Updated: May 25, 2020
Have you ever had "one of those days" when you felt like a zombie on a treadmill? So caught up in the "busy," that despite increasing speed, you don't feel like you're getting anywhere?
That's how I felt a few months ago. On a conveyor belt powered by the expectations of others, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. The treadmill was on, it was speeding up, and I couldn't find the OFF button.
During this time, I was waiting in my car for my daughter to get out of rowing practice so I could rush home and jump on a late conference call. I started flipping radio stations, impatient with even this small task. Click. Nope. Click. Nope. Click. Grr. Click. Finally, I landed on NPR to the voice of a man with an accent I thought might be German. Sure, whatever. I half-listened as I scrolled through email on my phone.
Suddenly, it was like he was talking to me. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had said, "Hey you. Busy lady in the Buick. Listen up!"
The topic was about happiness and gratitude; what to do when you feel overwhelmed, glum, and not so grateful. The main lesson was that grateful people are happy vs. happy people are grateful. This, I already knew.
But the tool he provided was what I needed at that moment. It was the how. How do we get out of the funk and off the treadmill? The answer was as simple as this: "Stop. Look. Go."
Like a child being helped across a busy street, these three words can move us from feeling like the world is an overwhelming and sinister place, to feeling grateful for the given moment.
Later, I would find out that the man on NPR that day was David Steindl-Rast (Austrian, not German) and he had a bigger lesson to share; you can check out his TED Talk here. That five-minute snippet was exactly what I needed.
This is now the official OFF button for all zombie treadmills:
STOP: Take a break, even if it is one minute of conscious breathing. Just.... stop.
LOOK: Look around, both inwardly and outwardly. Appreciate every bit of goodness in what you can see, everything in your life, and all that is inside you.
GO: Move forward with gratitude and intention. Know where you are going, and why. Appreciate the journey. Make the most out of your own "inner awesome."
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