Every morning I am up just before sunrise. Summer is parching my plants, and I am trying to salvage those that can be saved. Feed and water (and play a bit) the dogs, fix breakfast and lunch, clean the kitchen, shower, dress for the day, check email and prepare paperwork for the documentation part of my work day, then into the truck – drop my son at school – and off to work, all before 8:00am.
In my bag there is always a list of things that need to be done. Go to the bank, pay bills, make phone calls, prepare for classes, do laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, home repairs that have been languishing, the list goes on and on. Some days, when car repairs or doctor appointments are added unexpectedly, the press of the everyday list becomes overwhelming.
When those moments arise, I remind myself, “You don’t have to do it all right now!” Taking a moment to identify what is really important, what can wait, what is easy to do, and what requires a special time set aside to complete, helps take the pressure off. Some days that is all I need to do.
Other days, well, you know those other days… Politics and rhetoric are heating up, the economy is slowing down, overseas there are battles being fought and hunger is rampant. Sometimes just breathing feels like a major effort. When those occasions come along I take a news vacation and spend some extra time on the floor.
One of my favorite ways to find what is overworking is to begin by lying on my back and taking stock of what is touching and what is not. What is different from my usual pattern of contact? How much sand would I need to fill the spaces in such a way that my skeleton feels completely supported? Where does my breath go? Is it high and fast, or slow and in my belly? Are my ribs moving all the way around, or only in the front?
Beginning by flexing then releasing my ankle (moving my toes toward my head) I feel the muscles in my lower leg working, then stop working. I wait a moment then again move and release my ankle and feel what happens in my thigh. Each time I wait a moment before moving my ankle again. Successively I notice the same side ribs, shoulder, neck, and muscles around my eye. Then I stop and check in to see what the side that has been working feels like compared to the side that has been resting. How much sand do I need on each side? Is one side softer than the other? Does the floor feel like it is tilting? Now I begin flexing and releasing the other ankle and go through the same process. Each time my ankle flexes and releases I notice a different part of my body, moving from my lower leg all the way up to my eye muscles, stopping between each single movement. Finally I check in again and feel what is different from the beginning for my contact with the floor, the spaces, and what has changed with my breathing.
The whole process takes only a few minutes, even when performed slowly and thoughtfully, and the results are significantly satisfying.
So when the world overwhelms me, I prioritize, take a news break and get on the floor for a little extra R&R. Things always look so much more manageable when I get up again!