So, you love being a driven woman, most of the time. Hell, let's be honest here, nearly all the time. Except when your driven nature gets you into trouble; with your health, your career, or with other people. Hey, it happens. When you have all this awesomeness, sometimes, it's just too much for the situation. And let's face it, we aren't always the best at downshifting when we need to. Sometimes, the need for speed just gets the better of us and the next thing we know, we are in a ditch by the side of the road (metaphorically speaking, or not.)
One of the ways my drive can slip into overdrive and I don't even see it coming is by ignoring signs that something is wrong. For example, my tooth starts feeling sensitive or my knee is swollen, and in characteristic driven woman fashion, I just keep going. And then, slowly but surely (or swiftly but surely) it gets worse. But what do I do? Slow down? Stop? Are you nuts? I need to stay in momentum, so I do. Even though things get harder and often times more painful. Until eventually I recognize that my drive has shifted into overdrive and I am in serious and usually painful trouble.
One of the things I have learned about myself is that I have a high pain tolerance. And not because I actually have high pain tolerance, but because of the amount of pain I am able (and willing) to ignore because I can't be bothered to slow down and deal with whatever is causing the pain. Can I get an "Amen"? (For the uninitiated, that's church folk talk for "Hell to the Yeah" recognition and agreement. )
Storytime. I have had five root canals. Not because I don't take care of my teeth, because I do. Well, maybe I could floss more often... but anyway, FIVE ROOT CANALS cost a boatload of money and they aren't pleasant either. And how did I end up with FIVE ROOT CANALS, you ask? I'm so glad you asked. I cracked my teeth. Not in a glamorous way either, as in a diamond run skiing accident or playing roller derby. I clench my jaws. At night. All night. When I should be peacefully sleeping. This driven woman is grinding her gears even when she is semi-unconscious. And that, over a long period of time leads to FIVE ROOT CANALS. OK, sorry about the all caps, but shit. That's a lot of dental work.
So, my point is this. When you have a lot of drive, you need to learn ways to slow your roll, at least when you are sleeping. Or you end up with health problems that are a direct result of your overdrive. This drive - overdrive lesson was one I had to learn over a long period of time because I didn't get it right away. I am a quick learner for the stuff that interests me and a very slow learner for the stuff that doesn't. You might be the same. And one of the things that doesn't interest me is slowing down. Even when it's painful, evidently. And it was pain that eventually drove me to try meditation. Yes, I said it. The M-word.
I am a huge fan of mindfulness meditation and have been doing it for about a decade. I got started because, in addition to the whole tooth grinding situation, I also have chronic pain due to a car accident many years ago. I have introduced many of my clients, also driven women, to meditation. They usually aren't that receptive, at least at first. It always goes the same.
Me: "Hey, I think it's time we added meditation to your daily routine."
Client: "Oh hell no. Impossible. There's just no way I can sit still and make my mind go blank. And why would I want to? Talk about BOR-ING. Nope, I'm not doing it."
Me: "THAT is not meditation, my friend."
Meditation, as it turns out has got nothing to do with making your mind go blank. And yes, that IS actually impossible. Unless you're dead. In which case, meditation is pretty pointless.
Meditation is simply this. You start with sitting, or lying down, or walking even. In fact, walking is a great way to start, especially if you break out in hives just thinking about sitting still. I got you, sister. You lower your gaze so that you aren't taking in every inch of your surroundings, which helps lower the amount of mental stimulation you're getting.
I don't recommend closing your eyes (especially with walking meditation, for obvious reasons) because you are likely to doze off. And sleeping is NOT the desired goal of meditation. Calming the mind is. And while that might sound excruciatingly boring, it's not. It actually feels great. And, more importantly, it helps keep your drive from slipping into overdrive, which spares you most, if not all of the negative effects on your health, career, and relationships.
And isn't that worth giving it a try?