We are funny creatures.
Rather than rely on constant differing days, circumstances, weather, etc. We like to set a plan and then assume that is what is written in stone.
It’s a funny sight to watch, as hot-headed people get their schedule turned upside down leading to a chaotic downfall of emotions. Que the child going “but… but… MOM” in anger.
We all do this from time to time, but that doesn’t mean it is correct.
Yes, monotony can be great if you are trying to get a lot done and skip through a certain period of life.
Skipping any period of life on the other hand, implies there is a mismatch between what you really want and what you should be doing now.
Why We Started Rushing Through Life
Within this creation of a monotonous work schedule, we end up creating a “rushing” mentality.
See, if we don’t want to live a certain part of our life and instead project happiness into the future, we end up wanting to rush things.
Here’s the problem.
Time (chronological) runs in a linear manner.
It doesn’t matter if you run faster, work harder, or sleep more – odds are time is flowing the same pace that it was before.
That is not the problem at all, the problem is when we try to outwork time.
We aim for the big hairy audacious goal and end up sprinting to burn out, consequently, setting that goal out further and giving us a lot less energy to get there.
It’s a constant cycle we see today of “grind too hard” then burnout mentality. And I don’t blame anyone who has tried it. I did. I still do sometimes. It is a vicious cycle, but one that we can thwart.
Calming The Rush
Right now, as I type this I have that feeling that I need to GO GO GO and DO DO DO.
The problem is, there isn’t anything that pressing that I need to jump into a hyperadrenalized mode for and just slave myself away to the grind.
Yet, most of us feel this debilitating rush that enforces the work as hard, as fast, and for as long as possible mentality.
Which begs the question, “How does one calm the rush?”
There is no easy answer to that, so I’m sorry if you thought there was one. A lot of this comes down to cultivating presence and being okay where time and your life currently stands.
Although, the main problem that we currently have is that we are trying to rush monotony.
Whenever we have to do something over and over 1 of 2 things happen.
We either a.) try to breeze through it as fast as possible or b.) accept that this is what life has come to and try to find joy in the monotony.
Most of us settle for A.
We think to ourselves “if I can get this done in X time then I will have Y time to do whatever the Fuck I want to.”
Which is a problem. You see this with professional rock climbers like Alex Honnold (well, he’s an exception).
They do “another” run that they’ve done 20-30 times before, and think it should be easy peasy, so they stop focusing on what they are doing. They allow their mind to drift. And when it does so does their grip, leading to an injury or horrible death.
Now, your monotony probably is nowhere near as dangerous as a free solo rock climber, but it is important.
When you lose presence in your life, whether that be folding boxes or creating ad campaigns you end up creating subpar work and accidentally slip a lot.
The worse part is, that in the careless rush of monotony, we often lose ourselves.
Presence In the Face of Time
Time is always moving.
The lyric from Hootie and the Blowfish “I don’t believe in time” always rings true in my mind.
Heck, I try to change my own perception of time by relating to the 3 different types of time.
Although, we start rushing because of the inevitability for our chronological time to keep moving.
Regardless of if you feel like it’s been a minute or an hour while cleaning the house, check the clock and it’s relation shows a disparity in the time that you had thought gone by (again this is because there are multiple types of time).
Now, with time ever moving forward, how do we stop and notice the presence?
When you realize you’re in a game, the game becomes more fun because things seem less serious. The same happens when we notice that we are in all time and no time at the same time.
Which is where presence comes in.
Pull your self into the now. A few exercises to help maybe:
- Feel your skin and really feel it
- Focus on your breath allowing awareness to take hold
- Stand barefoot on the ground and be one with nature
- Focus on two or more senses at one time
Okay, those are a few quick awareness based exercises to get you started.
It is within doing these you’ll start to feel the present moment, something separate from time and the rush it presents.
Stay here for as long as you’d like before continuing to exercises on cultivating presence.
How To Cultivate Presence and Stop Rushing
There are many ways to do this, so I’m not going to be able to get to all of them, but let’s focus on three major ones.
Focus On One Thing
Yep, it is as simple as that. When you feel like you’ve got a million things to do and you stick your hand into all of the pies, you end up feeling like you don’t have enough time.
If that’s how you feel, then you need to return to the age-old productivity boosting method of the pros.
Focus on ONLY one thing at a time.
Having a conversation with a loved one? Put down your notebook and stop clicking around on your computer.
Going out to dinner? Okay, your email can wait.
It is as simple as this. Stop doing multiple things more poorly in a more stressed out state at the same time and do one thing in this one time now.
Return to The Basics – Meditation, Breathing, Hypnotic Music
Diving into another avenue, we’ve got some of the tools to bring you back to now.
Meditation has played a crucial role in my life ever since I felt depressed and thought I was schizophrenic. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest things you can do to access the present moment.
Sit somewhere comfortable and start to breathe. Don’t create some idealized sense of breath or mediation, just simply breath as is.
Now, as thoughts come up, think of them as clouds and let them go by in the sky.
Like clouds, they are a part of the earth, but they don’t need to be here in this now.
Congratualtions, you now know how to meditate.
Breathing is amongst one of the strongest tools we have. It really does keep us alive, but it does enliven us.
The shallow breather or mouth breather feels worse, lives a worse life, and actually experiences most pleasure (like orgasms) in a reduced manner.
By reclaiming your breathing patterns and following a quick inhale (3-5 seconds) with a 2-4x as long exhale you can return to a parasympathetic state and stop that running mind.
Our nervous system actually does get nervous when we stress it out in sympathetic actions all day long.
Allow it to rest by returning the breath to a parasympathetic dominant pattern.
Hypnotic Music whether brain.fm, binaural beats, isochronic sounds, or just fucking good music that follows a progression like Bach (using overlapping sounds) is great for calming you down and returning you to the present.
If you’ve ever put music on, laid in bed, and just felt what you need to feel, you know this feeling.
Tapping into that and having a few tools or songs to do it will be incredibly powerful.
Exhaustive or Very Non-Present Activity
Every pendulum swings in both ways.
So do you and your presence vs. rushing type attitude. The problem is, if we are on the 60 closer to rushing, there is nothing pressing to return us to baseline.
This is where you need to lean in.
Note: I’m not saying hit burnout, but you do need to know where you get to an exhausted sympathetic dominant rushing life and how to back off.
Now, we want to do this in a controlled setting.
I recommend either cold showers or Hiit/Hard ASS Workouts.
Neither of these will destroy you, don’t worry. They also will bring you back to the now.
I don’t know how many times I’ve “reset” myself by doing some breathwork and a cold shower. Along the same lines, I don’t know how many times I’ve murdered myself in the gym using all my sympathetic nervous system could hold and then went to a park with a journal to return to the now.
This doesn’t happen overnight, but the tools above will lead you to now.
And let me be the first to welcome you.
“Hey, thanks for being present.”