Not so long ago, upon a moment when I was throwing my hands around explaining how very tired I was and how very very busy, a dear friend suggested (ever so gently) – “Did you ever consider that you might be addicted to busy?”
So, after a string of illnesses and body frailties (for which I have no tolerance or time), I decided to dedicate some time for reflection by using what I call “The Addiction Diamond”***
I often use this with clients who are in the thick of addiction. Truth be told – the last straw for me was after being ill off and on for months (tempted to blame covid, but who knows?) I missed a Circle that I lead every Wednesday morning (that means I didn’t turn up folks) because I forgot to change my clock to daylight savings time…I know, I know, anyone could do that, but it is totally unacceptable to me and a sign I am not in my flow.
Back to the Addiction Diamond…below is a truly dreadful drawing, but you’ll get the idea.
I begin by standing in the south (the place of air and thinking) and look at the “Busy” (the object of my addiction) and ask “What do you give me?”. Busy says, “I give you financial security, a sense of self importance, a sense of purpose” (and other things, but I’m not writing a book right now, just a newsletter).
Then I move to the East (the place of water and flow and emotions) and ask Busy, “What do you protect me from?” Busy says back, straight away, “I protect you from boredom and from being a No-one…Nobody and probably from being unloved… Busy gives me love – who knew? (A childhood imprint maybe).Urgh! And other things…Busy is quite protective.
Then I move to the North (the place of fire and passion) and I ask Busy “What do you Cost me?” Busy says that this involves a rather long list which includes exhaustion, not caring for body, not taking nourishment in nature and by writing etc etc.
And then I move to the west (the place of earth and the ancestors) and I stand in my Wise Self.
This is the place of integration. Here, I can be kind to my wounds and anxieties. Here, I can think in a clear way about the needs underlying the gifts of busy, the wounds underlying the protection of busy.
There is more work to do. I will slow down. Re-create my space for walking in nature, exercising and a daily writing practice and caring for my altar. As I write this I can feel a settling in my body of gentle slowness…Which feels even better now I have finished this newsletter!
***The Addiction Diamond is a psychodramatic technique which I have adapted with gratitude from the book ‘One-to-One Psychodrama Psychotherapy: Applications and Technique’ edited by Anna Chesner. The chapter on Working with Addictions is also by Anna Chesner (Routledge 2019)