Right now, I should be sat at my desk at work, reading emails and drinking a cup of tea ready to start the first day of the new half term. Instead, I am lying in bed, writing my cover lessons, feeling guilty for having taken the day off. I woke up at 4 am this morning feeling sick and ended up collapsing on the bathroom floor. After a couple of hours of sleep, I did feel a bit better and had already decided that I would be going into work as normal. My husband, thankfully, convinced me that I needed to stay home and focus on getting better. I reluctantly agreed and now sit here with the guilt of not only missing the first day back at school but also 2 Yoga classes this evening. I know that there is nothing to feel guilty about putting my health first – I know the school will continue to run without me and my yogis will still get a great class with another teacher – and yet the feeling is still there.
I spent a little time reflecting on why I felt ill this morning. I often have bad reactions to food and had eaten out a lot over the last couple of days, so it’s most likely that. However, my husband thinks it might be my bodies way of telling me to slow down. I have just come to the end of a wonderful, but very busy half term that included teaching 8 Yoga classes over 2 days, teaching a Yoga workshop and a Yoga brunch and attending a Sober Rave in London (which was amazing!) among the usual half-term to-do list (MOT, class planning, house cleaning etc). Whilst I did find some time to relax with my husband, he did point out to me that I just don’t know how to relax. I cram my schedule with so many things and feel this urge to be busy all of the time – almost to the point of showing off and feeling pride in just how busy I am. Whilst I do love all the things I am doing and all the incredible opportunities that are coming my way, I am realizing more and more the importance of just slowing down and taking a few moments to breathe and to just be a human being, not a human doing!
During a long chat recently with my wonderful caterers, I realised that in my head, I was responding to their concerns about my wellbeing and my packed schedule with the phrase “I’m not THAT busy”. So that inspired me to sit and write out my schedule for a typical week. Whilst it may seem obvious to most people, that activity made me realise that I am essentially doing two full-time jobs and leaving myself very little ‘me time’ to just relax, catch up with friends, or most importantly, spend time with my husband.
I actually find it very hard to relax. During the half term, I agreed that for just one day, I wouldn’t do anything ‘work-related’ including yoga class planning, organising events, etc. After a beautiful walk with my husband, I came home and immediately my mind switched to “I could just do a load of washing” and “I could make a start on that Exercise to music coursework” etc – I obviously decided to do none of those things and relax on the sofa with my hub – but as I did this, I realised my mind was not in the present moment and was instead thinking about upcoming events, ideas for Yoga workshops, when I was going to get the shower cleaned, what I needed to pack for London, etc! I wonder why I find it so hard to switch off?
I read a quote in the book I am reading that really struck a chord with me:
Most of the time, most of the people we meet are at best only partially engaged in the moment. And often we find people (or ourselves) lost in thought or reverie—barely here at all. How often we miss the moment simply because we’re not here. We tune out much of the world—and much of ourselves as well…And generally we don’t even realize how removed we are from what is going on
This is so true for me so much of the time. So often my mind is focused on the future – planning yoga classes, booking in my next event, worrying about the assembly I have coming up etc. Planning is important, but I shouldn’t be focused on that all the time – the present moment is the only moment there is and I don’t want to waste that away by always living in the future. One of the few situations in life where I am fully present is when I am teaching Yoga – I am fully in the moment, enjoying the process and the connection with others. I guess that’s one of the ways I know I have found my true passion! I find doing my own Yoga and meditation practice really helps me to be present too, though I am finding it increasingly more difficult to fit this into my daily schedule.
So, I guess the take-away from all of this is I need to learn to slow down. I accept that my schedule is busy and there is little I can do to change that for the next few months, but within that busyness I need to learn to be present, to enjoy each passing moment and be grateful for all the wonderful opportunities that are coming my way. I need to learn to not fill all the gaps in my calendar and do more of the activities that help me relax, unwind and appreciate the simpler, slower-paced things in life.