Do you find yourself disappointed when your self-care practices fall by the wayside?
When life becomes overflowing with projects and responsibilities to others, do your favorite activities seem to sink to the bottom of the to-do list? Do you forget to eat? Have trouble getting to sleep? Watch another day go by without exercise or play?
Yep, these things happens to all of us. It's not easy maintaining a routine as life has a natural tendency towards entropy. And sometimes, you just simple feel "too busy" to keep up with all of your good intentions. Darn.
Rest assured that when we don't follow our best intentions, when days go by without getting on our mat or out into nature, when our belly feels the results of dietary missteps, know that the lack of doing creates a very clear mirror into which we can see just how important the "doing' makes us feel. Therefore, NOT PRACTICING IS A PRACTICE.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of my most beloved mentors, states in his book WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE, "Everytime you come back to your practices, you see the effect of not having done them for a while. So in a way you learn more by coming back to them than you would by just keeping them up.".
The stories I hear and experience myself point to this as truth. When we feel the results of not practicing our wellness routines, we discover why they are so important. It's that proverbial saying about 'putting on you your own oxygen mask before anything else." You're much more effective when you are safe, healthy and clear headed.
How much difference do you find in the ways you feel and handle stress when you are into your daily disciplines and when you are not? How do you carry yourself in your body when you avoid the yoga mat and forget to breathe deeply and evenly? How does the lack of regular exercise affect your anxiety about time and achieving results? Do your relationships take on a different tone when you prioritize your own basic wellness routine?
I'm certain we all have the benefit of reflection. Of course, it's only helpful when we notice our responses through the course of our days. When we are sensitive and truthful about what we are witnessing. Therein lies the power of the pause. Noticing the little things that add up to something much bigger makes all the difference in the world.
I returned home late last night after a long day at YMWA wherein I had originally planned to write, catch up on emails, and tackle some behind-the-scenes projects. However, instead, I was flooded with visitors stopping in, conversations running longer than anticipated, and immediate problems to resolve. I also attended an event that we were hosting, staying after to help clean up and mingle with several new acquaintances, sharing stories and discovering our 2 degrees of separation.
As I walked up the sidewalk to my front door in the warm evening air, my mind was flooded with all that I had NOT done in the day. As I stepped through the threshold into my darkened home, thank goodness, my higher (Buddhi) mind lit up, and loudly declared that "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans." I smirked at myself getting caught up in my own busy-ness and almost missing the sweet moments that had unfolded.
My body immediately released its grip of tension. I then poured a cup of hot tea and sat down on the couch by the fire to bask in gratitude for all that the day brought forth. Instead of writing, I shared conversation and laughter. Instead of emails, I enjoyed new personal connections. Instead of completing projects on the computer, I was available to help others in the moment in real time.
Remembering that my ultimate practice is to live in the present, this was my own wake up call to live more fully with deep appreciation for the twists and turns that become our life. And yes, I was back to mat this morning, refining my ability to remain present and feel into the little things that become a life well live.
If you’re in that place of needing to reboot your self-care, restart your yoga, or simply reawaken your keen awareness to how you really feel, reach out directly. I'd love to support you in dialing in one small action that will have you back on track with a daily practice of your own. It's the little things that count.
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