In a world of multi-tasking mayhem, mother and yoga instructor Cheryl Parsons asks, have we become too busy being busy?
I bumped into a friend in Starbucks recently and together we lamented over our endless chore list. “Yes, I am just sooooo busy these days,” I cried as we swapped ‘life is too hectic’ tales across our open laptops. Both of us were trying to squeeze in a flurry of emails before we powered down and headed to my yoga class. It was barely 8.15am, but we had already gotten ourselves tied up in a tizzy of ‘to dos.’
I remember writing my first CV as a fledging graduate and waxing lyrical about my abilities to multi-task. It’s a skill that is so often hailed as a plus: can you juggle this while still doing that? Can you handle Mr. Smith while making sure Mrs. Smith does not miss out? Some people even carry it onto their yoga mats. Can this class relax my mind? Make me more present? Tone my inner thighs? Great, thanks, give me a monthly pass!
Not so long ago I found myself pretty overwhelmed with my life. Me, stressed out, I hear you cry? Never! But yes, despite my calm yogic exterior, on the inside I felt like things were spiraling like crazy. I was trying to juggle too many roles and I was afraid of the consequences of just letting something go. What would so and so think of me if I said ‘no’ to that? What would they say if I politely passed that job on to someone else?
I realised that I had allowed myself to become so caught up in being busy. If I wasn’t doing something, then I felt I wasn’t being productive. Many of us are familiar with the notion of what happens when we do not have an immediate task at hand. Do we (a) use those five minutes to sit quietly and focus on our breath or (b) flick on to Facebook and delve through an old friend’s wedding album? In essence I had become addicted to the habit of filling up every possible minute with something, anything to do.
It made me think, when was the last time we honed in on just one activity and gave it our complete undivided attention? Without opening another browser tab on our computer or jumping ahead to the next task? In yoga, the practice of one pointed focus, or dharana is so important. By taking time out to be fully present, whether it is in our yoga practice or simply playing wholeheartedly with our children, then we can actually start to create a sense of space amongst the busyness. I’ll leave you with the words of meditation teacher, Sally Kempton, who sums this up beautifully:
“Tuning in to the one who is not busy makes your effort, well, effortless. That’s when action truly does become yoga, and you become like an eight-armed action deity, effortlessly multitasking with no sense of being busy at all.”
Featured in Yogalife Magazine, April Issue