Today I have been plowing through one thing to get to the next. I am deeply immersed in the practice of busyness. It’s actually work and I often do work on the weekends in exchange for long lunches and coffee with friends during the week. But it is so beautiful out it just makes me want to weep. I have the entire house opened and I’m enjoying the fragrances, breezes and continually singing of wind chimes.
It is my nature to “get stuff done.” And it doesn’t always serve me. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t born with this desire to check things off a list; I don’t recall a chalk board with little squares hanging in my bedroom as a child. Perhaps it is not so much my nature as a skill I developed to succeed.
It has served me well and continues to for the most part. But when I am mentally perusing my imaginary list while in Yoga Nidra, there’s a problem. I feel it in my body. I’m stuck on an inhale. When I’m done – which I think we’ve established will be never – I’ll exhale.
I lose the present moment. Even if I am engaged in something I don’t find stimulating, relaxing or otherwise enjoyable I want to be in it. Laundry, “the project,” cleaning my home, driving to the store. I’m suffering horribly today from Shiny Thing Syndrome. And it’s all in my head.
I read a Facebook post recently that said something like; Replace the thought, “I don’t have time,” with “It’s not a priority.” Reframes things a little. It feels perfectly okay to say, “Laundry isn’t a priority.” But it is considerably more difficult to tell a loved one, “Talking to you right now isn’t a priority.” That stings.
The lesson for me today is to slow down. Just be present. My inclination is create a process so that I can be present. Maybe stop every hour on the hour and take a deep breath, go outside and chill for five minutes. Or maybe I could have a cup o f tea at 10 AM and 3 PM to relax. Or schedule myself blocks of time. See? Shiny Thing Syndrome. There it goes taking me away. I’m ridiculous.
One practice I may add, which will increase my H.Q. (happiness quotient), is determining each morning what that One thing is I really want to do. I usually use this magical thing as a reward for getting the “stuff” done. But there is always more stuff to do. And I deny myself the reward or it becomes just one more thing to get done.
Instead, I will make whatever it is I land on as my happy place my priority. Maybe that means doing it first. Enjoying it with the freshness and newness of the day. Or it could be a welcome break in the day or a way to wind down in the evening.
The to do list is cellular at this point. As my cells regenerate over 7 years perhaps this need will slough off with the epithelials revealing new present living cells. But until that time I can use the priority tactic to plan my day. And as I begin to tell someone I don’t have time, or look at the number on my ringing phone and groan, I’ll check it against that priority yard stick as well.
Another little reminder: Wherever you are, be all there. Working on it.
[Photo: Trying to capture the pretty purple flower with the wind blowing was a test in patience and presence.],