I keep find myself layering on more stuff to keep me busy. I love my work and the creativity and freedom that comes with it. My schedule is anything but typical and each day is different than the one before. I find myself saying yes to teaching opportunities, planning the next event or workshop, and constantly thinking about how I can become better at what I do through training, reading, research, and practice, practice, practice. Work doesn’t feel like work – it has become my life.
I used to be really good at taking a day off. I could sleep in, sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, stare at the clouds, draw, take long baths with candles, and read a book without the intent of learning something new. When I had a regular schedule with weekends off, down time was already carved out for me. Weekends were like the punctuation mark at the end of a work week and those two days off were sacred. Now I often go weeks without an entire day off. I have days that start before dawn and end after sunset. I work more hours per week than I ever have before and passing out on the couch has become my MO. My husband routinely carries/drags me to bed.
A friend who’s an RN shared a stress evaluation form with me recently and I was surprised and ashamed to see how high I scored. I don’t experience the same stress symptoms that I used to and without awareness of stress I go until I physically and mentally can’t go anymore. Any down time is chronically filled with work. I teach stillness but I’m missing opportunities to practice it. Last weekend I taught a yoga class at the Melton Gallery at UCO. Their current exhibition called, “Meditative Spaces”, features the work of Katie Henderson and Brandon Mitts. I led students through a gentle flow and then had them choose a painting to stand and balance in front of. I chose a large canvas painting by Katie with lavender and white amoebic forms floating on a pale-yellow surface. The longer I stood there the more vibrant the colors became. The static space had life and movement. Two minutes of stillness changed the course of my weekend. I stayed home, spent time gardening, listened to music, and took a serious nap with drool and all. Stillness is restorative.