GETTING OFF THE HAMSTER WHEEL
NOVEMEBER 11, 2009: Lately when I've asked my friends how they are, they are answering with one word: BUSY! While Nature is pulling into it's core during November, completely shedding all that isn't essential, us humans go into a frenzy, as we begin to prepare for the holiday season. My family was sick last week and my to do list just kept growing. So now I am back on it, trying to tackle all that had built up so fast and I can find myself feeling overwhelmed at times. How do we find peace especially during times of extreme busyness? .
I found a sweet article in this month's Yoga Journal that addresses this very question. In the article by Sally Kempton called, Busyness Plan, she writes about idea of external and internal busyness. External busyness is when we simply have a lot on our plate to accomplish; there is a project due at work, you are having people over for a party, your kids need you to be at 4 places at the same time. She says this kind of busyness, which is essentially the juggling of your life, can be managed. In contrast, the idea of internal busyness is a busyness that manages you, since this is when we are in a constant state of busyness even when we do have a spare moment. It is the idea that you are filling up your time with tasks non-stop even when you don't really have to. She asks the question: What do you do when you have a few extra moments in your day? Do you run to the blackberry, reach for a dishrag, start organizing something, or do you take a few moments to take a few breaths, rest, meditate, stretch and perhaps find a little space in your mind?
It really comes down to our own attitudes about time and whether we see life as abundant or deficient in time. We are taught that time is scarce and that a truly "good" day is when we accomplish as much as we can. There is little attention given to the HOW we lived our day. Were we kind? Did we enjoy ourselves? Did we give others our full attention? Were we open to be surprised, humbled and enthusiastic by what the day offered to us?
Sally Kempton recommends 2 types of yoga to help us find more peace in the midst of busy lives. First, is an inner practice that takes you into your center, either through meditation, pranayama or asana. The idea is to create these little micro-moments of space during your day. By creating the space, you can be more present to yourself, which allows you the opportunity to make better life enhancing choices for yourself and others. You might have felt this when your day "flows" a little better if you go to a yoga class in the morning. The second type of yoga she recommends is more demanding since it involves keeping this sense of spaciousness with you for your whole day. She mentions the story of 2 monks: one is sweeping, while the other is scolding him since he is losing time for meditation. The sweeping monk answers, "There is one inside me who is not busy!" The idea here is that we can be in the center point, or the madhya (the gap, the pause, the middle) in every moment. We can even turn our yoga class into one more thing we have to do and perform, instead of coming into it as a wonderful, joyful opportunity to find witness connection, balance and peace through our bodies.
"The true skill in action is a natural fluidity that arises when you can act from the perspective of the one who is not busy. The one who is not busy is free in all her actions because she knows that she is untouched by the action and it's results. She is the witness of the action. When the action is happening, she can sit back and allow it to take place." -Sally Kempton
So please join me for a yoga class this week. We'll try a few micro-meditations that you can have in your toolbox when life gets overwhelming. I want to thank my tby teammates Nancy and Jill for subbing for me last Wednesday and allowing me the time to heal myself and my family. Thank you!! Namaste. Mara