I was raised to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” To me that always translated to being busy at all times, doing something important–always having a purpose.
I doubt that I am the only one…
I am not saying this is a bad thing, necessarily. What would life be if it didn’t have a purpose? And what does purpose matter if I am not striving towards it? For 40+ years, one thing I feel I have been “good at” was my ability to see the big picture and then to work toward making it happen.
Life has a way of showing me that things are not always as they seem--philosophies and ideas don’t always fit within the boundaries of my understanding. This holds true with my interpretation of what it means to be “anxiously engaged” and, for that matter, what exactly is a “good cause”?
Earlier this year, I was living in a state of intense purpose, and I was on fire. I had just completed my #100DaysofLaughter challenge and felt on top of the world. It had been so transformational that I decided the #100Day Challenges must continue, which led to becoming deeply committed to #100daysofCourage. Doing the challenge via Facebook Live increased the intensity of anxious engagement, and I was up for the challenge. At roughly the same time, however, I also co-hosted my first ever Women’s UP Retreat with my friend, JoJo; I started back to school; AND David Wood (my coach, aka “THE” master trainer) had asked me to speak on his stage! It was all exciting. And intense. And overwhelming.
Suddenly I found myself in a place I thought I had said goodbye to forever. My mind was in a constant state of overwhelm. Ideas that had been so exciting to me turned to a foggy chaos. I couldnt articulate my thoughts; my new-found confidence began to doubt itself as the intense emotions breathed life back into the insecurities I thought were gone. In addition, my Dr had decided to experiment with a new thyroid medication, which threw off my levels and added to the fatigue, depression, and brain fog.
I was actually pleased with the way I was dealing with all I was feeling. I was grateful and quite amazed at my ability to manage my state, even with all that I had going on inside of myself. I explained to David Wood during a coaching call that I felt I was in a forced state of “slow down” and that I was doing my best to stay “up.” He suggested that maybe this was my body’s way of teaching me to find a new approach to success. Maybe it was time to learn how to enjoy BOTH working hard AND being in a relaxed state at the same time. He reminded me that I had just accomplished some really big goals and gave me the courage challenge of going offline for a few days. He asked me to find the courage to forget my commitment to do a daily challenge on live video and instead sit still and celebrate the successes I had just experienced. He encouraged me to pay attention to what that brought up for me and to figure out WHY I was doing this challenge and everything else I was doing.
My old self would have “fought” this suggestion. I didn’t really know myself ourself of being busy. I couldn’t fight it this time–it was both physically (because of my thyroid) and emotionally (because of everything else) impossible. I took just a few days off from courage videos, but “slowing down” continued for another couple of months. In fact, I’m still in a slower and easier state of flow than I’ve ever allowed before, and I can tell a difference.
The results have been powerful:
First, I discovered that my reasons for doing #100DaysofCourage and other video challenges haven’t changed. They are helping me to become who I am meant to be; I love being able to show others that vulnerability and that acting with intention can change your life; and (most importantly) I ENJOY doing it
Next, I have learned that to be “anxiously engaged” doesn’t mean I have to be “addicted to busy-ness,” nor does a “good cause” always have to be something outside myself. I can be my own good cause–my own growth, my own peace and happiness. Being “anxiously engaged in a good cause” doesn’t have to mean that in order for my efforts to matter, I need to burn the candle at both ends and be stressed out at all times.
“Anxiously engaged” can mean being happy and celebrating life; it can mean being fully present, completely engaged in the moment, connecting and sharing with other people, and finding joy in every experience, no matter what.