February 25, 2011

Busy is a state of mind

My yoga practice has taught me so much about slowing down, not being reactive and paying attention to my life.  I am currently leading a 6-week Yoga & Wellness session focusing on practicing on and off the mat.  In the weekly sessions participants reflect on core values and beliefs, consider if they want to make changes to live in alignment with their values and beliefs, and contemplate what it means to live life on purpose.   When I lead workshops it is not uncommon for me to become a student as well – and this past week I saw an opportunity to think about what is important to me, related to how I spend my time, as I was evaluating if I am living on purpose.

Early this week Way sent an email to ele contributors who have not posted recently.  I replied that it was my intention to post more often and in a few weeks life would slow down for me, allowing time for more frequent postings.  Way suggested I write about being busy.  In the very instant I read his response, I had a moment of clarity:  I am not so busy that I cannot write a blog, I am choosing to do other things with my time. I constantly say how busy I am and how things will slow down and, by golly, they never really do.  (PS… I realize that continuing to say how busy I am is creating more of THAT  —  I’m working on catching myself and reframing!)

We constantly make choices about how we spend our time.  Think about it – when we really want to make room for something in our life, we find the time… don’t we?  I’m not stating I did not want to blog, but I realized perhaps the hours I spend watching American Idol, or trolling Facebook, may be better served writing.  Writing is important to me and so, what is the problem?  The problem is sometimes my priorities are screwed up.  OK, I may not give up American Idol, but I can explore how I am spending my time, shuffle priorities, let some things go, and make time for writing and other things that feed my soul.

We are all busy.  Busy with families.  Busy with work.  Busy serving the community.   Busy, busy, busy.  We must make a conscious choice to slow down and reflect on how we want to spend our time.  By really paying attention perhaps we change it up a bit so we are doing things that really matter most to us and over time, perhaps we make a commitment to be less busy, and just be.  Right now, it may seem like an overwhelming prospect.  We may feel there are things we need to do, that we cannot let go of even if we want to.  It’s a process.  Over time we can make small changes that are more closely aligned with what we want for our life….. moving in the direction of how we want spend our time.  We can also recognize that spending time doing things we really do not want to do is an opportunity to examine whether or not it is a lesson presenting itself and, perhaps, either make a change or change the way we are looking at the situation.

Wayne Dyer says “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”

In a recent interview President Obama said he does his best to wake up early every day to shoot hoops, or some other physical activity, and that every evening he plans to have dinner with his family.  We can all agree he is a busy man, right?  We can understand that some days he may not work out and some days he may miss dinner with his girls, but it is his priority to make those things happen as frequently as possible.

I am not knocking being busy – busy can be good, busy can be productive and the result of busyness can often create all kinds of good outcomes.  What I believe can be helpful is for us to periodically evaluate how we spend our time, noticing if we are in alignment with our core values and beliefs and to how we want to be in the world.

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