Hello, dear reader! I have missed you! It has been a greater stretch of time than usual between posts, but I have to keep reminding myself that that is in fact a-okay. And in my case, it is probably a very good thing.
Something I am actively working on in my life is taking more time with things (like writing blog posts) and not rushing. I know that may sound simple or trite, but honestly, I am really struggling with it.
My daily rush generally starts pretty early. I rush to get a few things done during the quiet before my children wake. Then I rush to get them fed, out the door, and to school on time. And then I rush to cram whatever I can into those brief hours before school lets out. And then I rush to make it to pick up on time, and I rush, and I rush, and I rush. It is silly really. And wanna know what else it is?
Rushing accomplishes absolutely nothing except for making every tiny thing feel ten times harder than it has to. And weirdly, my own attempts to keep things moving along at a nice clip often causes them to take much longer than necessary. My youngest daughter illustrates this for me daily whenever I try to hurry her in getting dressed, brushing her teeth, whatever. The more I tell her to hurry, the slower she goes. And I know she isn’t doing it on purpose; it’s like the rushing actually paralyzes her.
Through observing her and paying attention to my own feelings mid-rush, I have come to realize that rushing is even more of a mental state than it is a physical one. And as such, it can so easily affect every single aspect of our lives whether we mean for it to or not.
When I first started practicing yoga a thousand years ago, classes were always at least an hour and a half long. Since then, they have shortened significantly, and in most settings I find myself in these days, classes are an hour (or maybe an hour and a quarter if I get lucky.) That is a pretty huge shift, so what exactly happened? Were we all in that big of a rush? In ten more years will most classes be just thirty minutes?
I really don’t buy the line that our lives are busier now than ever before. In fact, I find claims like that to be arrogant at best, delusional at worst. Since the beginning of time, the business of living has kept all of humanity pretty darned occupied; we aren’t all that special. But I do believe that our brains are now crammed with a lot more stuff (junk, stimuli, media, whatever you want to call it), so we have the internal, mental experience of constantly rushing between points of information and practically always falling behind.
At its best, yoga can be a wonderful antidote to this. It asks you to move slowly, to breathe slowly, and maybe even quiet your mind a little (second yoga sutra and all that). But it is sad to me that we are chipping away at the minutes we are willing to give in the space of a single class. I miss the days of ten minute savasanas, of classes that didn’t try to get your heart rate up by rushing in and out of poses, of sitting in stillness at the end of every practice. In short, I miss taking my time.
But if I am honest, I am the only one who is to blame for that. No matter how short or long a class may be, I am the one in control of whether I rush. I do not have to rush from point A to point B. I am allowed to be still and move slowly. And the same goes for teaching. Cramming as much as I possibly can into a single session is a disservice to my students. Creating space, making room for stillness, and allowing for quiet are the precious gifts they deserve.
In an earlier post, I talked about starting each class with a silent prayer for good clear boundaries. I think I will now add to that personal invocation a commitment to not rush. And whenever I notice myself rushing, I will do my best to pause. I will take a giant breath in and let a giant breath out. I will feel the ground under my feet and the air on my skin and remember how lucky I am to be alive at this sole, singular moment. And I will try my damnedest not to miss it by hurrying off to the very next thing.
Rushing gets in the way of living, and I’m ready to give it up. I think I’ll start by rewriting the story of my day without it:
I wake early. I enjoy the quiet before my children wake. I feed them, dress them, and take them to school. I fill my work day with dance and yoga and writing. I fetch my kids from school. We live, we live, we live.
That sounds pretty freaking fantastic.