So there I was wandering through the back garden of 90 Mainyard (some people call it the Olympic Park – but really it is our back garden) chatting on the phone, this is something I do less and less these days.
In the days of Nokia you could not get me off the phone, these days I hardly talk on it and hide it at weekends. When I say hide it I mean I don’t even take it out with me and I still reach in my pocket to check it, look at facebook, write something down, quickly check email, rearrange my apps, tweet, check whatsapp, look at my calendar, tag a photo, start a blog in evernote, check my wordpress stats.
I am filled with dread and loss for half a second and then my brain is rerouted in the direction of where I am there and then. I am very sure that NOT being connected lowers my anxiety level A LOT. If anyone needs to get hold of me they know how and those that message me over the weekend know I will only check in once or twice a day.
When I don’t have a crutch to check or look at I am forced to be where I am and talk to the people I am with, and to be honest most of the time that is #babybernie and #supercoolwife so why on earth would I want to be on facebook with you?
Being distracted or checking out is a habit and I have found that this habit leads to increased anxiety which is in turn is a poison for my life. Fear not!
Since I have finally managed to sit still for more than five minutes (and I don’t mean watching Netfix) my need to check things has subsided. Hands down one of the best things to cut my anxiety is meditating and practising mindfulness, yes that is right kids sitting still and doing nothing is beyond good for your well-being, most importantly you mental sense of well-being.
In fact I am more than pissed off that I put so much effort in to alcohol, drugs and Red Bull earlier on in life, if I had known that sitting still and in silence was so calming and energizing I would have done that sooner and saved about £1 million.
It is hard being still. I was listening to my close personnel friend Seth Godin in an interview a few years ago where he was asked about how he organises his day, he simply said that he works to create as much white space in it as he can, he does not go to meetings or do twitter. I could understand about the meetings and twitter thing but the white space?
White space is where it is at.
By saying no nearly everything that has come my way I have started to discover the edges in what I am working on, I have carved out space in my day which is ‘doing nothing time’ and also time which is ‘buffer time’ for when I over run – which I often do.
As time has gone on I have become better at keeping the white space clear and the work where the work is meant to be. I am rushing less, I am on time more and best of all my head is more empty. To be honest I am really wondering why I did not have a break down sooner, or even die, as I have given myself space to ‘be’ to ‘think and figure more out’ I have often been really scared.
Scared? Of what?
Scared of the silence and what may come up, I did not think before that ‘things would come up’ nor was I thinking ‘I’ll keep that there and never look at it’ but I was and eventually could not cope.
Two things made me sit up and take notice, one was James Altucher on his blog and in his book talking about ‘calming the mind’. James is very much like me – he is also lucky to be married to a smart and gorgeous lady from Buenos Aires, he podcasts, blogs, has been down on his luck in business, wears glasses and is a bit of a nerd.
So I was willing to listen, he talked a lot about calming the mind and then I made the connection with white space which then led me to reading ‘The power of less‘ again by other my good friend Leo, seen here with Andy.
This book is so simple you almost miss what it says, I have written about this book before here and also here and probably somewhere else. Picking it up to save your life won’t work, I have found reading it and then doing nothing and then reading it and then doing nothing has had a remarkable effect.
Thanks for reading!
Sent from my Chromebook 😉