For most of my adult life, I lived a productive and life of perpetual busyness as a workaholic. The challenge with workaholism is that it is regarded as a virtue in our society! If you are not busy and working hard, you are somehow not measuring up and you don’t fit in with the perpetual chant, “I am so busy!” I valued my ability to multi-task, carefully manage the details, and make sure all of the work was done. Then came the day when my body and mind said, ‘no more’! I hit the wall, and was burned out!
Through my process of recovery, I was introduced to the smartUBC Mindfulness Program. smartUBC offers a unique combination of Mindfulness training, Emotion Theory and Forgiveness Theory during the 8-week course. It was in undertaking the practices of this course that I came to recognize that, within me, was a continual sense of anxiety that I had been endeavouring to soothe through the distraction of work. Like most addictions, I had to stay continually busy to soothe the feelings inside. Whether it be ‘getting to work’, or mindlessly filling my time with checking the media with my myriad devices, I was not living my life.
As I engaged in the smartUBC practices, I became attuned to my body’s sensations, my emotions and my thoughts, and the interplay between them all. I was amazed to find that I awakened each day with a pit in my gut and a sense of anxiety each and every morning. I understood that my ability to work hard, once considered a virtue, was really a vice used to soothe my inner discomfort. I realized that my habit of ‘getting busy’ was a habit that I had developed to ease that sensed of anxiety; I was like a hamster on a wheel, keeping busy to run from that discomfort within my being. And so, I paused and watched myself…gentle, patient, and kind, and rode the waves of anxiety.
Over time, that abiding sense of anxiety has diminished. I make conscious choices, no longer running on automatic pilot. I no longer buy into the perpetual messages from my mind to ‘get to work, stay busy’, fuelled by that sense of anxiety that was my constant companion. smartUBC Mindfulness has allowed me to experience life in ways I have never before. I now enjoy life more fully and when I work, I do so in a much more effective and balanced way. smartUBC Mindfulness has changed my life for the better?