Be More by Doing Less: Removing the Distraction of Busyness

By Ashley Ryan
busyness“It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” — Henry David Thoreau

Growing up I didn’t think much of myself. I grew up poor, and spent much of my childhood alone. My father wasn’t around and my mother worked full-time, so I had to look out for myself from a very young age. This created emotional baggage, which I carried for many years.

Even though things started rocky, I was committed to myself and consciousness at an early age. I always felt like I knew there was something greater out there, but I wasn’t sure what.

Over the years I went to therapy, did courses and programs, and practiced being a better person. But the niggling issues from my childhood stayed with me like a shadow.

One way I coped with my baggage was by being very “busy.” Doing a million things. Distracting myself with a to-do list or activities that gave me a temporary boost, a few moments of joy, only to dissipate at night when I slowed down, lying in my bed wondering “Is this all there is?”

I was a master of disguise, and a master of distraction. And even though I was on a journey of self-awareness I often felt like a little girl again, alone and scared.

My real journey of healing began when a good friend suggested that I slow down. He pointed out that I was using distractions to run away from the loneliness that I was experiencing.

This resonated with me, and I decided to take on his advice.

I stopped activities, stopped traveling, stopped moving, stopped the texts and phone calls (I actually got rid of my phone), and committed to being with myself.

I didn’t know what this was going to take, or even look like, but I knew something had to change.

My real awakening began when I removed all distractions and sat with myself a little bit each day.

During this time of discovery I lived in India, which showed me that in our culture we rush and do all day long, we don’t often take a breather, or a rest.

And I think we do this — I think I did this — because I was running from myself. There were things I didn’t want to look at, issues that kept coming up over and over again, uncomfortable things that were safer to ignore.

Taking time to know myself was the most powerful process I’ve experienced, and being alone was the most authentic thing I’ve done.

My true inner journey began with the un-doing.

What I’m writing to you isn’t complex, it isn’t a whole bunch of stuff, but I think it’s enough.

A Simple Process for Un-Doing:

Spend some time journaling each day, starting by reflecting on the “distractions” in your life.

What activities or habits do you have/do to avoid being with yourself? Do you work way too much, or always help a friend or family member, which leaves you overwhelmed and busy? Do you eat and watch movies to distract yourself? Whatever it is, write it down.

Once you’ve written down your distractions, look deeper into the underlying belief behind these habits.

For example, you find that when you’re upset you eat sweets. Why do you eat sweets? To feel more full. Why do you want to feel fuller? Because I’m afraid of being alone. Why are you afraid of being alone? Because when I’m alone, I’m sad. Why are you sad? And so on… Weed out some of the underlying thoughts or beliefs behind your habits.

Notice.

You don’t have to fix, change, or improve anything. Just notice yourself when you’re engaging in these activities. Do this for one to two weeks. Bring awareness to these areas and journal about them.

After one to two weeks of noticing, if you feel inspired to do less or take action, such as stopping snacking or working fewer hours, go ahead, but it’s not required.

Add to your schedule some alone time each day doing nothing.

Sit on your couch, rest in your bed (without falling asleep), and be in nature. Add 10-30 minutes of alone time each day. If strong emotions come up, be with them; give yourself permission to feel.

The more time I spent by myself, the more I got to know who I was and what I was about. And when I learned about myself, I found I no longer needed to distract myself from the parts of myself that I didn’t like.

Confessions of a Perfectionist

By Ashley Ryan
confessionsI spent the majority of my life pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

Putting on a happy face and looking good in order to disguise what was going on inside.

I thought with nice clothes or a brighter smile, people wouldn’t notice my inherent flaws or the mistakes I made.

This mask of perfection lasted many years and now that I’m a mother, I especially notice all the ways I try and keep up appearances…

Setting a good example for my child.
Keeping it all together for my significant other.
Giving, giving, giving so others will see me in a good light.
The list goes on.

At work, I get emails from wonderful, incredible, women and mothers who feel isolated, anxious and depressed.

They feel under-appreciated and live with an invisible wall of pressure to be the perfect woman, mother and wife.

They experience negative emotions that stem from the strong ideals of how they should be.

Living with these feelings for many years; keeping it all together for way too long, and comparing myself to what I thought others wanted, my perfection came at a cost. It cost me my parenting and my marriage. This was a hard lesson to learn, and my struggle with perfection taught me that…

Perfection is an illusion.

It’s the golden handcuffs that keep us locked in an invisible cell.

The expectations, ideals and fantasies that we hold of ourselves, constantly comparing our bodies, hearts and minds to others, striving to fit in, looking for others to say we’re OK so we can feel OK.

Perfection doesn’t exist, it’s created in our minds.

Perfection comes at a cost.

Trying to be someone were not is exhausting. When we put energy into being what we’re not, we often lose precious people and moments along the way. Moments we can never get back — and sometimes relationships that can’t be mended.

When we try to hold it all together we give our power away.

By pretending that we can do it all; by trying to be everything for everyone, we give our power away. When we give our power away we lose ourselves and the nature of who we are and what we stand for.

Some valuable lessons I learned through trying to be perfect…

Tell the truth.

When we tell the truth about something we set ourselves free from the burden of the un-truth. Being honest is enough to release ourselves from the bondage of perfection.

Be vulnerable.

If we’re vulnerable and show our true feelings and needs we set the tone for others to do the same. It’s amazing what opens up when we share ourselves with others.

Share with others.

By sharing with others, we open up the space for them to share with us. The more we share ourselves with friends and strangers, the more we see how alike we all are. Sharing creates a space of love and closeness and is a breeding ground for new relationships and opportunities.

Mistakes are opportunities.

I used to hide my mistakes and avoid them at all costs, but perfection taught me to embrace the opportunity in my mistakes and not to give up at the smallest sign of challenge.

I spent many years living in the shadow of the perfect woman; now have the freedom to live my life as I truly am, not as others want me to be.

7 Alternatives to Punishment #1: Prevention

conscious positive parenting

Part of my mission is to help parents raise happy kids —
and have a loving and successful family.

The 7 Effective Alternatives to Punishment,
#1 You Are Not Alone

Inside this blog, you’ll discover the secrets to create a happier and more fulfilling relationship with your child.

Today’s post contains the FIRST effective alternative to punishment. Next week, I’ll post the second one.

The reason for one a week is so you can try out what you learn from this groundbreaking information. This allows you to see for yourself how well these parenting tips work.

Alternative to Punishment #1: Prevention

As the old saying goes; An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

That’s why child-proofing your life is as important as baby-proofing your space.

As a parent, I’m sure you’ve had moments when you “foresaw” a disaster that was about to occur. And if we take a moment to think about it, we can usually foresee other recipes for disasters.

Taking proactive steps to “prevent” these unnecessary stresses in your life, and the life of your child, will make a big difference in reducing the upsets in your family.

There are simple ways to use prevention.

If you know your child is going to get into the cookies, put them where he can’t reach or find them.

If giving your child a sweet dessert at night makes her stay up too late, then change your desserts habits.

If you don’t want your child getting onto your computer, then don’t make your computer so accessible for them; shut the door to your home office, or put the computer out of sight.

Planning ahead will save you SO MUCH time and energy. You’ll avoid cleaning up unnecessary messes. And you’ll avoid unnecessary upsets and needless stressing out.

Prevention is the perfect companion to Cultivating Non-Reaction.

Because often times, kids simply react to the environment you set up for them, you can set up the day to go smoothly, or be a chaotic mess. Especially if your children are similar in age, you’ll want to child-proof your house so there are duplicates of the same toys.

By having duplicates for multiple children, then there is less room for fighting over things. They’ll be less issues with sharing, because there will be two toys that are exactly the same.

When you make sure each child has the same toy; color, shape, type, everything, then you’ll be preventing a good portion of sibling rivalry.

Exercise in Prevention:

1. Tuck away anything that poses a possible hazard for your little one. Books, CD’s, Aunt Ida’s crystal vase, anything that you don’t want them touching or getting into.

Remember, this will reduce the likelihood of you losing your cool tenfold.

2. Next, do the same for anything that may make a mess … just put it out of reach.

Posted next will be “Alternative #2” of this special report, find out:

* How you can eliminate your parenting guilt in just a few simple steps (this only takes a second).

* The reason behind your toddler driving you crazy and how to prevent it.

* How a 2000 year-old practice can improve your child’s behavior and make a happier home.

* The biggest mistake you can make in disciplining your child.

You will be so much closer with your child when you start implementing these…