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Am I Busy or Do I Just Feel Busy?

Harried is not a great way to start a day

Do you remember the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral? Better yet, do you remember its one-word opening line? Hugh Grant opens one eye as he is fumbling for the snooze button on his alarm clock to see the time and exclaims, “F*#k!” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard before a movie even got going.

More mornings than I care to admit, I wake up feeling like there is not enough time in the day. Almost as soon as I open my eyes, I feel harried and hurried. While some days are legitimately busy – days when my schedule has me bouncing from class to appointment to meeting with fifteen minute “biology” pauses between – most are not. Most mornings, were I to take a mental “get some perspective” pause, there is plenty of time. Time to spare, even.

Self-awareness and change are not always super comfortable

I am certain that this awareness of my chronic sense of busy-ness is an uncomfortable fruit of my new year’s “space and pace” resolution – my shorthand for an intention to live at a slower pace and feel that there is more space in my days. I don’t like it. At all. The thought has crossed my mind more than once that life actually may have been easier when I was oblivious to my habitual scurrying and hurrying.

When I catch myself thinking this way, I remind myself that change is rarely if ever comfortable. The fact that I am currently not only feeling harried but am also aware that this feeling is more grounded in deeply rooted habits than in reality, is evidence that I am changing. While I might have been unaware of the toll my busy-ness was taking on me – body, mind, and spirit, it was most definitely taking an unsustainable toll.

The evolution of a practice

While my practices in January were all about managing my schedule, protecting boundaries, and learning to say both “no” and “sorry, I need to cancel,” my practice in May is different. I am currently working to stay clear-eyed as I witness the depth of my anxiety-inducing habit of busy-ness.

This is requiring some steadfastness (a “nice” word for being stubborn). It turns out I am very clever at coming up with all sorts of legitimizing reasons for feeling busy. In fact, even though I have worked hard to create space in my days, I am finding that I am much less willing to sigh with relief and stretch out into windows of spaciousness than I am to shift into hyper-drive and whiz through another afternoon.

Prosperity as a perspective

I have found support in my yoga teacher’s theme for the past month – prosperity. As I listened to her explore all the ways we can feel prosperous or poor, I began to see that my early morning feelings of being busy was a choice. I am habitually choosing to see my days from a perspective of scarcity – there is not enough time.

With practice, I see that I can just as easily choose to feel prosperous. I can look at my calendar each day and feel rich in opportunities to teach, to guide, to create, and even to rest for a few minutes. I can feel abundant in opportunities to learn when I look at the assignments on the syllabus for the course I’m in. I can look at the stack of books I want to read and feel excited.

The abundance of having plenty of time

When I am established in a perspective of prosperity (I’m still very much a work in progress), I find that I feel generous with my time and energy. For someone so accustomed to “not having time” to help, to call just to connect, or to lean into whatever is happening “here and now,” these moments of prosperity are a stunning change for me.

The gift of “space and pace,” I am learning, is not about empty space on the calendar. It is about having the sense of spaciousness that allows me to respond “YES!” to life in all its forms – my kids, my friends, my sister, my church, and so on. Being able to say yes to the things that really matter feels like more than prosperity to me – it feels like overflowing abundance.

As uncomfortable as this stage of my huge life change from busy-ness to “space and pace” is, it is worth it.  Every time I recognize that I may not actually be as harried and hurried as I feel, I get a little better at embracing a sense of spaciousness. Every time I say “YES!” to life is a reminder that this is the way I want to choose to live my life.

It never ceases to amaze how a yoga practice can create and support seismic life changes. Much of this happens “behind the scenes” of asana in the realm of yoga philosophy. If you’d like to know more about why yoga works, take a look at my Yoga Philosophy master class, my recorded class on the Yoga Sutras, or reach out to book some one-on-one sessions.