Relentlessly pursuing peace and productivity are two sides of the same coin – neither of which can get you where you want to go.
Our culture perpetuates the idea that busy = best. That if you have space in your days then you aren’t doing enough with your time. Busy means that you are valued, contributing, and making progress.
This busyness brings with it a level of strain and stress that can be overwhelming and often debilitating. You end up pushing yourself to get more done the more anxious you feel. Or you rebel against the chronic doing and escape into activities of avoidance, rumination, or paralysis.
From here you now have a new goal: to find effective ways to the manage stress, anxiety and habits of avoidance that have been generated from all the busyness and busy-mindedness. To find mental peace and quiet.
We’ve been taught to do this via meditation, mindfulness, being in nature, exercising, journaling, being grateful, thinking positively, and a plethora or other coping strategies and techniques.
So now, in addition to all the work, hobbies, child-rearing, volunteering, relationship-building, etc. you now have more tasks to manage the stress and/or avoidance that is generated from this conditioned way of living.
Can you see the irony?
Adding more doing doesn’t bring you closer to less doing.
Adding more to your mental load can’t quiet your mind.
It isn’t possible to stress yourself into a state of peace.
The additional doing that is generated by misinformed stress management strategies can only add to your mind. You have more to do. You have a “right” way to think. You have thoughts and feelings to control. You have strategies to employ.
This exponentially increases our stress and busy-mindedness. Our culture pushes to be über-productive in the same way that we push to be über-peaceful. It is two sides of the same coin.
What’s the solution?
See the coin for what it is: not who you are.
Each side of this coin is a narrative that you are attempting to align with. Each side requires monitoring of self. Each side requires doing. Each side is convinced that there is a better place for you to be. That you aren’t doing enough. That you aren’t enough. The result? More pushing.
But if you step back and see the pushing for what it is – a conditioned pattern and nothing more – far more options present themselves. You are naturally more present without trying to be so.
I promise that you can’t get into the flow of life – you are flow. You can’t find peace – you are peace. You can’t grow resilience – you are resilient by design.
The most fascinating part? Our very best “strategies” occur to us from this deeper place. Our most productive next steps. They are obvious. They are no-brainers. They are so seamless they don’t often look like a strategy. They look like what comes next.
It might be meditating, making a list, calling a friend, washing the dishes, writing the report, playing a game, going for a walk, who knows what will come up for you in the next moment.
Looking in this direction – seeing beyond your own conditioning – allows you to listen to and navigate life more effectively and in far greater alignment of who you are and what you truly want to experience.
From here, the productive and peaceful results speak for themselves – no pushing required.