The One Thing You Probably Aren't Doing (and really should)
I was once asked in an interview about my “action-oriented personality”. Like, if I have a propensity to go-go-go and do-do-do, how am I going to shut the eff up and hear the people? #gotothegemba Do the quiet, empathetic, active listening thing?
My first reaction was, no worries, I do yoga. Listen, I’m all about the power-through and I love me a GANNT chart, but I also practice yoga, so I know how to breathe. Sometimes. I served up an appropriate answer during the interview but this poses a good question.
If I know my way of being is more “doing”, how do I slow my own roll?
Especially when I like being ‘on a roll’, because you know… movement. Sushi, motorcycles, centipedes curled up in a ball… there are lots of good things that roll.
Friend, how do you slow down?
How do you empty out?
How do you make space and stay present?
>> Maybe whip out a pen and think on those preguntas after reading…
Currently, I’m part of a mastermind group where our lovely facilitator (check her out: Mariko Brenner), has us breathe and ground into the space at the start of each call. By the time that fortnightly session comes around, I could certainly use some deep exhale reminders. Thanks lady for your amazing ability to hold space.
You see, I’m one of those people who is uncomfortable with silence, who tries to fill the space, fill the schedule, and in that way, distract and occupy the mind. For years it’s been hard for me to sit with self. It’s a process, and I’m learning how to do it.
Without space in ourselves, it’s easy to get whacked out of alignment.
Forget about what it is that we want.
Get so sucked in to the doings of each day, that we forget about the big WHY behind it all.
On a recent week-long bike trip, I had a lot of time to clear my mind, admire expansive stretches of country roads, and pray that the high school student behind me knew how to use their brakes. I was forced to empty my head. I could only concern myself with the student in front of me (offering the drop direction) and the one behind, my navigational responsibility.
The burning feeling in my quads, the regulation of my breathing as I went up a hill, tracking fluid intake, all commanded my full attention. There was only space for vital things, and a deep connection to, and awareness of, my body. I had to be present and in tune for funky gear noises, screeching tires, and lactic acid buildup.
Clearing out and making space is important, but it’s something we don’t do a lot of. We take time to spring clean our closets, Marie Kondo the kitchen, and dump out the crud that fills our bags and backpacks; so why not perform some regular maintenance, a stripping down and cleaning out, of ourselves?
Here’s a few things I’ve come to realize lately:
1. Baggage = unnecessary weight.
Duh. OK, maybe this is an obvious one, but it’s key. Sometimes you forget about it, have no idea how it got there because you’re used to carrying the extra weight. But like a heavy load in the back of your car, it’s cutting down on your wind resistance and fuel economy, so get rid of it! Life becomes easier and flows more without the added junk.
2. Clear it out with meditation.
For me, this must be a daily thing. Find whatever works for you. Part of me hates it. I can’t
always sit still, I check my timer on multiple occasions… I’m antsy and I stretch... Other times, I sink into the pillow with relief, knowing that I have nothing to do but just sit and breathe for fifteen minutes. Make meditation your own, but let the practice empty you each day. It’s like brushing your teeth, a habitual clean slate, another opportunity to start fresh.
3. Find your go-to flow activities and then do them.
You know, those moments when you can’t help but be consumed in the present because that’s what it requires of you. My list includes surfing, biking, traveling. Figure out what this looks like for you, and then do them. On the regular.
What is your baggage, what do you need to release?
Where do you feel your resistance, how does it show up for you?
When do you feel flow, sucked into the moment?
Your baggage causes resistance.
It hampers the flow, disrupts creative potential, and prevents forward motion. It’s hard to attack a goal, shift a mindset, or develop new habits when this vestigial (see: thing that’s not useful anymore) burden prevents it.
Clearing out and making space offers newfound lightness.
What would it feel like to be grounded in your body and in the moment?
How would life change if you lived from a place of presence?
What would you do with this fresh space?
>> You finished reading, so now get writing! Answer these questions for yourself and let them fuel your actions this week.