Breathe. Take a deep breath in, a deep breath out, repeat.
I have days sometimes where I feel I haven't taken a breath at all. I wake up, begin doing, without pause-without breathing. I scroll through Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram. Text. Email. Work Email. Slack. Repeat.
Breakfast on the run. Work, looping through the same communication tools, while trying to focus on one task at a time. Lunch at my desk while checking email. Might fit in a workout sometime, if I left myself enough time in the morning and if there aren't evening plans which for a period of time felt like the second work shift. After all of that, some food, maybe a show, a breath, and then sleep.
Last week I attended a retreat at Tassajara Zen Center deep in the Ventana Wilderness in California. I took an unprecedented 5-days-in-a-row vacation and headed to the west coast for time with friends and a new experience, a meditation and yoga retreat: Balanced & Awake. Here are some things I am taking with me from my experience there, that may be of help to you.
1) Meditate Daily.
Meditation has the same effects on me as anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications. You can't feel those effects until a prolonged period of practice. I am so early on my meditation journey, as I have practiced yoga for much longer. A daily meditation practice will be a challenge, but I now see the incredible benefits of a regular practice.
When you do any pose where you arch your back, you often do a counter pose. Each pose has its opposite. In life, we must remember that we can get far off of balance, and it is important every now and then to counterpose. So, if you've spent an hour in front of a screen, it may be a good idea to keep an hour away. If you have been extremely social, you may need some alone time.
3) Finding Balance in Imbalance
We are never totally balanced. Try standing on one foot, you will notice your toes and the balls of your foot moving around to keep you stable. There will never be perfect harmony between your work and life, but we can always strive to move closer. We have to be comfortable in the instability of things.
4) Slow down. You're moving to fast.
Four days without my phone made me realize how our lives are passing us by while we look at other people's lives in our newsfeed, and wait for the validation of our own. Just days after my retreat I feel sucked in to my phone and the instant gratification pace of life.
At least once a month I'd like to attempt "retreat days", where I don't do any work and I just let myself enjoy the day. In the meantime, scheduling and planning yoga and meditation breaks so that I can constantly be reminded to breathe in, breathe out. When we've used our phones up, and the battery is drained we have to plug it in and wait. When your battery is drained, take the time to do the same.
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