Too Busy for Peace?
For a long while, I believed that life was meant to be busy. Having a hectic schedule meant a life of fulfillment. I believed one should always have a calendar filled with appointments, meetings, and countless tasks to complete. According to societal norm, staying in on a weekend night was only acceptable if you were sick and a “free” hour in the day should be spent catching up on any unfinished, leftover tasks.
In fact, listing all of the things that made you busy was even an important topic of conversation amongst friends and co-workers…
I had never once considered that my aspiration could be to live a calm life. Instead, I was strictly focused on being successful and had been told that this meant being surrounded by loving friends and family and working a high-stress yet rewarding job that kept you very busy. I didn’t understand how one could be successful, yet still “find the time” for stillness.
It wasn’t until very recently while practicing yoga that I realized that spending time alone was how I felt “recharged”. Prior to going to dinner with my friend Kelsey, I had been feeling tired and run down and so I did a gentle yoga practice to see if it would help me to feel better. After completing the practice, I was feeling re-invigorated and ready to head to dinner.
Am I an Introvert?
On our way to dinner, I told my friend how my yoga practice had allowed me to feel re-awakened. My friend asked if I had ever considered myself to be an “introvert”. I was shocked by such a suggestion. After all, I had always been known as someone who was outgoing, friendly, and able to talk to anyone. Heck, my family even used to offer me $20 as a child in exchange for some quiet time at the dinner table. I had always assumed that such qualities made me an extrovert.
Yet, I looked up the description for introvert anyways. The description explained that one could be introvert and not be shy; an introvert is simply someone who feels energized by being alone.
Suddenly I realized that while I considered myself to be an extrovert, I was actually a very well-disguised introvert that was often incredibly tired from such over-stimulation. It felt so good to finally understand that being around people for too long actually drained my energy.
I finally understood that craving time alone is not only alright, but necessary for me.
I no longer fear how it looks when I choose to stay in on the weekends or worry that people will think I am depressed and uncomfortable being around others.
But the one place that I can still be surrounded by lots of people and “recharge” alone is in the yoga studio. Here, I am able to remain focused on my mat, yet gain the socialism from practicing amongst others.
The Busier You are, the More You Need It
Taking time for stillness and tranquility is similar to plugging my Mac computer into the outlet to be re-charged: It’s necessary and actually makes me far more efficient in the day.
Days in which I begin my mornings with a gentle yoga sequence helps me lead a far more productive and happier day. On such days, I complete my work in half the time and am able to remain attentive and engage with those around me.
The same thing goes for sleeping better. Nights in which I take the time to stretch, turn off the overstimulating computer screen, burn a relaxing candle, and listen to a calming music playlist, I fall into a deeper sleep and awake feeling recharged.
One of my very favorite sayings is: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” In other words, the more crazy life feels, the more important it is to take time out for yourself.
I hope that you too can find time to “create” some calm in your life. For me, this means engaging in a quick, relaxing yoga practice each morning and night.