I have a habit of holding myself to unrealistic expectations, and a knack for undervaluing my emotions. Many of my concerns center around commitments, fulfillment, and purpose. I am trying to bring my goal of helping others to become my career, but in my fervent desire to achieve these goals I tend to become overextended. I take on too many projects, I neglect my health, and I ignore my emotional needs.
How does one balance commitments so one has time for wellness? How does one find fulfillment in a less-than-satisfying occupation and in one’s non-work commitments? How does a person maintain a momentum toward one’s dreams while staying rooted in the present? And how do we do all this without completely exhausting ourselves before we get there?
Viral Mehta, co-founder of Charityfocus.org and Servicespace.org, sums up this dilemma – and its solution – in his article “Lessons in Living on the Edge From Mahatma Gandhi.” Mehta’s article reminded me of the importance of paying attention to the pauses in my life. I take a breath when I do yoga, but in my day-to-day activities I tend to power through – a slave to my to-do list. Project after project, goal upon goal I pursue my dream. I am exhausting myself trying to get there. I was forced to take a break yesterday – my body had insisted that I relax by making me sick. But it should not take a cold to make me to relax.
Our rational minds want to ensure progress, but our intuitive minds need space for the emergent, unknown and unplanned to arise…. When we aren’t aware internally, we get so vested in our plans and actions, that we don’t notice the buildup of mental residue. So the momentum of “forward-thinking doing” continues in the mind. In that kind of state, even nature’s imposed breaks aren’t restful: we have trouble falling asleep, or even resting soundly. The mind just doesn’t relax.
Forward-thinking doing. That seems to be all I do. That “mental residue” of which Mehta speaks is exactly what had worn me down and sapped my spirit and energy. I am reminded by his article to take brief pauses in my life, to appreciate the moments in-between tasks and projects. I am determined to create those places of rest where I haven’t allowed myself the luxury.
I know I recommend articles fairly often, but this one is on the top of my list. I hope you will read it.