My ongoing Sadhana of Self Love has taught me some critical lessons. I realise that I must be gentle with myself by slowing down and taking time to appreciate the little things like my cup of herbal tea in the morning instead of dusting the furniture and sipping my drink!
As a tutor I have parents coming up to me and saying, my child doesn’t know how to write essays; can you teach them how to write imaginatively? I know students who blank out completely after 50 words. I have observed that students have hyper busy schedules that are so tightly packed with things to do,that they would give any company head a run for their money. Each minute is accounted for. With no time to just ‘be’ how in the world will their imaginations take off? The whirlwind of activities stifles and smothers the buds of creativity even before they bloom. I tell the parents, “For God’s sake, leave them alone at least for some time in a day. Let them daydream the day away once in a while. Take them out in nature, and not to a shopping mall.”
Children are taught the virtues of working hard, being busy. The glory of ‘doing’. The ‘doing’ makes you relevant to your family, to society. While discipline is important, time out is equally relevant. A balance is critical.
I remember once my paternal aunt visited our house. I was just sitting around and she turned to me and said, “Why don’t you do something instead of just sitting?” I said that I had nothing to do, no homework, no chores or errands either. She replied, “ At least Andar bahar ke chakkar laga Ilya kar so that you LOOK productive! People, especially in-laws don’t appreciate girls who just lounge around aimlessly.” Her words stayed with me.
I started ‘doing’ with a vengeance to show people ‘hey look at me, I am productive’. No one was going to catch me lounging, No sir! Now add the garnish of people-pleasing and the recipe for misery is ready. My self worth was tied to everyone’s approval and how much I could do in a day. I took up crafts not because I liked them but because the concept of idle hands, idle time was taboo. As a result, I was constantly irritated, snappy, unhappy. Believe me, multi-tasking is the death rattle of creativity.
The grounding technique in the MIND AND DIVINE series is shifting me from the ‘doing’ mode to the ‘being’ mode. As I said earlier, it has unravelled something within which won’t be tied up again. I give myself permission to relax, to take it easy, put my feet up, to just breathe! Life is not to be lived on the hamster wheel of work, work and more work. It is to be savoured, appreciated,cherished. Right? So what if my house is a bit dusty, so what if I don’t feeling like cooking all 3 meals a day. So what …!
At 57, my need for speed has certainly taken a back seat. It’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime of ‘doing’. Be patient with yourself, take small power breaks – a minute here, 5 minutes there. Look at the clouds, cuddle your pet, hug a family member, hum a song, dance a little jig! Break the tedium. Do something that makes you smile. I have experienced slowing down by being in Nature, watching my stray cats eat their food with single minded focus, appreciating the arrangement of the leaves on trees, sitting on a park bench listening to my heart beat…
I aim to dig my roots deep and derive nourishment from the soil of consciousness. Deep, where there is an enduring serenity; an abiding calm. I want to spread my branches to become a stalwart tree, shady, life giving, nurturing!
A dying tree can offer neither shade nor fruits. You’ll crumble eventually if you continue to ignore yourself~ Om Swami