So, today has been a busy day. Busy days, I’ve learned, can catch you up in a whirlwind and if a person with any of the many diseases exacerbated by whirlwinds just sorta goes with it- running along from commitment to errand to obligation- tomorrow’s probably going to be an incredibly NOT busy day because you may not be able to lift your head. So what to do? Because all those things need to get done!
Well, the first hurdle is mental. That mental sense of rushing and being behind. There is stress there. Now, this was my natural state for a very long time. Actually, and I blame being a Gemini for this, I was *either* late (with the accompanying mental stress) or sitting leisurely refusing to be controlled by time (which would then lead to being late and the accompanying mental stress). While I sortof believed that style indicated some weird sort of “balance” it’s pretty obvious there was no balance there, simply two opposed unbalanced states.
So today included the regular chores of cooking, cleaning, laundry, meditation, exercise, self-care, dog-care and our new 25 minute commute each way to school, plus kid #1’s job, kid #2’s first activity, kid#1’s practice, kid #2’s second activity, kid #1’s feeling sick and wanting to leave practice, the due library books, a return at a local store, kid#1’s gym calling *needing* me to come in and sign some stuff (really?), the post office, Trader Joe’s, and the bank. I almost got caught up in the whirlwind.
Luckily, this is Durga Puja, which is a week-long celebration of the Hindu Mother Goddess and so I’m wearing a little mantra counter reminding me to praise the Mother many times a day. That really helped.
Stoplights also helped. I’ve trained myself over these years to take deep, deep breaths at the stoplight, counting down from 10 to 0. This is because a stoplight to a late person is like lemon on a cut. Unless you change it. And I changed it for me by using it as a cue for breathing (this is taken from Thich Nhat Hanh’s invitation of any time you hear a bell ring to come back to your breath, which is also a helpful practice. Really, anytime you use something that used to disrupt your calm as a cue to come back to calm, that’s a really good idea). There are a few super long lights where we live, but still I rarely make it to 0. But those breaths? That breathing makes a big difference.
I did, however, make a mistake in timing and had to eat my lunch quickly. Eating quickly is really unfair to your digestion. Digestion, really getting the nutrients out of your food, depends on a stream of chemicals released in the mouth and in the stomach that can only be released if you’re relaxed. This is part of the beauty of prayer before meals. Done with sincerity and presence, it puts your body in the position not only of acknowledgment and gratitude but of calm and preparation for optimum digestion. Prayer before meals is gonna get its own post one day because it is powerful in deep and surprising (to me) ways.
So, I’m off again (to go to kid#1’s gym and finally pick up kid#2 before coming home to make dinner), but the kerfluffledness that had started to overcome my body has settled some more, and so I have probably not endangered my tomorrow. That’s part of the commitment to this daily writing. Writing about slowing down keeps slowing down present in my psyche. It helps me remember. It reminds me that I have all of these tools and techniques and wouldn’t it be a fine idea to *employ them* (I know I’m dating myself with the asterisks for emphasis instead of say, bold or italics. ah, well). I often marvel that I forget to use the wonderful and full toolbox I carry around. But, today? Today I am remembering. Thank you, Mother!