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The last two years of my life have been very, very busy. I have been living away from home a great deal and the work hours have been long – between fourteen and twenty hours a day, mostly seven days a week.

The work has been challenging on many levels, the learning curve steep and I can say that I have never worked this hard in my life. On top of this I have been juggling my family life, maintaining and building my relationships and also trying to keep abreast of the other work that I do besides my day job, as well as finding the space in all of this to look after myself.

Certainly it has been a busy time but my story is not unique: working hours are expanding, the internet has blurred the boundaries between office and home, and many of us are seeing that, with the world as it is, there is always work to be done.

For this whole two-year period I have been running a dialogue that everything was super ‘intense’. Every time I spoke to family or friends and they asked how it was going, I would reply that it was ‘intense’. Every day I would wake up expecting the day to be ‘intense’ and every night I would go to bed reflecting on the ‘intense’ day that I had just had. On top of which, I would look at the schedule ahead and see that, sure enough, it was going to be ‘intense’… next week… next month!

I was writing my own future. I knew it was going to be ‘intense,’ I said it was going to be ‘intense,’ I invited it to be ‘intense’ and, sure enough, it was. I was pre-disposing myself, my movements and my body to an ‘intense’ day and therefore was immediately holding myself in the tension of that intensity:

intense = in-tense.

But there are extra levels to this game that I was playing.

I was pre-laying excuses for my irresponsibility over this period. By getting out in front with dramatic stories about how full-on it all was, I was absolving myself from any slip-ups that I had been making along the way, whilst also trying to ensure that people didn’t pull me up for some of the choices that I had made: how could they possibly understand or challenge the way I was being, because they’d have no idea what I was going through? The more dramatic it sounded, the more excuses I had. No one could fault me; on the outside I looked like a model worker, diligent, committed and someone who delivered results – the perfect illusion behind which I could hide what was actually going on.

Furthermore, by running this dialogue, I was completely and consciously capping my awareness. I was giving myself pre-meditated permission to keep my head down, the blinkers on and just get through the day (a common story for many of us). By doing this, I was choosing to not read the truth of each situation. I was in effect saying; “No, I don’t want to know or see more, because that might expose the game I’m playing, so I’m just going to deal with what intensity is in front of me.”

I had built the perfect merry-go-round to keep me exactly where I was and, whilst on that merry-go-round, there was no way that I was going to say yes to seeing more, yes to anything else I could be doing, yes to awareness, yes to growing. I also had the perfect reason to say no to anyone or anything who might want to ask for something, or even just want to connect.

But the truth is that the ‘equation’ that I coined earlier – intensity = in-tense – in fact works the other way.

And it all starts by getting self out of the way.

All of the above is protecting the creation that much of my work is, the investment that I have in it and the recognition that I seek for it.

And this puts me in huge tension with the truth of what I am, the true purpose of what I am doing and the enormous power of my true expression and the all that I can bring to the world.

It prevents me from walking alongside the unfathomable support that I have on offer, in partnership and in absolute equality with all that is there through my connection with my soul and heeding the undeniable pull of the true divinity that I am and to which I can inspire many to return to.

So, living an iota less than this then obviously puts me in tension!

Very simply, if I get myself out of the way then I will not be in this tension, I will not be in-tense and thus the day can no longer be intense.

No self = no tension = no in-tense = no intensity.

So you see? The intensity is created by me.

Since really accepting this game that I was playing, a huge weight has lifted from my body. It is early days, but I am definitely onto something. Last week I was in the shower contemplating the day and suddenly found myself asking, “what else could I do today?” For the last two years I have been constantly struggling to deal with the mountain that was on my plate, and so the notion of asking for more seemed utterly insane!

But here I was, with space, a lack of ‘tense’ in my body and a true willingness for more.

I said at the beginning of this article that I have never worked this hard in my life – if I make work ‘hard’ then yes, it is ‘hard.’

It really is that simple; a choice to choose self and thus to stay in-tense, or a choice to accept and appreciate how much more powerful I am, and how we are designed to work and how true evolution comes from saying yes to more.

And now, with this new learning, I am seeing that there is room for loads more and that fills me with great joy.


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Work stressExhaustion

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    By Otto Bathurst, Film Director

    Successful job, family, house, car, friends. What I am really interested in is re-discovering more and more of the tenderness and fragility that I have discarded along the way and seeing that these are in fact the strengths that make a true man.

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    Photography: James Tolich