I was amazed at the responses that I received after posting my blog last week. Students commented both on-line and in person about their own need for white space in their lives. It is amazing to me that a species as highly developed as our own has allowed our schedules and priorities to get so out of whack. Many of us, including myself much of the time, really believe that “getting more done” will lead to “more” happiness. We habitually condemn ourselves for procrastinating or relaxing for a moment. We have become the hamsters on the wheel that used to entertain us when we were younger. Is anyone out there entertained anymore? I’m certainly not. I am on a mission to slow down my wheel enough so that I can become more aware of when I try to do too much! Go figure. At some point, when I am able to consistently slow myself down, I want to just get darn wheel. Don’t ask me what happens then. I have no clue.
Unfortunately we are trained to “be productive” from an early age. Children, these days, learn how to pack a day by preschool. By the time our kids are in middle school they are bound to their colorful assignment books stocked with lists, due dates and homework. My kids march in the door after school and start right at it. They diligently cross off assignments while posting their projects to www.turnitin.com. I, being the pot calling the kettle black, instruct them to take a break and go lay in the grass. They look at me, roll their eyes and groan.
Years ago when my family and I were in Italy, my then four-year old looked out of the hotel window one afternoon and said, “Mommy there is a dead man down there”. I looked out and saw a man napping in a small yard behind a restaurant. The afternoon siesta has been ingrained into the Italian culture. They say in Italy, “dolce fa niente” which means, it is sweet to do nothing. While that Italian restaurateur was living “la bella vita” my American daughter, unaccustomed to seeing someone resting mid-day, saw a dead man. Like I said, it starts early.
So while I have no advice to give to you yet, I do want to shine the light on our collective insanity a bit. Perhaps you will feel just a little better knowing that your yoga teacher is just as overscheduled as you are. However, that the next time you see me on my mat practicing, know that I have slowed down my wheel enough to find some white space and that I am in bliss.