Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Pointed Effort to Enjoy the Meat in the Middle

Do you find yourself continually rushing off from Point A to Point B? Do you feel like you don't have enough time to do all that you'd like to do? Overcommitted? Locked into a gruesome schedule out of necessity?

I can definately offer a resounding "AYE!" for that last one.

I think most folks who truly know me would consider me to be an open, friendly person. I have no qualms talking with people and sharing conversation of a personal kind. Despite this outward-reaching quality, I can also be surprisingly introverted in a way that causes me to quietly sit back and notice things--to make observations and allow my mind to take me on an internally busy and ever-branching mental journey. Something I've noticed in particular lately that people are not only fraught with the heavy load of a full calendar but they are rushing at break-neck pace from one destination to the other with blinders on to the reality all around them along the way. This saddens me.

There are certainly times when we have to boogy along to get to where we need to be. I can relate to this all to well. I usually am blessed with being able to work fulltime as a subsitute teacher and then have about an hour in between the time I leave school and the time I need to head out for job #2. I'm eager to get home after the night job and get cozied in for the brief bit of rest before the workday cycle starts all over again. I'm often rushed on weekends to squeeze in whatever activities we have lined up along with the basic housework that I'm not able to complete during the work week. Monday arrives all too soon. Time is a precious commodity, that's for sure! I don't often have the luxury of a couple of hours of 'playtime' but there is still plenty of 'meat in the middle--' plenty of space between Point A and Point B--to at least PAUSE to smell the roses if not to alltogether stop.

What can we do to ensure that we're not becoming robotic and rude and missing the whole reason for which we were created? (As much as it FEELS as if we were created to work like dogs to pay the bills we're really all gathered on this beautiful planet to enjoy relationships of all levels with the people we cohabitate the planet with)! Well, I've been making a point of getting back into practicing yoga regularly and it, along with pointed prayer to our Father above, has been opening my mind and my eyes to some suggestions:

~Make a point of making eye contact with those you pass and offering up a 'Hello' as you pass. It can be quick but make it genuine.

~Stop for a few words when you can afford a minute. Again, make it genuine and heartfelt and about something other than the blasted weather for goodness sake!

~As you walk or drive from where you're coming from to where you're going make a point of really looking around you and NOTICING things around you. Take off those blinders. Walk with a quickened pace if you must but put some expression into your face (other than grumbly-faced) and notice the colors, architecture, lighting, activity around you and interact with folks as you cross paths.

~If you have to commute (like I do for the evening job), grab a book on CD and enrich your mind by listening to a narrated story or enriching book of some kind. I've really enjoyed this and am currently working through Lord of the Flies, narrated by the author (haven't read that since junior high or high school)!

~Take a candid look at your calendar. You might actually be able to free up some time for bits of fellowship with friends during time slots you previously felt were booked. I'm trying to coordinate such a thing with some of my friends from the school...even a 1/2 hour-45 minutes once a week to do a brief yoga video with some chitchat during would be a wonderful and restorative respite.

~OF GREAT IMPORTANCE: Find some sort of outlet (I emphasize here that they be positive in in not turning to alchohol or kicking the dog) for your stress so that you will be more open to a positive outlook. I truly find regular yoga practice to be an activity that strengthens my body, helps me become flexible but ALSO helps me become and remain centered and at peace. I have numerous yoga-related workouts available through my BeachBody site and can steer you in the right direction for the dvd(s) most appropriate for you.

There are other ideas. I'm sure you can even drop some suggestions in a comment below (I'd welcome them)! The point is, we all get so bogged down in our schedules and underneath whatever challenges are currently stressing us and pushing us to our limits. The key is to not let these things control us and lead us into making decisions that alienate us from what really counts. When all is said and done and we reach that point in our lives when we're nearing the end do you really think we're going to look back and say, "Wow! I'm so glad I raced my way through life so that I could get to where I was going as quickly as I could!" or are you going to remember all of the special moments you shared--both with family AND with friends--long-lasting as well as brief? Some of the beautiful friendships you end up making may very well find their conception in one of those brief passings where you take the time to say 'Hello, how are you today?'

If you think you're already a positive, upbeat and friendly person then SUPER! But you might want to do a reality check from time to time like I do to be sure that what people actually see from the outside is in alignment with how you consider yourself to be. Certain stresses and projects have occasionally shoved a nasty mask on my head. Often we take it out on the ones we love the most. I like to strive to remain very present and aware and not get suffocated with thoughts of the past or of the future. It's not that we should never ponder these things. Rather, its a matter of proportion. Let the present and a state of positivity be your driving force and your goal.

~Think about it~ Wishing joyful moments to you all. As always, I'm here for motivation and support if you need it. ~~Slainte~~