Most of the students and friends I have talked about being nice to themselves say they don’t have time. They have to work too much or have responsibilities to care for another adult or child. Yet, others say that they were raised to be doing something productive all the time so there is no time left to do what you want to do but only what you have to do. I believe that we all can relate to these reasons for not taking time for ourselves. I often times joke with my classes that all my students (including myself) are overachievers. We know how to do 100% or more, but are ashamed or don’t know how to do less.
I have encouraged my students and have tried myself to do less. To do only a percentage of what I am able to do doesn’t seem to work. I still demand too much from myself and often feel like I am never satisfied, no matter how much I get done. I have started a new practice of creating space in my schedule, in my closet, while I am driving (between my car and the car in front of me), and in my relationships. I have encouraged my students to do the same and as one of my student so accurately stated, “When I create space in my life I find it gets filled up with anxiety and stress”. Isn’t that the truth? I find the same thing happens to me. I create space in my basement (there is an empty shelf) and I am afraid that something is missing or we should put something there.
I find the same thing happens in our minds. We have “free” time and we have the urge to fill it up to feel important, popular, or not bored. Can you relate to this need to feel busy and productive all the time? Where in your life are you most uncomfortable creating space? What creative ways can you create space in your life? I have found that creating more space in my schedule allows me to be to nicer to myself and less demanding, which helps me get more done without feeling exhausted when I am finished. It also allows me time to take responsibility for myself and helps me to be more patient and tolerant when things don’t go the way I prefer. My 10 minute seated meditation has been the exercise for me to practice creating space.