We all want to feel and enjoy love, joy of living, playfulness, flow – so what stops us? Restlessness is definitely a factor. Let’s take a look at it, and behind it:
Restlessness can be many things:
- The difficulty of containing intense energy and feeling, both ‘positive’ (like creativity and joy) and ‘negative’ (loneliness, pain, sorrow, anger)
- A habit of interrupting yourself with the things you love the most
- A habit of not staying with one thing and really immersing yourself in it
- and more
But what can we do about it? First of all:
Give your restlessness your attention rather than just escaping or moving on right away.
By the way, the SEE Approach will help you embrace restlessness too. And you can also just stop, take a deep breath and perhaps become aware of what you feel. And then:
- See what it tells you.
- See where it takes you.
- What is it that you really want to do, in that moment?
The following is an almost word to word transcript of the video.
Recently, I started noticing something that has been there all my life but which I really didn’t think much about for quite a while:
Restlessness. You know this feeling you get like something is cooking but you don’t know what…
As a matter of fact, I had that feeling before I started creating this video so I guess this is just creative energy. But there are other ways in which you may feel restless.
So for example, do you know that feeling when you, for example, decided to write in your journal… So you find the book and you find the pen… But then, rather than start writing, you get this idea that “I think my plants need some water.” So you give your plants some water and then as you pass the kitchen sink you find out that there are some dishes that need to be done…. And this way you go from one little activity to the next… and then the day is gone and then you’re too tired to journal…
You’re avoiding it even if this is something that you really love doing! Because, those times when you do get to journal and you immerse yourself in the activity, it’s like having a fantastic conversation with yourself, and also getting those insights and being able to really express how you feel or what you have experienced…
Journaling could be, like visiting a different world… and yet when you decide to do it you just postpone and postpone…
And there all kinds of explanations for it. I have mixed feelings about those but I have been thinking about why I’m doing it.
I invite you to spend some time with your journal and think about why you are doing it – why you sometimes postpone or avoid the things that you love.
When I’m pondering if there is something there, I remember all of a sudden how it was when I was a child (and I bet it’s the same when you were a child): I would play and, and, at some point during the play my Mom would come and she would say “you shouldn’t do this” or “you should go and do that” or “it’s time for dinner.”
So my experience was (even if maybe it wasn’t all the time): when you are really into the play and really like completely gone in this creative world of yours, someone would come and say “hey come back, don’t do this, do that” … and as a child you experience that many times every day!
And somehow I have a feeling that I have internalized that, as they say. It has become my own habit to interrupt my creativity and perhaps also to not trust that I get to stay with it, that it’s OK to stay with something for a longer time. And that becomes restlessness.
But then I thought there is also another kind of restlessness that I remember, that goes back many years ago when I really felt lonely and restlessness at that point was mostly because it was so hard to be in my own skin. Because there was so much pain and at that point, at that time I had no idea what to do with it. I didn’t know that I could be with it. I didn’t know that I could stay with it and embrace it and transform it or not transform it, but be with it.
That was like a completely different time in my life. I was always on the run. When there was pain I was in the run.
So for example, let’s just say that I wanted to read the book so I read a couple of pages and then this restlessness came… It was that pain saying “oh she is sitting still maybe now she’s willing to notice.”…
But I didn’t know that was what it meant. I just felt restlessness so I would stop reading and then I started maybe drawing or writing (I didn’t have a computer back then! (laugh)); just doing something else…
And then as I was doing something else, you know, after a very short while, again something in me was calling me to notice it. This pain, you know, would say “Come notice. You’re sad, come notice. You’re frustrated, come notice it. You’re angry, come notice it. You’re empty, come notice it”.
But I didn’t want to notice, I just wanted to get away, so I was always on the run. Not always, obviously, but for a big time of my life, a big time of my day.
I was going from one thing to the next because I wanted to escape myself. Which as we all know is not possible. So that was a restlessness too.
The interesting thing is how it becomes a habit. Even if I am much calmer and at peace and if you ask anyone who knows me they would say about me “she is such a calm person” and “she is so peaceful,”… but I know my restlessness and I guess that you know your restlessness too.
I know I have this feeling, for example, when I start writing, in a sense the first page or first couple of pages this is the difficult part. This is when I get restless. This is where I get back in the habit, back in the expectation that I would be interrupted in a moment so I am interrupting myself already. Or the energy is so intense, the creative energy, that I don’t know what to do, so I feel tempted to just get away from it
But then I just want to stay with it which is something I sometimes do and sometimes don’t. And then I have this fantastic experience where I go deeper and deeper, diving deeper and deeper into the creative process… and then I can stay and the restlessness is gone and it is replaced by a flow of intense creativity or whatever else I may feel.
Anyhow, what I was thinking, what I’m experiencing in my life is that I am noticing this. At this point in my life I find it so valuable because the more I notice it the more I have a choice, right?
Because when I don’t notice it then I just go with the restlessness and I just interrupt myself and this is what I do… but when I become aware of it then at least I have a choice of going with the restlessness or staying with the energy that’s behind it or just noticing what’s going on.
And again, wherever it takes me it takes me but as I become more aware, I notice that I stay more with the energy and then I get to embrace it and I also get to enjoy more energy that is there or to express more the energy that is there.
So, I wanted to share with you, and I wanted to invite you to take a look, to be aware during the day if there are periods when you are restless, when you are interrupting yourself. And when you are, then try to stay with that feeling to see what it is. You can journal about it later to find what it really meant and where it came from, if you feel so inspired.
But most importantly stay with that feeling and see, what does it tell you? What does it share with you? What is it that you really want to do? What is it that you would really prefer in this moment?
I would love to hear about your experiences with this. If you feel so motivated, please comment and let’s see what happens!
Please share your experiences and thoughts about restlessness here – and then share the post. Someone will be glad you did!