We all have certain deep psychological tendencies or patterns that recur.
Mindfulness, therapy, self-compassion, journaling, and a host of other techniques can help soften their sticky grip on our choices and reactions but rarely, if ever, will a deeply rooted tendency leave us for forever.
I used to find this truth depressing but nowadays, more often than not, I find it hilarious. “Oh, here you are again old friend. What’s brought you sniffing around?”
Case in point: one of my most tenacious tendencies is wanting to be done. I have a tendency, which grows almost maniacal when I’m stressed, to focus on getting done with whatever I’m doing.
So much so that I’ll walk around muttering about everything I’ve already done and what else I still have to do.
Needless to say, that’s not a particularly pleasant or present way to go through life.
Why then do I find it hilarious?
Because where do I think I’m in such a hurry to get to? What happens after I’m done with whatever it is I’m doing?
Is there some ultimate prize I believe will rain from the heavens upon my adorable head? Will I sink into a hammock and watch the waves for the rest of my days?
When I pause in the midst of whatever I’m doing–reading a client’s work, brainstorming marketing ideas for a client’s book launch, running a mountain trail, writing this article–and ask myself, ‘What do I want to do when I finish that’s better than what I’m doing right now?” the answer is almost always…
I love the way I spend the majority of my time.
And what makes this pattern even more hilarious is I’ve had a meditation practice for more than 40 years, read many of the popular books about hustle culture and doing less (see a few favs below), interviewed some of these writers for my podcast (episodes linked below), and still, somedays, here I am.
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I could see myself as a failure or I could see this pattern as a loving invitation to keep practicing acceptance.
Acceptance: the first move we all need to make whenever we feel gripped by one of our patterns or personality quirks.
To accept the pattern is here — again — and with great tenderness and perhaps wry laughter, say “hi here you are and I accept you are here.”
I practice a simple meditation technique alternating phrases like “this, too, “yes,” and “hello you are here.”
I recorded myself doing a bit of it here.
The one thing I know for certain is that fighting my pattern, judging myself, or making some complicated plan to address this once and for all never ever works.
But accepting it, welcoming it? Then my experience is one of spaciousness, peacefulness, a feeling of settling into reality, self-compassion, and sometimes, more energy.
I choose to practice acceptance rather than decide I’m hopeless because once again I’m running toward being finished.
What about you?
GOOD STUFF I’VE BEEN WRITING, READING, OR OTHERWISE ENGAGED WITH:
My favorite books about changing your relationship with time and hustling include A Sideways Look at Time by Jay Griffiths (Amazon | Bookshop), The Wisdom of No Escape by Pema Chodron (Amazon | Bookshop), Do Nothing by Celeste Headlee (Amazon | Bookshop), and Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (Amazon | Bookshop).
New writing post: Should you write every day?
Thanks for reading! Happy fall!