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BritChick Paris

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Why I Can't Stop 'Doing' and Being Busy (Instead of Just 'Being')

Posted: 02/ 6/2012 12:18 pm

I grew up in a busy household with an incredible super-mum. My dad called her the whirling dervish as she whisked around at top speed. The front door was a revolving one. She was out of the house at the crack of dawn -- gardening and doing errands. I used to watch my dad who meanwhile laboriously prepared his morning coffee and then proceeded to read the paper cover to cover. My mum had done the food shopping, unpacked it all, cleaned the car and taken us to Ballet and back in that time.

Ever since then I have inherited the obsession with doing. It's as if my day is not complete if I haven't accomplished multiple tasks. I make lists, I'm always changing stuff around the house and I am forever organising social get-togethers. Dinners, parties, weekends with friends. I must be a nightmare to be around or live with. I drove previously boyfriends nuts. My ex husband was a running freak so at least the day was filled with half marathons and then TV marathons that drove me out the house and eventually out of the marriage.

Luckily my beau is brilliant at managing my frenzies. Only this morning I had personal training (training is a good way of feeling I'm accomplishing), then because of the big freeze I insisted he help me move all drooping plants into sun for a boost of heat. It didn't matter that we were lugging heavy frozen pots in minus 5 air. It just needed doing. I couldn't rest until it was done. It's like an addiction.

Also my version of doing certainly doesn't involve semi activities tweeting or being on a PC for instance. Even taking a long leisurely bath is hard work. I light the scented candles, fill the bath with oils and I lie there thinking, fretting and un-relaxing. Sunbathing on hols is also a joke. I get all settled on my lounger after slathering on suntan cream then quickly get bored, fidget and try to talk to my sleepy husband.

It sounds funny. But it's really really annoying that I can't be still. I feel useless, a waste of space if I sit around. I never really understood what was behind it all, possibly observing my mother in 5th gear. Or I accepted that our lives these days always had such a hectic flavor.

After therapy, amongst other things, I have realized it's all down to self worth. I need to prove I am of value through everything I do. If I do nothing I am lazy or a loser. It's why I write to feel like my time is of value to others who can then share their thoughts.

The great gurus like the Dalai Lama said that greatest peace of mind is found in the state of just being. The devoted Buddhists spend hours in silence meditating. I'm far from that. But it is true that in moments of enforced non movement -- when I had my miscarriage for instance I was forced to be, go inward and observe what I saw. Maladie in French can be translated as le mal qui dit or the pain that tells you something.

For me being in the present is ultimately about letting go of systems or coping mechanisms from the past. As mentioned in my previous blog our childhood creates the hardwiring that we end up having to unpick as an adult. I can't bear emptiness or the unknown. I feel like I will have to face up to who I am really -- someone I'm still unsure about. Not the sporty self, career self or the creative self. But the real self. My dad and his endless coffee making had got it more sorted than I realized.

It's like looking over edge of a pond too scared to see one's reflection. I have had a peek and it's not as bad as I thought. But I still have some way to go. I will keep you posted.

 

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