This morning, I sat in bed, taking it more slowly than I usually do.
I felt tired, so I rested more. I meditated.
I decided I’d start work a little later than usual.
As I sat there, I observed that familiar underlying sense of urgency—the feeling of having to get things done, having to fit things in at a certain time, the uncomfortable thoughts of how I’d get my hours in if I started work later than usual.
And as I watched, as I observed, I understood and felt into how so much of this pressure is self-imposed—how I do it to myself.
I don’t have to, for example, start work at a certain time—that’s my own internal decision.
I felt tired, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to work productively, which is why I took more time to rest. I knew that if I could get into a softer, more centered state, then everything would flow more nicely—it would feel better.
I also knew that if I tried to work at that usual early time, I’d feel too tired and would need another break. I could see it all play out, feel how it would feel in my body—I’ve done that so many times before.
So, today, I took my time, spent a little longer…moving slowly, softly, connecting to me.
I still felt a little of that underlying discomfort, but I watched it. That place inside of me needs to know that it’s okay to not stick rigidly to (self-imposed) schedules—just because it’s routine.
It’s not necessary.
And as I took my time, it reminded me of a feeling that I long to have—softness, slowness, openness. Centerdness. The understanding that I have time.
As we slow down—as we give ourselves permission to slow down—we can see it: how so much of our stress comes from ourselves. From our own thoughts, plans, expectations.
And if that’s the case, then we can soften around it.
Yes, there are things we have to do, and sometimes those things will take up a lot of time, but maybe we can soften around and with and through those things too.
I wrote a poem:
She remembered what it felt like to have space
time to linger
to move slowly
to not rush
or to try to fit everything in.
She remembered what it felt like
for just a few moments,
a few breaths,
to sit in space
feeling the wide-open space of spaciousness.
She remembered what it felt like to know
that she had space.
Each hour, each moment,
without feeling guilty or antsy that there was something
she had to get done.
That she had to fit it all in
wondering, worrying, obsessing about
how to get it all in.
She remembered what that vast open feeling
The way that it felt.
For a few moments, she lingered
longer than usual.
She sat and she felt it—
the feeling of that space.
She remembered what it felt like
to breathe in that wide-open space.
I know that there are days when we do have to rush and try to fit things in. I know that not every day will be slow or soft. I know that sometimes we will have a lot to do.
And I also know that I like to work, and I like to do things.
There are a lot of things I want to do.
I just want to do them with softness, presence, centeredness.
It’s too easy to get into a frantic kind of go-go-go state, or to try to get moving without truly feeling centered first.
So much of the stress that we feel in our days is due to ourselves—due to our own expectations. We stress ourselves out.
When I finally started work earlier, I felt centered. Peaceful. Ready to work.
Ready to be productive.
I felt awake.
And ready for this day.