I've started to read the many responses from last week's "two questions" letter. And, wow you guys delivered.
It seems like many of us are struggling with "time." We don't feel like we have enough of it. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, right? So why does it seem like she can make time for yoga twice a week or he can make a nutritious dinner almost every night, when I'm over here scrambling to get to work, to finish all of my work, and to shuttle the kids to all of their 38,000 extracurricular activities?
Is the problem really that we don't have enough time? Is the problem productivity? Is the problem time management? Is the problem that we actually have too much time? Is the problem we're not making time for that which is important to us? I have A LOT to say on this topic, and I'll dive further in over the next couple months, but let's revisit a letter from two or so years ago.
I listened to a podcast recently where the host said that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, even Beyonce. If she can use her 24 hours to make record-breaking hits, eat healthy food, go on tour, exercise, spend time with her family, and still look put together, then surely I'm doing something wrong.
And, then I thought...UM NO. I love Beyonce (and Jay-Z, too), but I’m pretty sure girl’s got a chef, probably a personal assistant, maybe a nanny, maybe a coach or trainer. She has more time to work on her craft. And, that's awesome. I'm all for hiring out help. But, I personally don’t have all that support. And, you? You may not either. So what to do?
We must pay attention to how we spend our time. Time can feel like it’s constantly slipping away and that we never have enough of it. But, what if we have too much on our minds and simply too much “to-do?” Too much to do that doesn't even reflect our values? And, what are our values? What's important to you? Eckhart Tolle talks about this. He says, that he doesn't think we have so much "to-do." He believes that our minds are simply too full and always racing (cue monkey mind). A constantly racing mind has a hard time being present with the only moment we have, which is now. Time slips away. And, not having "enough time" can make us feel like we're constantly running, moving, doing, but for what?
"If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place." - Eckhart Tolle
This quote reminds me of Brahmacharya, one of the Yamas in our practice. Brahmacharya invites us to embrace what makes us truly happy and to clear the clutter, the excess, while also making time to connect with our individual "self." This is the "inside" work Eckhart refers to. I understand a full plate - really, I do. We're moving to Providence. We're in the process of selling our house in Lewisburg. I'm hiring new staff. I'm still teaching classes and private sessions. I'm writing and working on getting published. I'm still nursing and pumping. I'm chasing/crawling after a 12 month old.
But, NONE of us are too busy to make time for OURSELVES. If you don't you'll start to feel overworked, overtired. You'll start to notice chronic pains and inflammation, you'll be irritable, you might get sick. That's excess in your life. The inside isn't right.
Today, I encourage you to take five minutes and reflect on your values and how you want to feel.What is important to you THE MOST? Write down five values (creativity, personal wellbeing, travel, dinner with my family, etc.). Then, write down five feelings you want to embody everyday (inspired, joy, love, patience, etc.). Do these values and feelings reflect how you're living right now, today? Are there "things" and "to-do's" in your life that don't necessarily reflect those values? Could you give some of them up? Simplify? Clear the excess and make more time for what matters?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We have the power to decide how we live them (chef or no chef). Make time for what matters. Slowly start clearing away the excess. Yes, I know it can be hard. Yes, I hear some of the protests now. We have jobs to get to, kids to drop off, parents to care for, but there are choices underneath of all of that. Dig deep. Stay tuned, dear readers. I'll follow up with more posts and conversations on the topic of time. If this message touches you in any way, please share with a friend and write to me with your thoughts.
P.S. I thought about how I could express my gratitude to you as we prepare for this big move to Providence. What better way than getting as many of my favorite people as I can into one room? Please come practice with me for a "Farewell, but Not Goodbye" yoga class on Monday, September 10 at 5:45 p.m. over at Iron Front. I hope to see as many of you there. You've enriched my life these past three years beyond measure...but remember this isn't goodbye. ;)