Thursday, July 7, 2016

How to Manage Stress by Wasting Time

Sounds crazy right? You're stressed out, overwhelmed with all the things on your to-do list, never mind the things that never got on the list and the other distractions, crises and demands that come out of nowhere. And lets not even mention those things that still haven't been done from to-do lists that are several years old.

I was having one of those weeks where even the things I was getting to were blowing up in my face - either taking way longer and being far more fiddly than I anticipated or being derailed by technology refusing to work with me. I found myself in such an internal state of disarray that I couldn't make simple decisions - my inner judgement and ability to move forward had just jammed - like a computer freezing up and crashing when asked to do too many different things.

So yesterday as I was doing my morning tarot shuffle, I asked for the best way to meet and move through the day - the most loving way to flow through the day. Hoping or expecting a card that would give me that nudge into efficiency and productivity.

Instead I found myself staring at the 4 of Swords. Now the 4 belongs to the Emperor's realm of action, of taking charge and organising. But the 4 of swords with its knight lying down in repose is clearly saying time to take a break from the battle, time for rest and renewal. 

The stained glass window indicates that the battle weary knight is needing to get his renewal from a connection to the female nurturing aspect and the child, to bring joy and colour back into his life. 

The swords divided into 1 and 3 suggest that he needs to take time out with the Empress to process that 3 of swords heart-wound and then begin again from a new perspective.

The idea of stopping - of not doing - as a way to deal with having too much to do and feeling frustrated at my slow progress was not easy to get my head around. 

Luckily I have built into my routine a daily walk where I do my morning meditation and connect into my divine team. This calmed me enough to acknowledge that this was very clear guidance and it might be worth giving it a go. It was still somewhat in that spirit of frustration that I said, dammit, right then, enough of trying to get things done, I'm going to deliberately waste time.

So I did and it was wonderful. I made myself a hot chocolate and spent time looking at Deborah Dewit Marchant's beautiful, spacious, richly coloured paintings from her Painting Cats book. I lit a fire in the woodburner making the house cosy and warm and sat with my own cat reading a kindle essay I'd wanted to read for ages - I had a relaxed Skype with my partner, who is overseas teaching at the moment, and then I played with my new coloured pencils making a chart of colours.

I felt peaceful, I felt calm, I had reconnected with some of the joys in my life. From that place I could let go of things or time schedules that didn't work for me - and from that place several mountains shrank back into molehills. Decisions I had jammed over seemed to make themselves. And today I am much less tense and far more optimistic about the tasks ahead - and far more accepting that I might not achieve all I intend to and that is okay - because the joy, the heart, the nourishment of my life is not to be found in achieving tasks, but in that slow, easeful connection with the things I love.

No comments: