Lately, I have noticed that I am constantly rushing through my day.  I seem to go from one activity to the next in my quest to check everything off of my “to do” list.  What’s my hurry???  I have no idea, but I do know that in this constant state of frenzy, I have totally lost sight of being present…..I have become a human doing instead of a human being!  All this planning, worrying and trying to figure things out is exhausting!

Naturally, I want to blame my rushing around on the fact that life in general seems to be moving at a faster pace but that is only part of it.  Do I over commit….yes!  Do I procrastinate…check!  Do I put pressure on myself to overachieve…..yes, yes, yes!!.   My ambition to do more is what drives me to rush more.  As if that wasn’t enough, there is that feeling of satisfaction that I get at the end of the day when I recount all that I have done.  It is like an honor badge!  Can you relate to any of this in your own life?

My first clue that my rushing around was getting a bit out of control happened a couple months ago.  I was driving to work and decided to make a quick stop at the grocery store.  Naturally, I was in a time crunch so I took a short cut through a parking lot behind the store.  As soon as I turned into the parking lot, I was behind a police car and he was going sooooo slow!   I know I was following too close but I could not help myself.  After all, I was in a hurry!  (Seriously, who tail gates a police car?  Apparently, I do!!)  When the officer pulled to the side, I went around him.  That’s when his lights went on and he was motioning me to pull over.   When he got to my window, he was kind of laughing and said, “What’s your hurry?”  I was completely humiliated as I admitted that I was rushing to get to the store.  Everything ended well, but I thought about that moment for days.  Despite the obvious humiliation, I was grateful that it happened and I was determined to slow down.

I did slow down for a while but eventually the rushing around started to creep back in.  About that time, I came across an article titled “Doing Nothing…Why Timeouts Matter.”   What a concept…taking a timeout to do nothing!  As kids we had timeouts all the time, but perhaps as adults we need them even more.  If you struggle with the idea of a timeout, think of it this way – doing something without a purpose.  A timeout is like hitting the pause button to reset your mind and your body.   It is an opportunity to allow yourself to check out for a moment and just be.

My first experience with a timeout happened last weekend.  I was in a bead shop waiting for the owner to fix a bracelet for me.  As I wandered around nervously watching the clock, I noticed a chair with a sign on it that said “time out chair.”  Could this be a sign from the universe?  In a moment of curiosity, I sat down in the chair and just did nothing!  It was awesome!   I was able to let go of my need to be doing something and simply enjoy doing nothing.  Even though that feeling lasted just a few minutes, it was enough to bring me back to the present moment.  It was a chance to just be.  Afterwards, I felt a little less rushed and whole lot happier.

Ready to give it a try?  There is no right or wrong way to take a timeout. That is the beauty of it.  There are no rules to doing nothing!  Whatever you choose to do for your timeout, enjoy every moment.  Let go of the inner dialogue urging you to do something.  Relish in the art of simply being instead of always doing.