Too Busy to Breathe

Rachel Macy Stafford Working Parent

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For two years of my precious life, I was too busy to breathe. I lived by a mile-long to-do list. The pace of my life was a constant mad dash to a finish line that didn’t exist. The words “hurry up” were the lyrics of my life.

“I’ll just get one more thing done before I sit down,” I said to myself constantly. So I rarely sat down.

I said yes to all activities requested of me outside the home and no to the most important activities inside the home—like playing, laughing, and making memories.

I was too busy to breathe—or at least it felt like it. The heaviness of my highly distracted and overly committed life was suffocating me.

But one momentous day, that all changed. I could not longer hold up my perfectly-orchestrated do-it-all life, and I literally collapsed under the weight of it all. And when everything fell at my weary feet, I saw so much stuff—stuff that actually had little importance in the grand scheme of life.

I began taking little steps to let go of the excess so there was room in my life for what truly mattered. I quickly realized I held the power to choose more or less. Choosing less was not always easy. Sometimes it meant not being the person the public expected me to be. Sometimes it meant having to be real, flawed, and courageous. Sometimes it meant not doing what “everyone else” was doing. Oftentimes it meant letting go of perfection and control. But the rewards of the Less is More Life were profound and rewarding.  And I believe it’s an approach to life worth sharing. Even if a person can only incorporate one or two of these Less is More ideas, it can make an impact.

A Less is More Life:

Less pushing our limits, more respecting our boundaries.

Less hurried moments, more do-nothing moments.

Less weight of the world on our shoulders, more sunshine on our face.

Less pressure to do it all, more freedom to love all you do.

Less busy badges, more celebrating ordinary achievements.

Less close quarters, more open air.

Less guilt, more grace.

Less feeding the inner critic, more feeding the soul.

Less public affirmation, more inner confirmation.

Less piling on our plate, more replenishing our cup.

Less jumping through hoops, more jumping in leaves.

Less diminishing our joy, more igniting our passion.

Less following the crowd, more chasing our dream.

Less nit-picking, more picking up the pieces and trying again.

Less grumbling, more gratitude.

Less about looking put together, more about being together.

Less Wi-Fi connection, more human dialogue.

Less squeeze from over-commitment, more hugs from little arms.

Less pressure to perform, more freedom to show up.

A Less is More Life is not always pretty…it’s not always organized…it’s often not efficient or productive, and it’s definitely not perfect, but I can breathe, laugh, and feel joy—which are impossible to do when I’m filling every single space in my calendar and stressing over details that won’t matter ten years from now.

Putting an end to my too-busy-to-breathe existence is something I’ll never regret. By freeing my lungs, mind, heart, and hands, I am able to take in what truly matters. Giving myself a chance to breathe each day allows me to grasp the precious moments of my life.


About the Author

Rachel Macy Stafford

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February 2015 – XO
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