Sometimes everything feels like it's moving so fast, I spend days not quite catching up with emails, phone calls, class planning, relaxed time with my family, cleaning, paying bills, (realizing this list could just go on and on and on!). . . When I've got a day off, I'm tempted to spend it catching up, but I know better. There's no such thing as catching up! These days are too important to give them over to trying to catch up, so I devote them to finding my center again.
While I take a 'pause day,' I remember that my mind isn't paused yet, it's still in 'go' mode. With a spacious day to myself, my mind fills with all of my unmet needs, like a flood of tangled up wants and should's. I'm realizing that it's enough to notice that. I don't need to expect my mind to relax and savor the day yet, I'm just creating the space for that to happen. I pause and notice, feeling the clamoring inside me.
Some ways I'm building a pause into my life:
Waking up. I am taking a few moments to just breathe before I open my eyes. I'm also practicing gratitude, thinking of several things I'm grateful for before I even get out of bed.
Quiet lunch. I had gotten into the habit of catching up on emails or other work at lunch, and it's been hard to break the habit. Lately I've been setting the meditation timer on my phone and putting it (and all other electronics) across the room. If it's a busy day, I set the timer for as long as I can spend on lunch, and on a more relaxed day I just choose how long I want. Then I treat lunch as a meditation, I eat mindfully, intentionally practice kindness toward myself, and just notice how I'm feeling.
Walking. I really like to walk to work and to do my errands on foot, but when I feel busy it's easy to drive instead. I've gotten back into the habit of walking, building in the extra time, knowing it's good for my body and my mind.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.