One Too Many Things
Being busy - it’s an old and boring story I’ve been telling people for years and one which I’m ready to re-write. I think it’s safe to say that like most of you, I “do” too much. I thought it might be a useful exercise to ask myself why. Here is what I came up with:
1. I absolutely love my life. I love my work. I love my family and the activities I pursue with my family. I love my friends and my communities. There is a lot to love. And so I over-engage with everything without saving time for nothing. Between all of the books and articles I’ve been reading along with my own experience, I’m starting to truly understand the importance of saving time for nothing. It is in the spaciousness of nothing, that my nervous system shifts, I feel more present, my imagination stirs, and I feel more alive. It's also where I get my best ideas.
2. I’m not good at saying no because I hold the false belief that I need to “earn my keep” in the world and serve in as many ways as possible regardless of my own needs. If I learn, work and serve more, eventually I will be _______ enough (smart, giving, successful - feel free to fill in the blank). And of course, I know intellectually that I am enough but that doesn’t mean I always know it in that absolute way that allows me to respond to life from that truth.
3. Despite my teaching and deep knowledge of self-care, I’m not actually that great at it. Like many of you, I have to work at it. I have to remind myself that it’s not just important that I take care of myself so that I can be a better mother and wife and teacher. It’s important because it makes me feel good. And that is enough.
4. I have a lot of ideas, and seeing those ideas come to fruition feeds me in many ways, until it doesn’t. We only have so much energy and at some point we have to admit that no matter how exciting and nourishing life may be, we are human, we get depleted and we have to respond to the needs of our bodies if we want to stay healthy.
Whew - that feels more like a confession than a reflection!
It’s funny, I started writing this piece a few days ago and I think these out-loud admissions got my inner attention. Since then I’ve felt a palpable shift. I've taken 2 yoga classes and practiced on my own, taken 2 epson salt baths, given myself 2 abhyanga massages, and received a massage. I made more space for myself than usual and created some practices to help shift some of those samskaras or patterns that lead me to “do” too much.
If you are reading this at the end of a busy day or on your way into one, consider taking a moment to pause. Notice the state of your nervous system, your energy and stress levels and the needs of your body. Acknowledge how you might respond to those needs including the possibility of scratching one thing off of your list today. Or click here and I'll guide you through a brief meditation.
Here's hoping you do one less thing today:)