Written by Roselyn (Rose) Tantraphol.
Do you ever daydream about a superhero alter ego?
In my reveries, I’m a mad scientist remixing the brain chemistry of the clinically depressed and injecting the chronically unconfident with invisible vials of self-love. I’m changing the world, in short, by sharing one Yoga or meditation practice at a time.
I recently realized I possess a truly epic skill set, but it’s hardly what I would hope for it to be. No, I have this uncanny ability to deprive myself of any free time whatsoever.
My superhero power would probably be to make like a daily-planner-wielding ninja and strike down free time anywhere I sense it lurking.
What’s that on the horizon? Is it a free Saturday afternoon I spot? Bam! Two hours unsullied one nice summer evening? Ka-Pow! Is that really what it appears to be? A free weekend morning? Let’s write some web copy for a fledgling local small business. Or clear out the inbox. Or catch a concert.
Let’s do anything but allow for that particular emptiness that comes with spaciousness of time and effort. Let’s keep moving and saying Yes and Sure and Why Not–because all those actions carry potential. They carry the potential of meeting interesting people and discovering new experiences.
I’m more stoked than Johnny Storm—the human torch—to light my fire for a new mission, however. I’m taking what I’ve learned from my daily Ashtanga Yoga practice about how it’s possible to systematically open up parts of my body—tight shoulders, office-desked hips—and applying it to my habitual pattern of closing in on any open spaces that exist in my mental and physical calendar.
Want to join me on this quest? Here are five ways I’m creating more space in my life.
1. Clean out your commitments like you would your closet.
Take a look at each week’s schedule and ask yourself why you are doing that particular task. Do you say Yes to social engagements with people you don’t particularly want to be around? If so, who are you doing that for? It certainly doesn’t benefit your spirit, and that kind of resistant energy doesn’t benefit the other parties either.
Let’s face it, though—this is easier said than done. I think the next practices—being in your body, meditating, and spending time outside–help tremendously to clarify priorities. I have found that my head is rarely my best resource when it comes to cleaning out the scheduling closet.
You need to start embodying your priorities before you can start to rewire the circuits that make up your calendar.
My practice is to get on the mat six days a week and practice Ashtanga Yoga—it’s what I need to stay present, to open my body and mind, and to infuse my spirit with the juiciness of hope and contentment.
Your practice doesn’t have to be nearly that intense, but you’ll want to find some movement practice that speaks to you, especially if you sit at a desk all day and most of your life is spent in your head space.
I spent decades living from and in my discursive mind, and let’s just say that it’s not a recipe for tilling new grooves of more life-affirming habits.
Find at least 10 minutes a day for a sitting—or walking—meditation practice. Not sure where to start? There are lots of resources online and most likely in your local community too, so ask around.
Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project is a free online resource—with paid options if you want to go deeper into it—that I like to share with people who have never meditated before and want to start.
Take a cue from Ayurveda, Yoga’s sister science devoted to well-being, and get outdoors, even if it’s only for a few minutes each day. Tune into the rhythms of the season by taking a walk, and even better if you can do it around the same time each day.
I have found that I make better decisions after I’ve spent time communing with the natural world.
5. Create a vision board.
What do you want more of in your life? Create a vision board or a vision book and fill it with images or words that represent dreams big and small. Look at it every morning or every night before you go to bed.
I’m a big believer that if you create space in your life through the other four steps, space starts to open up for people and activities that are more in line with what nourishes you.
You’ll want this vision board as inspiration for why you’re headed to the cushion to meditate instead of flopping onto the couch to zone out in front of the TV.
For me, creating actual free time in my calendar is a work in progress. Just last month I made some hard choices, like giving up teaching a Yoga class that I adore—but it had to be done as I make space in my life to try to start a family. And, truth be told, my schedule is still pretty tight.
I play air traffic control with a full-time job, a side business, Yoga teaching, finishing up an Ashtanga apprenticeship program, and carving out quality time on the domestic front.
Thanks to these practices, though, I’ve never felt more free.
Engineering an emotional jail-break from the prison of the endless to-do list? I’d say that’s a pretty valuable superhero trait.
Check out the Green Divas Peace Out Meditation series. Here’s a SAMPLE of the Tech Time Out guided meditation. The whole podcast is 30 minutes, which you can purchase here for less than a cup o’ joe.
Asst. Ed.~Green Diva Amanda \ Additional image via shutterstock.com