Dear friends, My April newsletter is here, albeit late. I wasn’t feeling very productive lately. How is your April going? Are you on track to finish all you set to accomplish this month? On my end, my to-do list rests unfinished. It has been that way for a few days, maybe even the whole week or two. As we welcomed the Eid holiday here in UAE, my only plans were to drop the pattern of busyness and steep into presence of each moment with my kids. And so I did. But it is not always easy to cut through the compulsion of being busy and productive. On some days (more than I'd like to admit), I hear my thoughts rumbling…”I should be better at …“ “I should do more of ….” I am so behind on this". It is in these moments that unsettling sense of lack and pressure for productivity sweeps through my entire body, leaving me empty of any desire to be creatively productive. I know very well that this harsh inner dialog is coming from part of my brain that is conditioned by culture (aka society norms). Those that glorify busyness, productivity and hustle. And that shame rest, and beauty of mundane moments. Do you also catch yourself being obsessed with the productivity mindset? I know I do, often. It feels as if my mind takes that “productivity shape”when it looks at the day. It is because, culture teaches us to focus on how much we did and how much we got, and it has a capitalistic approach to everything. I find myself trying to quantify everything, even the things that shouldn’t be; Am I spending enough time with my kids, am I meditating enough, am I practicing yoga enough? It feels as if counting became part of everything we do. But then, how much is actually enough? The culture’s answers is always -MORE! Let’s jam as much as we can in the jar of the day! And we tend to measure “success” of our day by how much we ticked off on the list, right? Here is some food for thought… how do you measure something that you cannot count? Like nature does all the time. Trees don't talk about how much sunlight they gathered in any given day, do they? Over this long Eid weekend, I focused on ways in finding worth in uncountable stuff. Like spending time with my children, without thinking about of how much time I need to be with them (to make me good mama and them happy kids), before I do something “productive“ and tangible with my day, like writing this newsletter. Or making batches of homemade granola my husband loves so much, without feeling thorn that I am in the kitchen for hours instead of planning and recording tutorials, posting on IG, creating reels, etc. Or walking my dog at the slowest pace possible ( he makes uncountable number of pee stops) without my Apple Watch to tell me if my walk was successful, and if I am on track to close all my rings for the day. Ah, it felt so liberating to not have to measure and track every moment of my day! To lose myself in the play with my kids, or in the kitchen making honey oats granola, or to lay in the grass with my dog. That long slow weekend, nature won. Like trees, I found nourishment and satisfaction in the “uncountable”. I wanted to share with you some useful phrases that I came across on IG (via @nicolajanehobbs) that helped me reframe a lot of culture that is in my head:
Instead of saying “ I am falling behind in life” try saying to yourself: “Societal norms keep hijacking me today”. I LOVE THIS ONE!
Instead of saying “ I am being so lazy”, try saying: “My body is so tired today”. I USE THIS ONE OFTEN. Then I take a mid day nap. :)
Instead of saying “ I had a really unproductive day” say: “ My internalised capitalism is intense today”. A CLEVER ONE!
Just changing the narrative in our head, will make us feel freer and lighter. And to finish this newsletter with these beautiful words from the same author: " I don't want to be lying on my deathbed thinking " I lived a productive life" or " I lived an efficient life", or " I lived a life of compulsive busyness, joyless striving and finished to-do lists. At the end of my life, I would like to look back and think " I lived an enchanted life. A meaningful life. A Life full of beauty, tenderness and devotion". Let these words fill you and free you. Thank you for reading and following my journey. I am grateful to always learn, deepen my understanding, and share with those of you who feel a pull to come along on this path of self-discovery, as we continue to awaken our hearts and minds. Hari Om Tat Sat ओम् तत् सत् Danica