While skiing on the slopes recently, I was relishing the fresh powder and the fact that I was, well, skiing.
Thoughts of work, of bills to pay and decisions to be made back home were merely fleeting thoughts and far, far away if they were present at all.
I was on vacation, enjoying friends, challenging my body to move, experiencing nature and the changes in the weather each day. I experienced permission to be on vacation, to ‘vacate’ my common concerns and be in relaxation mode.
Yet later, upon return to ‘daily life,’ all the stops were gone! Or as a colleague noted, “vacation seems so far away when you come back to a busy schedule.”
Perhaps you’ve had an experience like this yourself, one where just when you think you’re settling in to a nice rhythm or pace, relishing that nice relaxed feeling you experienced over the weekend or on vacation, and then ‘poof,’ it’s gone! You’re left to find yourself already into next week!
Once catapulted into next week, you may’ve found yourself staring squarely at a long to-do list, eyeing all the things you believe you must do. Overwhelming. Those pleasant moments from your weekend or vacation have ceased to exist except upon later review with friends.
Time is a construct that we use to orient our lives (an extremely helpful one at that!) yet we’re often overwhelmed by time.
We either try to ‘hold onto’ those moments of relaxation or reflection, those feelings of well-being, or, having given up our lives, we try to manage, structure or control the minutes and seconds of ‘our’ time. This is a thankless, impossible prospect, yet one most of us try on a daily basis.
We’ve bought into this notion that ‘I don’t have enough time,’ or ‘there’s simply too much to do.’ Having been fully seduced by this belief, we fall prey to its implications.
Do any of the statements below sound familiar?
- I must cram my day full of all that I must do, and I will rush around to make sure it’s all complete
- I try to control every detail in managing my tasks and time
- I throw up my hands, clearly letting things go, only to later to doubt myself and my decisions
- Lastly, I drop down, exhausted, and resign myself to what seems the inevitable: there just is not enough time for all I have to do. Period.
And, as a result, it must mean something about me that I cannot manage, control, complete all that’s scheduled for the day.
This is where we get stuck.
Instead of being in this moment, we think we ought to be somewhere else, doing something else—at the meeting, the soccer game, making dinner–and we’re gaming how to get all the stuff in our lives done.
What other decisions could we possibly make?
Well, we could stop to examine the assumption that any of it has to do with ‘doing’ or ‘getting stuff done’ at all.
Right Now . . .
in reading this, and feeling it resonate in your body, realize that you actually have another option (this will only take a few minutes, I promise).
Stand up, take a deep breath, step one step back and take another breath. Feel fully into your self, your body, and if you like, take yet another breath and another step back.
Next, from this vantage point, a few steps back and with a bit more breath to support you, what do you notice going on in your body? Your thinking? Your mood?
Ask,who actually sets the busy schedule? Who organizes around it? What determines who listens to the schedule? Can you allow yourself to simply be?
What if it’s not that we don’t have enough time at all, rather that we fill our lives so full, without permission to ‘not do,’ that we lose sight of this very moment to actively choose to live in a relaxed state–now.
What if the thing to work with is not time, elusive as it can seem, but our self-awareness in this moment?
What to do . . . now
Commit to pausing each day, at least three times, for a few minutes each time. Tune into your body. See if you can bring a bit of ease to your self in those moments.
Notice the impact of this simple practice, on your energy, your mood.
Maybe it really is possible to be on vacation every day. I’m counting on it!