Recently, with a pinched nerve in my neck, I have been focusing on the physical preservation of my body. I have been pondering the scary long-term effects possible when we run into issues with the spinal column, nervous system, and fundamental structures of the body. Being an athlete since I can remember, the physical preservation always took priority in my daily life. The idea of rest and sustainability is now presenting itself with a stronger voice because I’m being forced to reevaluate or face more unfortunate consequences. Because I’m not feeling extreme pain or unable to use my extremities, I’m having to mentally convince myself to hold patience for my health and “take it easy” or whatever that means. The fact that I say “whatever that means” is where I am coming to terms with my activity level and drive to beat Seabiscuit to the finish line. This competitive nature in me is becoming less and less attractive. Where I once thrived on the idea of being stronger, healthier, smarter, “better!”, I know look at the anxiety and threat that those intense qualities bring to my personality. For how many years have I been pressured by my ego? The long answer to that one is not how many, but an awareness that it could be many more if I allow it! Can we all stop, erase the “whatever that means” in tasks we deem mindless or necessary and truly mean whatever doing?
Part of me is open to the idea and part of me screams “NO!” for the unknown of what may happen if I loose the reins on the horsepower of life. So often, slow in our culture is linked to laziness, failure, being average, unsuccessful, and not good enough. It is hyperlinked to websites of diets, exercise, yoga retreats, meditation and vegetable juices. All of which (minus the low-carb crap diets) I participate in on a regular basis, so I can’t say I’m not guilty to reaping the benefits of the western idea of health. Basically for my whole life, I’ve avoided S.L.O.W. because I was ultimately afraid of being judged and not noticed. Now I see that people notice me, but for being the overly energetic girl who can put too many eggs in my basket, get shit done, but maybe be too stressed out, intense or bossy about situations/problems. So, I’m slowing down enough to question if I’m preserving myself to flourish beyond today. And today after a funny, ‘laugh at yourself because YES, you really just did that’ moment, I realized:
WE DESERVE TO PRESERVE OURSELVES. We deserve to physically, mentally AND emotionally preserve our energy, youthfulness, love and body to live decades of active participation and stamina.
So…the funny story! Driving in my car to the local coffee shop this afternoon, I was minding my business dreaming of coffee and tapping my sterring wheel to a song when a woman stopped in the middle of an intersection to look for parking spots down the road (ah, San Francisco drivers!). My first reaction was to yell, which I did, because I knew she couldn’t hear me. I couldn’t believe she was so oblivious that I was behind her…like I was some royal princess driving down Sacramento street. Then I thought, why the hell was I yelling? Why did I choose to get so frazzled by her lack of driving etiquette? Even though she can’t hear me and it feels good to yell sometimes, what am I doing to my stress levels by getting upset at my surroundings with no blatant reason besides the fact I really wanted some coffee?!
I contemplated the situation a little further and saw the connection between physical and emotional preservation. I have been so focused on my physical body lately, but this one moment gave me the reminder that our words, actions, reactions, and overall energy we put out into the world can create stress or ease…we choose. Unfortunately, I think we are more unconscious to our habitual reactions than consciously choosing. We are more concerned about where we’re going, what we’re doing, and how we personally can benefit. Yelling at some woman, blaming her for having to stop at the STOP sign a little longer is just a lesson that I need to hit my emotional brakes, slow down, and preserve my energy. How much energy do we put into negatively reacting if things go astray? What is it accomplishing?
Whether it’s as simple as freaking out over another’s driving skills or rolling my eyes at the store attendent when the line is really long, I hope that I can step away from wasting my energy on being selfish and slow down to honor where I am at and what I am doing — to Mean Whatever I’m Doing rather than acting like I don’t have time to stand in line. I bet there’s something interesting if I looked around without judgement or impatience.
Every one of us deserves to preserve ourselves to the maximum. We are worthy! I am surrendering to the truth that I have to put equal awareness on physically, as well as, emotional preservation. I have to put my yoga practice and morning runs on hold as much as I need to quiet my yelling and offer up some softer, kinder words. I never thought I’d be unattracted to moving forward with efficiency and productivity, but I’m questioning if I can have both of those at the same time as gentleness, thoughtful actions/words, and less intensity. I hope to organically preserve my energy through mindfulness. I deserve to make more time for smiles and laughs, for myself and those around me, too. It’s time to share the eggs in my basket. How many do we really NEED anyways?