What if wasting time were the key to success?
Growing up, I learned that staying busy was the only way to achieve great things and fulfill my destiny – whatever that might be – as a smart person. As a result, I filled sashes with Girl Scout badges, became a perpetual spelling bee participant, ran for every student government office, played basketball, soccer, and softball, ran track, cheerleaded, entered beauty pageants, sang in the choir, edited the yearbook, played piano, and participated in every contest that crossed my teachers’ desks.
I was torn between being driven to prove I was more special and talented than everyone else and just wanting to be one of the gang. This struggle came into sharp relief my junior year in high school, when I missed out on a John Cougar concert (that my friends are still talking about) because I was at a symposium in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania—the prize for my winning essay on “What is terrorism?”
I didn’t step off the achieving treadmill until I was in my mid-20s: My car was totaled, I got a settlement check for $11,000. This first thing I did was quit my job as an editor for a publishing company. The second thing I did was go to yoga class – which I’d never been able to attend before as the only time it was offered at my gym was at 4 o’clock on a Tuesday.
For a kid who moved around a lot growing up, being on my yoga mat was the first time I truly felt at home. I loved that it wasn’t about burning calories, losing weight, or lifting heavier amounts of weight. It was just about trying new things and breathing. Phew. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to have a part of my life where I didn’t feel I was in competition with everyone else.
Practicing yoga also helped me realize that I was, in fact, an intuitive person, not just a book-smart person. The beginning of my yoga practice was also the beginning of making choices that didn’t necessarily make sense—moving to New York City on a whim, choosing to work at a start-up Internet company over a well-established publisher, quitting a successful corporate job to do my yoga teacher training, choosing not to teach yoga classes after said training and instead focus on spreading the mind-body message through journalism.
Every single time I face some conundrum, I can go do a series of yoga poses (or sit in meditation, or sweep mindfully) and get some information from my intuition that shows me which way to go when I get back to my regular life. Trust me, I get that taking some time out of your day to simply breathe, sit, or move mindfully, feels like it’s a time such that takes you away from being productive and thus puts you behind in the rat race.
But something miraculous happens when you choose to “waste” that time. You come back knowing what’s the most important thing you need to get done, and how to go about it. You also know what isn’t worth your time, so you can skip the things that keep you treading water. You also are so focused that you can get a lot more work done with a lot less angst. That time you waste pays you back in spades. It’s like spending a dollar and getting back five. Sure, if you never spent the dollar, you’d still have that dollar. But you’d be missing out on four dollars that came to you effortlessly.
If the universe wants to give you four dollars for every dollar you give it, you’d take it, wouldn’t you?
Take care and keep breathing,
“Waste” a day with me!
You know how relaxed, noodly, and utterly unflappable you feel after an hour massage, or an hour-and-a-half yoga class? Now multiply that feeling times 8, and add in the clarity that only comes when you’ve slowed down enough to hear what your gut has to say—that’s how good you’ll feel as you drive away from my first-ever day-long retreat. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll sweat, and we’ll let go of a bunch of crap (attitudes, beliefs) that doesn’t serve us any more so that something wonderful and new can take root.
I’m soooo excited to announce that Kate’s Yoga Playhouse will be held at the woodsy and tranquil Five Bridge Inn in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, on Friday, September 28 (if you’ll be traveling and need overnight accommodations, email me at kate [at] msmindbody.com and I’ll hook you up). It will be one mind-blowing day that’s just the kick in the pants you need to slow down, get real, and get right in your mind, body, and spirit.
I’m busy planning the poses, the lunch, the gift bags—everything about the day – and the more I know about the people who are coming, the more tailored I can make it. So I want to entice you to go ahead and sign up with a fun bonus:
BONUS! If you sign up before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, August 17 (aka, tomorrow), I’ll gift you a subscription to the Daily Unwind – a video detailing one simple mind-body practice you can do in 5 minutes or less delivered to your inbox every morning for 30 days. (A $30 value.)
Space is limited to 12 people. If any part of you is thinking yes as you read, click here to learn more and register.