When my days get away from me and life’s pace has me feeling swept along, it feels like I lose touch with myself. Too often, I lose weeks, sometimes months of my life by getting caught up in the doing of life. I allow my calendar and responsibilities to overwhelm my senses, and sometimes just good sense. My pastor called this letting the tail wag the dog.
I am trying to figure out how to manage my life in a more thoughtful way. Life is going to get crazy, there are times there is nothing that can help that. However, my ordinary life seems to support a pace that creates its own craziness. That, I believe, I am responsible for. It usually isn’t enough to identify the symptom… too much busyness. I also need to identify the underlying issues.
Am I running from something? Sometimes, I avoid my life. I miss the fullness of our life with children, sometimes coming home to an empty house can feel hollow. So I avoid it. When facing my own emotions, relationships, and conflict in my life overwhelms me, I run.
Am I running to something? Sometimes, I look for others to tell me who I am. I like the illusion of being in control at work over the vulnerability of life at home. I want people to love me, to fill my cup, and tell me that I matter. I get caught up in helping others. Allowing the sense of being needed to provide security rather than digging into relationships.
Learning to recognize when I’m swept along has been a learning process for me. For a long time, I think this was my default setting. It kept me disconnect from my emotions and applauded by onlookers. Letting go of my status as the “one who takes care of everything” has demanded the equivalent of a detox period. Along the way, I am learning to grab hold of some touch points that help me find and keep my bearings, but it is still one day at a time.
I find that how I feel about silence is a good indicator of my health in this area. When I avoid quiet and resist solitude, I am on dangerous ground. As a true introvert, this is the place where I recharge and restore my resources. Without down time, I am set up for a crash.
My ability to really engage my senses is another marker. I can live for weeks on end and never really stop and experience the everyday beauty of my life. The smokiness of the wood stove, the sizzle of the onion frying in the pan, or the glorious sunset all pull me back into my life when I let them. These sensory experiences of my life seem to pull me out of my thoughts and back into my life.
The most important indicator is my engagement in intentional relationships. I need to be connecting deeply with the people who know me best. Beyond the surface of what is happening, I need my people to ask how I am doing in the midst of the demands of my life, and I need to tell them. In the asking and the telling I often learn what I feel, what I think, and what I need. Relationship keeps me grounded, and accountable to people who see me beyond my doing.
How do you remain grounded and awake to your life?