Sometimes it is easier to keep on working than it is to relax.
Do you ever feel that way?
Magazine and TV adverts keep telling us we need more than we already have.
That outlook may be good for the economy, but if we buy into it we wind up valuing money over everything else.
Also, when we are on the job, our bosses and clients who see life that way expect us to produce as much as possible as fast as we can.
It can be very stressful, and even when we are not working it can be difficult to switch off and recharge.
We have so many options that it is hard to decide what we should do and it is easy to think we need to cram in as many leisure activities as possible before getting back to work.
To buck that trend, I decided to make a conscious effort to slow down.
When I am in Botswana, watching the sun rise while everyone else is asleep helps set a comfortable pace for the day.
When I am in England, however, clouds and rain often dampen that experience so I try to start most days with a bit of yoga and something that resembles meditation.
Yeah, I know; that makes me sound like an ageing hippy, but please bear with me, I don’t plan to preach about it; and I really don’t take it all that seriously.
As a matter of fact, I often focus my meditation on a cup of coffee.
You know; savour the aroma, feel the heat through the mug, fully appreciate each sip… repeat.
I’m also aware other activities can have the same calming effect.
Archery is one that does it for me, and I’m told art, dance, playing a musical instrument or doing any activity that focuses the mind helps us relax.
I usually do my yoga alone but I decided to attend an organised class last week to see if I could pick up some pointers.
What I came away with were aches, pains and a minor pull.
It was advertised as a taster session, and I took that to mean it would be fairly gentle.
Unfortunately, the word ‘free’ caught my attention more than it should have and I totally missed the word ‘Ashtanga’ which I later discovered was clearly displayed on the poster.
The literal translation of that Indian term is ‘eight limbs,’ but even half-assed aspiring yogis like myself know that in the west Ashtanga means really hard, really fast and not at all for beginners yoga.
Anyway, once the class was over and my friend had scraped me off the floor I started contemplating what we had just experienced.
The instructor was very accomplished at the poses we were intended to flow through and I think most of the people attending the class were as well, but I got left behind.
I spent the whole time trying to do more as fast as I could… kind of like what passes for normal life.
It was so fast that when it came time for the laying down meditation at the end of class… the bit I usually enjoy the most… I found it really difficult to relax.