saving my sanity

The value of now

How’s the follow-through on those resolutions, my friends? Coming along nicely? Or have they already devolved into anxiety-producing, self-esteem-bashing, flaming failures? Not making resolutions is similar to being a pessimist by choice: If I don’t have high hopes, I won’t be disappointed. What am I droning on about? Resolutions are too much about the future, just like everything else in an academic life, and I want to discover how to dwell in the now. How do you dwell in the now? Practically, I mean?

No, I’m not going all Eckhart Tolle-ish on you now. I know meditation and yoga are all about awareness in the moment, and I wish I did more of both. I’m not alone. But it just doesn’t work for me. You see, I could go to the yoga studio in my “neighbourhood” tomorrow, which means getting there by  10 am for a wonderful class of yoga flow of 90 minutes or thereabouts. Are you kidding me? That will take up my whole morning. Or I could use one of the yoga apps I bought and have used exactly twice. Two time. I keep promising myself one of these days I’ll actually buy one of those cables which link my (old, first-generation) iPad to the TV, and will thus have a wonderful yoga experience. You know as well as I do consumerism is not going to get me dwelling in the moment. So I call bullshit on myself and move on.

On to more anxiety about the deadlines and how I will make them. Because make them I will. There is no question about that. The question is always about the price and what gives. And those are further reasons for anxiety. So, what I do is work. I find actually starting working–even if it means merely making a plan, an outline, a list of tasks, reading the first five pages of an article, basically anything that implies actual labour and not rumination–takes some of that anxiety away. Major projects become more manageable and I begin to envisage their unfolding in time. They become more material, rather than staying in the abstract and nebulous plane of existence.

That’s my living in the now: putting pen to paper, eye to screen, and mind to tasks. I wish it more spiritual, new-agey, and overall posh. But it’s not. I’m a worker bee, and my solution to curbing the anxiety about work is work itself. That way, I can actually take worry-free breaks. Because I know the work, broken down in clear tasks, will be there tomorrow or after lunch, too.

What about you? Can you give me your key to doing more yoga and meditation? Cause I really want to do more yoga and mediation. #noreally #nosarcasm

3 thoughts on “The value of now

  1. As soon as you find it, let me know!

    I am approaching my resolutions with care this year. Not stressing (because we all have enough of THAT) but rather making them quantifiable by checking in on them every month and giving myself a grade. I am a student and worker bee wrapped into one little nerdy package.

    Thanks for the reminder and good luck with finding your calm.

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  2. More yoga only happens for me when I commit to getting up at least 45 minutes earlier than usual. And have my stuff laid out the night before. And setting a positive reminder for myself at bedtime about how good it will feel to do yoga when I wake up. Because there are so many ways life can derail intentions. (the dog woke me up for a 3am pee break, for example)

    In tandem with yoga (and shiva nata/medidation) I am trying in 2013 to increase my consciousness about the process of doing work–entering the productive zone, knowing what I need to get out of a work session, knowing when I've done enough to celebrate, etc. Just flailing away at the task, without integrating the task into the bigger picture of what I want to celebrate about my work, leaves me feeling a bit untethered.

    So perhaps, for me, yoga = tethering my body and my work to processes and outcomes that I can feel both physically and mentally.

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  3. @Chatwrite: yes, you've articulated it better than I: it's awareness in the moment that I think I need/want/look for. And this awareness takes work, and figuring out of details, such as laying out of yoga clothes in the evening for next morning's session. I cannot tell you how many times I've dissuaded myself from a brief yoga session with “but I'd have to change.”

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