Did you know that July is Anti-Boredom Month? Yes, it’s true and that means a month-long celebration of all things non-boring. For me that means less time in front of the computer and more time traveling and on the beach. For you that means some great guest posts by a variety of bloggers!
First up is Jane Matthews with her take on boring. Enjoy!
As adults, most of us probably believe we’re strangers to boredom. We may even yearn – as we contemplate the lengthening To Do list – for a few moments of blissful, uninterrupted boredom.
And yet as we lurch from one task to another, one set of responsibilities and demands to another, permanently exhausted, boredom may be precisely what we too are suffering from.
Busy being bored
Let me explain by quoting one of my favourite poets, David Whyte.
In his wonderful audio poetry book Midlife and the Great Unknown Whyte recounts one of the key lightbulb moments of his life, when he was forced to wake up to the relationship between boredom and exhaustion – and the meaning of both.
While Whyte dreamed of being a full-time poet, he earned his living working for a charity, writing only in those few dead moments at the end of another shattering week. One day, as he raced from one save-the-world task to the next, Whyte heard himself call to colleagues “has anyone seen David?” It took a moment for the penny to drop: he was the only David working there. He had literally lost sight of himself.
Shaken, Whyte headed home to seek out a friend, a priest, to share a few hours’ conversation and a glass of wine. That day, their conversation became a confessional, as Whyte asked his friend “tell me about exhaustion”.
The friend replied: “The remedy for exhaustion is not rest. It is wholeheartedness.”
When we are doing what we love, or choosing to love what we do; when our dreams are no longer on hold, postponed until the time we have the money/have the confidence/don’t have to worry about everyone else/write your own excuse …., tiredness will become a stranger.
Wholeheartedness is also the opposite of boredom.
Are you boring you?
So how much of the time do you feel tired, wrung out, drained?
Now, honestly, ask yourself if it’s really exhaustion you’re suffering from, or boredom: are you boring yourself, at work, at home, in your relationships, your habits, and your thoughts?
What is there in your life that you are wholehearted about? In an average day in an average week, how many hours – or moments – are you involved in things that will bring your dreams closer? That represent the kind of life you want for yourself? That you feel passionate about?
Bored to death
One of my lightbulb moments came when I stumbled on this challenge from US sports coach Lou Holtz: “If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.”
Ouch! I couldn’t remember the last time I’d woken up excited at the challenges of the day.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have dreams. I had any number of those. It was that I hadn’t turned my dreams into goals, and committed to taking at least one small action every day to bring those dreams closer.
I was reading lots of motivational books, meditating, visualising, using affirmations, journalling. And then just carrying on in the same old way, turning up at a job I’d long outgrown, being a partner, a parent, and a carer to my own parents in the same way I had been for years, wearing the same hairstyle, having the same conversations, going the same places, as I’d always done.
Boring myself rigid and wondering why I felt so tired all the time and nothing was changing.
It’s no accident that someone coined the expression ‘bored to death’. For when we deny ourselves the chance to live wholeheartedly, can we really claim to be alive?
Since July is anti-boredom month why not take a hard look at how wholehearted you are right now? Tick each statement that feels true for you.
Ten signs you’re half-hearted about your life:
- You can’t remember the last occasion when you were so caught up in doing something you love you totally lost track of time
- You often wake up with a feeling of dread or overwhelm
- You spend so much of the time on automatic, you wouldn’t be able to answer if I asked you to describe half a dozen sights, sounds, smells and sensations you’ve already experienced today
- You no longer have any serious hobbies
- You struggle to find the time to stay in touch with important people in your life, even by text or email
- You struggle to give yourself time to relax and feel guilty about not being busy
- Your own time is usually wasted on ‘empty’ pursuits: watching TV you don’t care about, reading things because you think you should, shopping for clothes you don’t need…
- Often it isn’t until something is over that you realise how much you enjoyed it
- You can’t wait to get to bed each day
- Your dreams seem further away than ever
If you ticked more than three of these statements you’ve all the evidence you need that your heart is on hold: you’re barely even half-hearted about the life you’ve created.
That’s no bad thing: the first and most significant step in making change in any life is first recognising why we need to.
In my next guest blog, we’ll be looking at ways of jolting yourself out of your boredom, to kickstart your journey in the direction of your dreams.
Jane Matthews is a writer and workshop leader, running courses in Heal Your Life, Achieve Your Dreams, building self esteem, money and consciousness, and getting more from every day. Her books include titles of making better relationships, and surviving life as a carer. Her latest book is I Think You’re Great: self esteem made easy, available as a download from her website www.smallbooks.co.uk.
P.S. Someday Syndrome was recently named one of the top Life Coaching blogs – check it out!