Project Overload

Did you know that the tidal current is often inversely related to the range of the tides? Mung bean sprouts are rinsed four times a day. Brad y yo somos los estudiantes de Espanol, y nosotros hablamos en el barco.

Can you tell I just started relearning what pathetically little Spanish I once knew? And that’s on top of also starting to write a novel, work on some travel articles and, oh yeah, update The Lovelight Project blog. Talk about project overload!

What is on your to-do list? I constantly have a working to-do list, and it

to-do list
I have a lot of these.

really gets out of hand when there is more than one list going. Which, of course, there always is.

This is the modern-day, especially American problem of always having to be busy. I believe this is part of the origins of the addiction to the device, which I will now coin “Digidction.” It’s also some of the reason why some Yoga students have trouble with the final resting pose of a class, known as savasana, or corpse pose.

Corpse pose rocks, as far as I’m concerned. A former student once wore a t-shirt that read, “I’m just here for the savasana.” For the non-yogis reading this blog, the pose is unlike the muscular and sweat-inducing

savasana
Ah. One time the Yoga teacher played really awful emo music during savasana. It was challenging.

warrior or sun salutation series and does not offer the same stretch of a forward seated fold or a split (Jai Hanuman!). Savasana requires the practitioner to be completely still in body and mind, to have complete relaxation of all muscles. It isn’t the time to go over the to-do list in your head again.

This can be very difficult for some students. When I was teaching Yoga in gyms, it wasn’t completely abnormal for a student to actually walk before savasana began. The pose should last for at least five minutes. Some people thought that wasn’t “real” Yoga, and that’s really a shame because likely those students were the ones who could benefit from savasana the most.

It’s so normal (and probably healthy) to have many things going on, but it’s all a balance. Those who know me know that I am a productive individual, and I allow that by tracking my goals and then rewarding myself by crossing that accomplishment off the list. This, as you may have picked up from the opening paragraph of this blog post, can get a little overboard.

Why do we do so much? Is it that we are aware of the limited time we have on Earth? Or is it a big joke that we think our time is limited, so we produce to such extent based on the fact that we are FEARFUL that we won’t accomplish what we must do? There are so many things we MUST do, though.

We must: brush our teeth, drink water, take our vitamins, eat enough but not too much, cleanse ourselves but not so much that we are like those

vitamins
Mom, remember when you gave me medicine by sprinkling the medicine on a peanut butter cracker? That didn’t end well. Now I take my vitamins every day!

crazy people who preen endlessly and get plastic surgery and identify so fully with their physical being. (That’s really hard to break, by the way. I still struggle with the connection with my physical body as the main identifier for my person. That’s a whole other blog post.) But that’s just the beginning of the daily to-do list. Those are things that we do without actually writing them down. We are trained to do those things. Then there are the goals for progress in life.

Like, as I mentioned, studying Spanish with my boyfriend, learning more sailing skills and writing a variety of projects is part of my daily life these days. Practicing Yoga, exercising, making food and working on the boat are also on that daily list.

It’s rare when our to-do list includes relaxation, and really that’s something we should do every day as well. I have a daily meditation practice, which I remember often with a daily reminder set on my iPhone. It’s ironic that “do nothing” is on the “to-do” list, but there it is. That’s because, for me, it’s tough to turn down the constant, unconscious whipping of doing as a means of success rather than being.

I have written about this before back in August in “Rushing Slowly,” but I think it’s an epidemic that I’m not alone in battling. It is a national health problem. Think about the time you’ve spent today just being. Checking Facebook and all the various other social media doesn’t count. There are the down time, alpha wave-inducing activities that don’t actually accomplish much, but it’s still doing. Honestly, when I check Facebook, I am doing my part in the social network contract that says I keep up with the big events in my friends’ lives and acknowledge them whenever possible. So I have a lot of friends so I feel like I have to check in. Digidction!

So, it’s really a blessing that I now have limited Wifi capabilities, and I make some money by writing remotely. So I have to save my limited data usage for strictly things that are making money. (This is why those super-fun links I often sprinkle in here will be limited when not at port.) There’s no staring at a screen.

This offers time to stare at things like: the line of 50 ibis that flew in the formation of an arrow over the Indian River Lagoon, the two big circles in the water where manatees took a breath nearby, a Spanish 101 book and my shipmates. By limiting my ability to accomplish things, in effect, I am taking items off the to-do list.

gatsby
Ah yeah. That’s how I feel when I check something off the to-do list.

There is a cost to this, of course, an economic one. Is that the root of the busyness syndrome in America? Are we worried that we won’t be making enough money to keep up with the lifestyle we are used to? What a sad state. We plague ourselves with things we feel we must do in fear that not doing things will mean epic failure.

What would we be like if we won the lotto tomorrow? We could be like the leisure class back in the Gilded Age, right? Just re-read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to think about whether the rich are always happy. Can’t buy me love, you know.

And yet, oh, the humanity, we sacrifice our present and closet relationships by trying to impress those around our periphery by being constantly busy. Especially with the ole digidction. You’ve seen those tables at restaurants where every person is staring at their phones. It’s really sad.

So I challenge you to work on the savasana! Habitualize relaxation and don’t let the fear of not being good enough, or having enough, or doing

chillbaby
Tee hee.

enough, stop you. Take at least 15 minutes – or 20, or an hour! – to really CHILL. At first, you may need to literally put this on the to-do list, much like my meditation reminder. But after a while, you may notice a shift. Don’t kid yourself into thinking exercise is your chilling out. It’s exercising, and that’s important too. Napping is a good start, but don’t get lethargic about this. That’s actually cheating too. After a while, you’ll be able to tell the difference between being actually tired and just wanting to be still.

Let me know how you do! Just think how good it will feel to check it off the to-do list.

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