Sometimes the to-do list of keeping a house in order amidst full lives can trigger anxiety, yet many of us push our way through it. Feelings of overwhelm can easily develop with thoughts such as, ‘there’s not enough time, I’m so tired, why does it always fall on me, or this is NOT how I would prefer to spend my time.’ I have often seen -and personally experienced – feelings of resentment toward home responsibilities. Fulfilling tasks feeling this way is painful, exhausting, and it leads to burnout quickly.
My strategy used to be buck-up, plow through, get it done, and then relax. But, even when I did relax, I still felt an undercurrent of dread because it’s never a job completed and there’s always more tomorrow. However, the more I committed to tuning within first and foremost, I realized when I approached a task with an internal awareness of relaxed focus not only was time defied, I began to take pleasure in the job at hand, and my energy increased rather than waned. This was my secret ingredient and became my deficit game changer.
I discovered relaxed focus opens a gateway to inspiration, creativity, energy and co-creative flow, which negates painful friction that comes with resistance to what is. – i.e. tidying up, again. Relaxed focus welcomes receptivity to life as it is regardless of the task at hand. What is it exactly? Transforming feelings of constriction and anxiety with a sense of calm and a willingness to be present in this moment. Cleaning toilettes, no problem. Mopping mud that was just trotted through the house, okay. Being willing to forgive my partner for not helping more, yes. Releasing negative thoughts that weigh on our physical and emotional bodies clears the path to get a job done without a major deficit, and possibly, make room for unexpected enjoyment.
I’ve found the most challenging piece to this internal practice of relaxed focus is often believing it offers valuable results, as well as resisting the urge to repeat familiar patterns that drag us down. It’s in the moment of choice that we have the power to repeat, or not, familiar ways of getting stuff done that have typically left us feeling depleted emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our strategy may work, but at what cost? I encourage you not to panic if it feels epic for a deep feeling of relaxation to arise amidst to-do pressures. The process will challenge our familiar ways by design, because at some point the patterns that no longer serve us needs to shift for transformation to awaken. I encourage you to ride it out, because it’s in the very opening to deep relaxation in which new rhythms arise.
I’ve learned through practice that the potential for relaxed focus is ever-present, even with to-do lists that used to constantly weigh on me. Now, when I approach tasks with a commitment to an internal awareness of relaxed focus, all seems to get done without the dread, fatigue or resentment. It has been a delightful transformation to connect to the well of joy within, which is felt throughout the house.
Here are some practices I put in motion when I start feeling rushed, anxious or constricted in my body and mind to invite deeper relaxation and focused attention:
- If I’m feeling rushed to complete a task, I pause and take several deep breaths until I feel tension in my mind and body soften. I give myself permission to let go of the task until I feel a wave of relaxation and the inspiration to continue with renewed focus.
- When I began my practice, relaxation felt like a distant memory. If you find yourself in this situation, dedicate time to reconnect with your Self. You are worth it, and it’s essential to your vitality. Take time to do no-thing. Yes, nothing. Breath deeply and witness the miracle of your breath as it supports life and softens tension in mind, body and emotion. Go for a walk in nature, write, listen to music, and follow what feels like fun!
- If you fear being lazy, abandoning responsibility, or if you have a strong ‘should’ impulse attuning to deep relaxation will likely aggravate these patters of thoughts and emotions. I encourage you to witness what arises with compassion, and ask yourself, what is this tension and fear revealing to me? i.e. if I don’t complete this task and I take time to ‘relax, ‘ I am ________.
- Experiment with home and cleaning tasks when you get the internal cue. Hint: your body will feel relaxed and your mind uplifted with the thought, and then, bring your full presence (focus) to the task at hand and watch magic unfold.
Wishing you flow that arises from the powerhouse of profound relaxation and focused awareness.