But what is underneath all that activity?
For me, pain. Pain, grief, sorrow, loss, control, fear. All of those are behind and actually driving all of my busy. Sometimes I feel like if I slow down, if I slow down even a little, my feelings will catch up with me and drown me. Hold me under the tide of loss and grief that I keep being busy at...and then that will be all she wrote...literally.
Busy keeps me moving forward. It keeps me sane. I long for time when I am less busy but I know by now that whatever respite I might receive from all the to and fro will not ever really stop. It is how I live and my attempts to do it differently fleeting and non-permanent.
I spent the day yesterday in the car coming home from Tahoe. It was a long drive and it was hot. But traffic wasn’t bad and we made good time. My teenage daughter was tired and consumed with her own issues of which she did not feel like discussing. She was also disinterested in hearing about mine - which is also as it should be. So I was really alone with my head for eight hours...nothing but the open road and the very ugly roadside conditions of the I5.
It was not a good time. I lacked the busy. My mind is so active and moving all the time, one thought to the next. I can’t stop it, I can’t change the tide. I can only ride it, and that has taken years to learn. So I surfed home yesterday on the tidal swell of my thoughts. My heartbreak. My loss. My grief. I just rode them home as surely as I drove the freeway.
And I learned that my body being busy is a requirement for my mind to be quiet...well, quieter. And those times when I forced to sit and feel and think are really quite torturous. It was a long day and my thoughts were most unkind to me. All the could haves, should haves, wished that I handled that differently. Sadness and grief reigned yesterday and it was all I could do to just stay in my lane and not reach out to particular people who will only make it feel worse or, at the very least, lack the power to make it feel better.
I drove in silence, listened to music which made my thought life worse and better, and then I listened to an audible which really only made me sleepy with two hours still to go. In the end, I just had to sit there and live my life through all the lack of busy.
What I learned is that I am happiest when my mind and body are equally, not inversely matched. Busy body = quieter mind. Still body = VERY busy mind. And I really prefer it to be more equal across the board. So yesterday was a hard drive. But I did it. And then I came home and allowed my body to catch up with my mind. I unpacked, walked the dog and worked until it was bedtime. And I am grateful to have no long drives in my path in the days to come. Very grateful.
I need some busy in my life right now to quell that inner storm that is currently raging. There are a million ways to be busy and I am going to perhaps need all of them as I navigate the next month of my life.
Perhaps someday it will be different, I will be different. Today, I just need the million variations of busy to stop me from going under. Tomorrow, perhaps, stillness can become safe once more...