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Is Productivity Overrated?

0 Heart it! Yvonne Perry 187
August 20, 2018
Yvonne Perry
0 Heart it! 187

Sitting at my desk this morning, my day off from work and a wave of guilt comes over me. I have a nagging feeling inside that I should be doing something “productive” and that I am meant to fill each moment or else I am not fulfilling my potential. I feel guilty because I only have myself to take care of, nothing to occupy my time but my own pursuits and it feels a bit frivolous at times. 

I am grateful that I do not need to work extra hours to be able to afford the things I need and want so far in this life. I do not worry about a crying toddler or a teenager who knows best but there is part of me that wonders what am I missing? Am I lacking something because I do not have children or am I just lacking stress and have free time to pursue my life passions? These are the questions I ask myself when I have free time and then I get on with it, meditate, journal, share ideas, run and do yoga with anyone who is interested because these are the activities that light me up.

“Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something” ~ Winnie the Pooh

This morning I decided to go for a run, an interval workout in Central Park. I enjoy my morning routine of meditation and journaling so I did not force myself to get out the door too early. By the time I was ready it was hot and muggy out. I started with a walk telling myself I was waiting for my watch to get GPS signal before starting. Three blocks of walking in and I got a little antsy, I wanted to get the run started so it would be done. I began to plod along, that air felt thick and my body felt sluggish. I kept on going and finally reached the park and found the spot where I planned on starting my intervals. 

I had been jogging so slow I thought I might as well just dive right into the first repeat. I started by willing my feet to move faster as I felt my arms start to work. I thought to myself I must be achieving my pace because this feels difficult, I glanced at my watch it and I was an entire minute slower than my goal and I felt quite discouraged. Must be due to the weather and I’ll just keep trying. I kept going with my intervals with 60 second rest breaks in between and I struggled to get near my goal pace for the first 6 repeats. 

About half way through the workout I decided to take a different approach to my breaks, I sat for a portion and started a slow inhale and exhale. As I was breathing in I noted to myself I am now breathing in and when breathing out I know I am breathing out, this is the practice of mindfulness taught by several meditation teachers.  The one that I listened to most recently is by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  He describes this practice beautifully as the wonder ness of connecting mind and body and you begin to be there truly as yourself, ready to encounter life in the present moment.  This was exactly what I needed, connection to the present moment and I started to enjoy the scenery, trees, grass and flowers. 

I looked down at my watch after this mindfulness break which gets easier and easier the more we practice and I decided it was time to start repeat number seven. I felt the switch immediately I realized all I had to do is move my feet faster and then my arms can come along for the ride and vice versa, I remembered to push off my feet into the earth and up out through the crown of my head.

My body felt like it was connected, gliding through space, it felt effortless. I decided I could look at my watch half way through and found I was going much faster than I expected, how the heck did that happen, I was pleased. 

With a little awareness and connection of my mind and body I felt I was doing exactly what I was meant to do. I even stayed for 12 repeats instead of the original 10 that I had planned on doing. 

“Sometimes, when I’m going somewhere, I wait. And then somewhere comes to me.” ~ Winnie the Pooh 

I think by asking ourselves questions about where and what we are meant to be doing even if we don’t get the answers the way we expect at least we know in the end that we have not just done what we think we should be doing. As my Dad wrote to me “There are no pat answers and we grow as individuals when we work at trying to figure these things out.” 

No need to feel guilty today, just grateful for this connection and the realization that we can achieve anything when we remember to listen to our bodies and connect.

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0 Heart it! Yvonne Perry 187
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