out. They help me recharge.

  23. Chris S. says:

    Caregiving… can be like surgery. It can take longer than you’d think to recover. A LOT longer. But if we’re talking longer than 12-18 months, you might want to talk to your doctor.

  24. Chris S. says:

    Between work and family I have a lot of commitments to keep. So I have to be fairly organized (I’m a total writer and crosser-off of lists). But if those commitments become too tightly scheduled I lose all my energy. Not DOING those tasks — just CONTEMPLATING them.

    I need a little time in between obligations to do something tangential, whether that’s meeting a group of friends for a show and another group for dinner, or lying on the couch all day with a stack of books. It’s not just the me-time: I need a certain amount of unpredictability in order to hit peak functionality.

  25. oases of restoration? Okay now you are my hero. i have a toddler. i don’t even get a three minute shower every day. oasis? oh my.

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