Originally published in New York Spirit
“What do we call a person who is unapologetic about wasting time?”
I asked this of myself, not sure if I was really looking for an answer.
Why do we get into a seesaw of highs and lows? I am super productive for a few weeks, and then there is a lull. Blank sheets and I stare at each other. For hours. Often, I cheat. Sneak a peek at the phone. Scrolling. Pausing at a beautiful quote by Thich Nhat Hanh and justifying my laziness to be of some deep spiritual significance.
It cannot be a lockdown forever phase. I blame people encroaching on my introvert shell and not getting any quiet time. I blame the slowness of nature after the birds and their babies have left the nest; the Darth Vader bee who arrives just for a few seconds, not allowing me to even identify her properly. I blame hot and humid weather. Rains are so scarce in this town as if it is cursed. Such sinners live here!
I am irritable. Chattering even when I don’t want to. My energies are draining. I am sleepy. Lazy. Slothful.
Most often when we are this grumpy and grouchy, we are ignoring the inner call and seeking some cut-paste option from the outer world. The vine keeps growing from the heart chakra, clutching our throat and mind while we keep looking for the external locus of control to put the liability on. You might find yourself screaming like a banshee at someone for a minor reason. Yeah, anger is a close cousin of irritation.
If we could find our mind’s status simply by tapping on our forehead, it would show a burnout warning.
Mental exhaustion can make us pessimistic and less productive. Motivation seems to fade away and cynicism fills the void. Accumulation of stress can lead to such unsavory symptoms. The pandemic has given birth to a new set of concerns and fear with no regulator whatsoever. We have gotten into a worrying cycle of the future more intensely than ever.
It is not just these times irritation can sneak in anytime into our lives. Biology has reasons. Spirituality has reasons. A 28-day cycle happens not just for women, but men too on an emotional level. Hormones and energies both go through such phases. When one is not grounded and not in sync with the rhythms of his or her body and mind, such symptoms may occur.
Invest in solitude: If you are an introvert, you do know how alone time is essential to recharge your batteries. If you are an extrovert, you might be surprised to realizeyou also need solitude to increase productivity and creativity. Where would you go running away from yourself? Taking a little break away from everything would help process your emotions. I would suggest sitting with just Nature for company. Trees, wind, rain, bees, butterflies, birds, all contain magical healing energies.
Doing vs. Being: It is fine to be unproductive some days. The quote from Thich Nhat Hanh was: “We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we are not doing anything, we are wasting our time. But that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be.
To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And that is what the world needs most.”
Stop seeking your identity in the work you do. Your identity is intact even when you are taking a break. Your identity is getting polished when you are just being.
Allow time: This phase is temporary. It might not seem so as we lose perspective with the annoying gnats surrounding us. We feel the universe contains just these two beings. The moment we can walk out of this tiny dungeon, there won’t be any gnats. The lens of life would again begin to focus on the bigger picture. You would write, work, and laugh again.
Take Vitamin H: Humor. You’re lacking it, hence unable to catch the opportunities that can be turned into a laughter riot. Channel your inner Chandler Bing.
The advice is sound only when this is a waxing and waning phase. If irritability is becoming a part of life, there is a dire need to bring in the perspective of mindfulness and understanding of the little joys. The grass stains are good, and kids are supposed to be that rowdy. The lines on the walls are not worth the tears in tiny eyes and what has been disordered can be reordered. The sickness can be seen as an opportunity to rest as long as the body wants, and the whining can be emptied into the dumpster more often. Your grief is seeking freedom, hence shape-feel-shifting into anger and irritation. Once you can release it, you’ll see the change.
A person who is unapologetic about wasting time is sometimes just a mindful being who understands the true nature of being.
May we heal and grow, over and again!