Have you ever experienced that feeling comparable to when you are sitting in your car, idling, waiting to dock the ferry, or stuck at a train, or stuck at the border crossing and all you can do is wait? Side note don’t idle your car its harmful for the environment and negatively impacts the air quality we breathe... I am just using this experience as an analogy.
I digress… now back to my point. Have you encountered that feeling where you feel as if you are vibrating in the same spot, waiting to move forward, yet you can't move backward? You find that you are expending energy that is not being efficiently used and its somewhat disconcerting? It's that precursor of nearing that “stuck” feeling, which is among my least favourite of the emotions.
Internal idling, at least within myself causes the same physiological and psychological effect as external idling. I feel the creep up of my anxiety monster, as if I know that feeling of being stuck is just around the corner. I am a walking conundrum because I enjoy both the feeling of moving forward, yet in meditation (only as of right now), I enjoy completely that feeling of stillness within myself.
Last week, I was sitting in a four-hour class where I found I got completely frustrated. If I am being honest, my temper spiked, and I walked out of class like the most dramatic person you have ever encountered. I then breathed, grounded myself and walked back into class and finished the day. The reason for this frustration was that I felt as though I was completely wasting my time.
It turns out my metric was too high as for my expectations of learning objectives in the class I was in. What I mean is that, I was not learning what I was hoping in the way I had expected and that lead to a buildup of frustration combined with disappointment. At the end of the day, this is out of my control, I am not able to choose my teacher, and I am not able to change the curriculum. As I said, I like to be moving towards something, knowledge is absolutely within that realm. Going against that expectation causes cognitive dissonance → idling.
The only time I can truly pause is when I make the decision to try and restore and replenish my energy so that the next day or following evening, I am able to continue with my projects with ease. Often, I need someone to agree with my assessment (my partner or mom) to validate this to alleviate my own guilt of wanting a day for myself… I emphasize this often; I am a work in progress! Yes, I must tell myself to slow down, especially when I feel like I am burning a candle at both ends.
So, I capitalized on this necessity yesterday. My Sunday was awesome; I took the day to just be with my partner doing the things we enjoy. I filled my day with everything but school and work. I did my morning asana and meditation practice, made yummy meals, drank some coffee while playing crib, walked the dike, rested, rock-climbed and read while he played his Nintendo Switch. It was exactly what I needed.
Now, here I am sitting in that same class this Monday morning. Rather than getting frustrated, I have adjusted my expectations. I have brought my computer and decided to write this post and work on some other work-related projects, while I half listen to the lecture. I did not want to sit and idle in class again. This is a small example of an external factor influencing my sense of internal idling.
On a deeper level, I have been in that position of idling before, where I felt stuck and did not know which way to go. I can think of a few instances where I experienced this long term and it caused my body to become ill. I have seen this happen ample times with the people closest to me. One of the most inspiring people I know has burned her candle at both ends. Her plate is not just full, it's overflowing and as a result, her body is shutting down. She is experiencing new and old ailments; her mind is confused as she is torn between which path, she wants to go down. She is in a very different type of idle where deciding is utterly terrifying. I can’t blame her as it will alter her life path dramatically.
It is a very confusing feeling and ultimately the only way to overcome this feeling is to take the leap. She is at that point where she knows this, she is coming to some serious realizations, accepting that she is in her own version of idle, and it's time to make a change.
To decide and to not look back. I have learned that by making a commitment one way or another, you are taking control of your life. No matter how scary the decision is once it is made you have committed. In my experience this tends to alleviate that sense of idleness.
This is a reminder that sitting idling completely sucks. It is an unpleasant feeling whether the feelings are external or internal stressors. Especially in the wintertime where it's dark most of the day, it rains a lot and it's cold. It makes this indolent feeling that much more apparent.
Obviously, this emotion is situation based and as are the potential results. If you are not satisfied with your line of work (external idle) begin the search for a new job. Begin to verbalize out loud to people what is causing you distress. Begin searching for solutions that will push you in a different direction. This is often one of the scariest parts because it makes it real and holds you accountable. If you can take a leap, take control, jump and live your best life!