Stillness in a World That Expects More, Faster

 
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Ever feel like your world is spinning so fast that you just cannot keep up? With so many moving parts - it's hard to catch your breath -- let alone take the time to nourish YOU? 

I feel you, in big ways.

Last week -- after returning from a work trip and feeling allllll those old pulls to be productive - I heard this quote from Elie Wiesel in a podcast and it really caused me to pause.

And breathe. 

"We experience stress when the present moment isn't what we want it to be." 

{Which opened up space for me to reflect.} 

I'm not exactly sure how it happened -- or when -- I just know that somewhere along the way my self-worth became hinged to my productivity.

The idea of sitting still became tied to words like lazy, unproductive - and waste of my time.

The more I got done, the better I felt. With every check mark, a blast of dopamine. And on and on. Sometimes I'd even write things down just to check them off. 

{ Then, life picked up speed. }

Teaching. Coaching. Owning a home. Marriage. Finding time to exercise (<— after 20+ years of organized sport: a completely foreign concept). 

The list of to-do's continued to grow. And, I continued to chase the bottom.

I'd push myself to stay up late, get up early -- and work for the majority of the weekend. Planning. Organizing. Writing. Trying to get ahead. At. All. Costs.

I sacrificed sleep. Because, that made me … tougher?? 

The list continued to grow. And, I continued to chase the bottom.

Until, at 27 years-young, I heard the words: 

"You're pre-diabetic."

I mean, I knew my family history. And. Still. I never expected to hear those words. Ever. Especially not on our journey to bring a baby into this world.

I left the office stunned. Numb. And at a loss for what to do -- my mind blown. Pre-diabetic? HOW?

>> Want to know how? <<

Cortisol - the hormone secreted by our adrenal glands when our body is stressed. My levels were through the roof - impacting all of my other hormones - leaving me with the diagnosis of "pre-diabetic."  

My blood work captured the invisible cost of all that pushing + grinding + doing + chasing the bottom of a list that has no end.

It was taking a toll on my body. And our dreams of bringing a child into this world.

You want to know the solution? 

Stillness.

{ The very thing I was running from. }

It's been nearly 10 years since that diagnosis -- and slowing down + saying no + making the time to meditate changed my life. And reversed the diagnosis.

And. Just because we know better - doesn't automatically mean we DO better.

Life hasn't slowed down around me. My to-do list has only grown.

One baby. Twin babies. Heart warrior. PTSD. Entrepreneurship. Baby four. 

My relationship with stillness - well, we could say it's evolving and much, much healthier.  

I still use a to-do list.

AND. The way I use it has changed. 

//

Let’s be real... we're living in a culture that demands more and more and more of us - faster - and with less effort. It's a constant force. 

There's this idea out there that we should be able to do it all - and be it all.

What does that even mean?? Says who? WHY?

And what happens when we don't? 

What happens when we say no in order to say yes to ourselves -- vs. saying yes because we are paralyzed by the fear of what others will think? 

Both are uncomfortable at first. Guess which side holds FREEDOM + JOY + INNER PEACE?

//

When we hold ourselves up against that impossible standard, we will fall short. And that can leave us feeling like where we are isn't enough. 

Like we're not good enough.

Here's the thing... 

There will always be more on the to-do lists than time. There is no getting to the 'bottom' of all.the.things. And if we spend our lives chasing the end -- we miss out on actually LIVING. 

Our worthiness is not dependent on how many to-do's get done. 

YOU are worthy of love + belonging -- without conditions.

// 

Letting go of the incessant need to be productive and embracing our best as enough - that's hard. Honoring sleep. Prioritizing self-care. I feel you. I know. I really do. 

We have to ask ourselves — what are we really chasing? At what cost?

We can do hard. Especially this kind. 

Because, I love challenges. Here's one for you.

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Five minutes a day. To notice. To be where you are. Without judgement. 

Five minutes a day. To release the doing. To BE. And notice. For one week. 

{Feel that resistance? That's OK. Notice it -- and do it anyway.}

You can do this. I've got you.

And I know -- when you do, you'll be AMAZED by the shifts you'll feel over time. The clarity you'll gain. The awareness. The patience. 

One week. Then tell me how it goes!! 

//

One more thing!! 

 
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I teamed up with Caroline McGraw again -- this time we're talking all things CLARITY in her newest online series.  

She's pulled together another amazing (free!) online course with 30 speakers. I'm honored to be a part of it - and would love for you to join us!! 

The Clarity Course runs from Monday, October 15th through Sunday, November 4th. During that time, you'll receive daily interviews to help you stop second-guessing and start moving forward.

Claim your free ticket here: https://awishcomeclear.com/TheClarityCourseSeries/samanthalivingstone

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Samantha Arsenault Livingstone is an Olympic Gold Medalist, high-performance coach, transformational speaker and mother of four girls. She is the founder of Livingstone High Performance, LLC. and the Rise Free Academy. 

Samantha helps female athletes and working women to cultivate the habits, mindset and skill set needed to quiet the noise and unapologetically step into their light, so they can achieve, AND feel fulfilled along the way.

Samantha earned a master’s in education and spent six years teaching science at Norcross High School in Gwinnett County, Georgia. In 2014, after a traumatic and perspective-shifting experience involving her young daughter, she took a leap into the world of entrepreneurship to live her dream.

Samantha candidly shares her battles with her inner critic, depression, perfection, PTSD and parenting as a working mother because she believes in the transformative power of story – and the strength that comes from knowing we are not alone. She is on a mission to pay forward all that she’s learned to help others find joy and live free.
  
A mama of heart warrior and mama of twins, Samantha and her husband, Rob, live in the Berkshires with their four girls. You can learn more about Samantha at www.samanthalivingstone.com.