It’s a bit of a miracle that I’m writing this blog, because I was pretty sure I’d never find the opportunity. This time of year—during the holidays—I, like so many people, have been spinning out of control. I’ve taken on way more than I can realistically handle, and I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet!
As a yogini, I like to think I am calm, centered, focused, balanced and that I would never stress out, throw a temper tantrum, cry from frustration or exhaustion, stub my toe because I wasn’t looking, lose important papers or objects, forget to do the laundry, run out of decaf, or be late with a writing deadline. But this week, I’ve done all of these things and more (or less), and not in a very yogi-esque manner. I didn’t even finish the book I was reading for my book club meeting. For shame! (My excuse was that I had six other books I was reading that I had to review for work, but hey… “Excuses are self abuses” as Kundalini yoga master Yogi Bhajan liked to say).
I was beating myself up about all this the other day on the phone to my best friend (I had taken a ten minute break from the madness to call her as we hadn’t talked in more than a week), when she suggested that I might fix myself a cup of tea and take a relaxing bath. What a novel idea! Of course, I never got to it, but I did come up with a nifty concept for slowing down: I decided to take an ax to my overflowing to do list. One side now says, “MUST do today,” and the other side says, “SHOULD do today.”
It’s amazing how many things were on that should do list—far more than I could ever possibly accomplish between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight. But the must do list was much more manageable. In fact, the very next day I got everything done that absolutely HAD to be done. The rest of the stuff will just have to wait.
My point? Why do we put so much on our own shoulders? Most of the things I have to accomplish (both work-wise and personal-life wise) between now and December 25th are self-imposed or are the result of me either taking on too much, being unwilling to say “no,” or expecting more of myself than is reasonable or necessary.
Last week, at an early morning yoga class the teacher said, “You can take this hour for yourself.” Those words resonated with me. Yes, it’s okay to take one hour out of the day just for you. Stop spinning. Stop worrying. Stop doing. We are human beings, after all, not spinning tops.
As a writer, I have a tendency to kill myself over meeting deadlines (why do they call it a deadline, after all?). But sometimes, like everyone else, we yogis need to take our own advice. Slow down, smell the roses, and just breathe.