My personality complex or ego tends to work in great extremes. I’m either ‘that woman’ who exercises every day and drinks a green smoothie bucket or the one who gulps down bags of chips with the creamiest dip you can find. I’m either ‘that woman’ who walks fearlessly into a group of people and makes myself the center of attention or ‘that girl’ who can’t look anyone in the eye and barely gets a word out due to her high levels of social anxiety. Finally, I am either ‘that woman’ who spends every second of her existence working her ass off until she basically burns out or I am ‘that woman’ who lies on the couch the whole day, where even the thought of lifting a finger induces torturous levels of existential despair.
I know I know- but balance! Today though, after three wonderful naps and an hour of pondering whether or not I should walk to the fridge to get some food, I decided to let lazy woman have her way with my latest blog post. She has, in fact, made the laborious decision to explain to you how her integration in my life has actually made me much more productive compared to the stressed out mess I used to be.
Lazy woman’s argument
My first year of university was just an absolute blur of anxiety. After a good amount of time outside any sort of academic world, I was worried that I had forgotten how to function in it, and so as a result, thought that failure was almost imminent. I would work at all hours of the day, miss no lectures and get about 4 hours of sleep at the most. Someone even called me a nerd. You know who you are. *commences the lazy stink eye*
When I finally got my marks back, I was shocked at the low level of results I was churning out. How could this be?
Finally, after a year of working myself to oblivion, lazy woman came out of her enjoyable slumber and gave me a sad smile as if to sleepily say, ‘I think that’s enough of that.’
Of course, it’s nothing new for students to sort of let go in their second year of university but usually, they buck up and put their heads to the ground when the third year comes around. I, in fact, did the complete opposite. I did even less work and to my absolute shock got the best results in all my three years of attending university.
Now what you would expect is that I sort of vaguely cut my workload down. No, I went full force. I would do an extremely minimal amount of work. The funny thing is that this led me to days where my passion for what I studied overtook me and I spent hours and hours fully focused without any sense of force or any sense of tiredness. It also, strangely enough, led me to come across resources about how to be productive by doing less. In fact, I am almost certain this blog would never have come to its fruition had I not made the decision to slow down my pace. It’s almost as if the universe understood that I would no longer stand for sleepless nights or the lazy part of myself being shamed and so it worked in accordance with this demand.
“When I run after what I think I want my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me and without any pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and is attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it”-Rumi
“Uh…didn’t you study philosophy?”
At the time I felt almost like I had tapped into some strange secret- now I had more time to laze around, do the activities I enjoy, spend more time with the people I love and wonder why in fresh hell I ever worked so hard. I remember listening to people at university complain about how little sleep they got but my attempt to convince them that it didn’t have to be that way was usually met with strange looks. Someone even suggested that my ability to get good shut eye was because I was doing a humanities degree and in their eyes, this was ‘easy’.
Now I’m not going to go into detail about the heaps of students who whilst taking a practical degree, truly struggled with passing and grasping basic philosophy courses (not to insult anyone’s intelligence. People tend to be smart in different ways.) What I will say is that if I had ever thought this was slightly true, then I would certainly have asked to be signed up for another five humanities degrees.
“Awesome! So I can just sit around and everything will fall into place?”
Uh… no. I hope this article is not pulled out of some readers pockets as some sort of hallway pass for a constant state of inertia. We need action in order for progress and change to occur.
A trick is, in my opinion, to tune into your own bodies natural rhythm of action and rest. Then, once you have achieved this, find the strength to follow that instinct by learning how to love yourself more than the need to live up to the expectations of the constant hustle-bustle.
Another practice which helped me was learning how to not shame the lazy side of myself and rather ask ‘how can this part of me be of service rather than a hindrance in my everyday life?’.
By shaming my lazy self either two results would occur: 1. I would work myself to death and eventually find myself at my wit’s end. 2. I would loathingly accept this part of myself and slowly become part of the furniture.
As you can see, neither of these were working, so I chose a different route.
“Some people have to work 3 jobs just to stay alive. Check your privilege”
Okay so yes. The fact that I can even be talking about this is a tribute to my level of privilege.
What I can say is that the level of consciousness we are at right now, being the type that holds the perception that human beings need to be almost slave-like in their busyness in order to deserve basic needs is in all probability manifesting this. Therefore by buying into this idea that if you don’t work all the time you are somehow entitled and ungrateful for your privilege, you are directly contributing to this type of creative energy.
Although I have never been in such a position, I would like to suggest that if you are one of these individuals who find themselves in such a predicament then perhaps finding even the slightest amount of time in your life to simply ‘be’ could help. This could be 5 to 10 minutes of meditation every morning or even just once a week. It doesn’t even need to be meditation. Anything that allows you to simply rest for a little while will work.
This act is sort of like a mini affirmation of, ‘I deserve to just be. I deserve to rest.’ The universe will have no other choice to respond to this by slowly but surely allowing more space in your life for this practice. This is, at the very least, what I have experienced in my own life in terms of many different goals.
“What the future holds for you depends on your state of consciousness now”-Eckhart Tolle
“What about those people in power who hold responsibility for others?”
There are of course some individuals in power who are so worried about letting those for whom they are responsible for down that they feel they need to be constantly on the go. In the end, this just leads to one imploding.
It is a pretty well-known idea that parents who focus on looking after themselves as well, tend to be much happier and so more present and effective in their parental duties. Perhaps those in power could adopt the same outlook.
In the same breath, I will have to admit that there are no absolute truths and especially at the level of consciousness that we are at, where individuals harm one another, we certainly need expressions of life or people, that’s purpose is to be in a constant state of hurriedness.
Our society is so focused on doing, running, completing, working, driving, succeeding that finding a place of ‘being’ in all this craziness is like coming across a pot of gold. Well, I have found my pot of gold and if anyone thinks I’m going to trade it to satisfy the collective egos constant internalized drive to be better and to do more, then I will have to have a huge laugh, a warm cup of tea and follow it up with a good 8 hours of sleep.