It was such a powerful episode and I had another takeaway that I want to talk about this week – which is the power of stillness.
It makes sense that Martha would incorporate stillness into this discussion because hearing your own truth almost always requires us to pause and quiet our minds.
Stillness is incredibly hard for me. My therapist recently helped me discover that I’m a bit of a workaholic (to the surprise of, like, none of my friends or family). I prioritize my work over almost everything else in my life. My husband and I chose not to have children, so I often don’t see my workaholism as a problem because I don’t feel like I’m neglecting anyone who needs me.
This is not true. I actually neglect a lot of important things and relationships in my life in pursuit of career success. I’m currently really working on this area of my life – finding ways to prioritize non-work relationships, and also creating opportunities for stillness.
As Martha says in this episode, “change often occurs best through a series of 1% turns.” She says “Research shows that big huge massive changes tend to be very ineffective, they don’t last. Where tiny little changes consistent over time, create vast shifts.”
This made me think of the latest homework assignment that my therapist gave me. We decided together that I would put my phone “to bed” from 7pm-10pm each weeknight. This is the time of day that I’m typically making and eating dinner, and then watching a show with Warren or going on a family walk with Lucy – however, I always have my phone within arms reach so I can check my email (rather constantly I might add).
The change that my therapist suggested felt like a 1% turn – something easy enough to do that helped me move in a direction of healthier balance.
The first few nights that I put my phone to bed, I’ll be honest and say that I was super uncomfortable. I didn’t know what else to do with that time. Warren would take Lucy outside for a quick walk and I would just sit there… phone in the other room, TV on pause, dinner all cleaned up – I had nothing else to do.
For me, not doing anything feels like laziness. It feels like apathy. It feels like I’m not being effective. As an enneagram type three, my feelings of worth and value are highly intertwined with getting things done, climbing the ladder, continuing to move.
I processed this with my therapist, and she smiled. She said that sitting with this discomfort is exactly what she wants me to do. It’s a strong first step in the direction of replacing workaholism with more stillness.
I’ve heard that many therapists, particularly those who open their own private practices, are enneagram type three’s, so I’m curious if stillness is also a struggle for some of you?
I’d love to know what your experience with stillness has been – when and how you make time for it. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please feel free to reply here.