There is time.
It’s one of the first mantras I created when I began meditating years ago. Relaxation was a dirty little word that didn’t frequent my vocabulary. I didn’t watch television for fear of the heavy blanket of guilt that would wrap itself around me. After all, wasn’t there something more productive I could be doing? I spent my time working, whether it was at my office or my home. And if I wasn’t working, I should be working out. And if I wasn’t working out, I should be studying or learning how to do something new. In my mind, relaxation was the period of time that followed living. It was an activity which lived by another name – death.
Being overly productive left me feeling satisfied, in part, but in a larger part, bitter (and utterly exhausted). I found myself feeling negatively toward people who told me about movies or shows they had watched or books they had read simply for pleasure, or stories about doing “absolutely nothing” for an entire weekend. It seemed that I always had a to-do list that, when stretched out, would span from the base to the tip of Mt. Everest.
Why couldn’t I do nothing?
It’s taken me so long to realize the true importance of finding balance in everything I do. And that included learning how to give myself permission to relax. Permission to do nothing. And not just do nothing, but truly enjoy it. Embrace it. Sink down into it and float in that fluffy nothingness.
Today is no different than my former days. My list of wants and goals and dreams still spans a seemingly infinite space. But what has changed is my understanding of life. And what living truly means.
A well-balanced soul should, no matter how young or old, go to bed each and every night wholly satisfied with who they are and where they are at, and yet also eager and excited to reach for something new, should they be lucky enough to be granted another day to achieve it. We will always have a mountain of things to achieve and accomplish. But we may not always have a mountain of time to enjoy it all. Life is short. Be careful not to forget that along the way.
I haven spoken before about the importance of not lingering in our yesterdays for too long; those are merely memories. It is also equally important not to linger in the days that have yet to come; those are merely dreams. The only time life truly exists is our present. And how very little time most of us actually spend here.
We live, unfortunately, in a society that has taught us to cram as much as we can into every moment of our every day. And you would think this would be a good thing. That we would be cramming more “life” into our days. But it would seem that so many of us are doing the opposite.
We sacrifice our health and wellbeing and happiness by not allowing enough time to exercise, to eat properly prepared meals, to spend time with our loved ones and our friends, and to take time to rest. All because we want to do everything and have everything now, now, now! But the sad part is, we end up doing a lot of those things not as well as we could. If we only just learned to realize our limitations. And embrace them in a positive way.
I’m still only just adjusting to the realization that I am, in fact, just a human. Not a machine. With each breath that I take, I have had to realize there is time. There is time for this breath. This moment. If I am cooking dinner, it means I cannot be writing or running or cleaning the bathroom. And that’s okay. In that breath, I am cooking. Not all the breaths of my life can be taken at once. But over time. And they should each be savored.
I struggle on some days to juggle all the things that I have going on. I work full time. I go to school part time. I’m working on launching my own business in the next year and a half. I am writing a novel. Outlining the next one. I love to read. I want to get back into knitting. I love cooking. I love sleeping! I love my nightly long walks with my husband. But I can’t do it all every day! I can’t. And you know what? That’s okay.
I have (mostly) learned that there will be days (maybe even weeks or months) that I simply cannot do some of the things I enjoy that are lower down on my priority list (like getting back into knitting or canning, etc.). Reading for pleasure often takes a backseat because my reading time is spent diving into books for school. And when I’m done, my eyes are tired. And all I want to do is curl up next to my husband, melt into our couch, and get lost in another world on TV. And you know what? That’s okay.
There are some weeks where I can read for pleasure and school, take my walks, write in my books, work on my business plan, clean the house, cook fancy meals three times a day, and still have time to watch some TV. But then there will be weeks like the past two weeks. Where I am afforded a rare two weeks off from school. And I didn’t read for pleasure. Didn’t write in my book. But walked and cooked and ate and enjoyed a new (to me) series on television.
And you know what? Both of those extremes are okay.
That’s life. Even the sun and moon adjust their schedules during the year. Shouldn’t we allow ourselves to do the same?
There is time. And that time should be savored. Enjoyed. One breath at a time. Whatever you are doing in that breath. Do it spectacularly. Even if it’s brushing your teeth or walking your dog or creating a cure for cancer. Focus on that breath and that breath alone. And be satisfied with it. Don’t worry in this breath about what you didn’t do in the last and what you hope to do in the next. Because you’ve just now missed a few breaths. A few precious, rare moments of now. Of your life.
It’s an amazing thing, relaxing. The moment I started embracing it more, the more productive I actually became. The more happy I became. My wants and dreams and desires actually came into a sharper focus. And I had all this energy because I allowed my batteries to fully recharge instead of charging them just enough to avoid being empty.
Give yourself permission to be a human. To say yes to some things and no to others. Strip away the heavy cloak of guilt. Stop comparing yourself to others. And instead of focusing on the things you didn’t do, focus on the things you did. Live and learn. But, yes, LIVE. Breathe. And be happy. And remember…