Purging Past Stuff

Years ago, I had an entrepreneurial idea. A store in midtown Manhattan was going out of business. They had all these Afghani leg warmers for sale. I had the brilliant idea of buying 25 pairs, and choosing to make makeshift yoga bags out of them. It was my new idea of recycling, and incorporating my new found love for yoga and creativity. I spent hours creating these, gave numerous ones away to friends, fellow yoginis, and even sold a few. But the rest just lingered. I thought I had given them all away, until I came upon a box today and found 6. Initially i wondered who I can give them to now that would appreciate them. But now they appear horrid to me. Could I return them back to their original form as leg warmers? I tried, no luck. I cannot force myself to like them.

Seeing these creations somehow brought anxiety to me. It also brought embarrassment and shame. How could I have ever thought this would be a great idea? Negative self-talk reverberated in my brain regarding this failed business experiment. This then began led to other strong failed business ventures that were never explored. Before this got out of control I had to remind myself, to practice compassion. Speak words of loving kindness to myself. Also this is a great time to continue to practice letting go.

These yoga bags no longer serve me, as bags or leg warmers. I can thank them and let them go as Marie Kondo suggests. As I move from home to home, I am so used to keeping things that are boxed up. If it’s completely worn or used, it’s easy to throw away. But things that I had intentions for, I feel they will continue to be carried along with me. Despite the fact that I age, I had assumed these items would have grown with me. But they haven’t. It was who I was over a decade ago, and I don’t need to hold onto that. In the process of ridding items, I have rid almost 200 items in the past 40 days. This is quite a miracle for me.

I am hopeful it will continue to bring clarity of what I really want in my life at this time. Not what I wanted in the past or hope for in the future, but now.

Tube Meditation

Can you observe stillness in movement?

I believe you can. Generally on the tube, I am busy reading, writing, or listening to music. There are few moments where I simply observe. But today, for at least part of the journey I did. Of course there were the regulars who had their eyes gazing towards their phones, or some people were reading the paper. Two Polish workmen who seemed to be coming off a day at a job, dirt lined shoes and pants sat across from each other. They barely spoke to each other, but also seemed to be in zombie post-work tiredness.

One woman who wore a knitted scarf, and a knitted pin of a sheep, sat and knitted another scarf. When the train got quite crowded, a man standing was full teeth smiling. He wasn’t talking to anyone, I didn’t see a baby in sight. Who was he smiling at? Is it wrong to question someone smiling for no reason?

I see a woman who looks familiar, she resembles my great-grandmother who died many years ago. She has a tiny pamphlet in her hand. I can’t decode the language from my viewpoint. Is it Korean or Sanskrit ? She is looking down at this pamphlet ? Is she sleeping, or praying as she sits on the tube? She looks peaceful . The woman sitting next to her catches me glancing at my faux great grandma. I smile. She looks away. We can’t make eye contact and smile simultaneously.

The norm on the tube and most subways are to stay confined to your own world, with a solemn face, absorbed in your own activities, while still being alert enough to ward off any lewd mishaps that may occur. Although personal space is non-existent, arms and feet may be touching, but there are no words generally said or eyes that are looked at. Smiles are only reserved for children or amazing musical performers.

We are all being transported the same direction, people flowing in and out of the doors, our minds are chattering, but can we be still?

As I walked out of the tube to my connecting stop, at pure rush hour, I put on my headphones. Sometimes overly crowded spaces where people seem to push each other, I need additional relaxation. The song was “Walk A Little Faster,” by Fiona Apple. Someone strongly brushed past me. If I was irritable I may have yelled or pushed back, but I simply allowed it to happen. Perhaps she really needed to be in a rush.

I can make these one hour tube rides enjoyable, even after a day at work with a two hour commute. Adding an additional two hours to transportation midweek has the potential to be educational and even refreshing.

The joy gained can be during the journey. But if not l, I find it upon arriving at my favourite tube stop: Angel Station. Generally an inspirational or humorous quote is awaiting me at the top of the elevator . And so today it goes…

Extending the Tech Sabbatical

 

I am debating to increase my internet sabbatical to two days a week.  For the past 9 months, I have opted for Saturdays to be my Tech Sabbatical. Initially I didn’t think my life could go without technology with one day per week.  Surprisingly I look forward to it.  My friends and family now know not to expect me to check emails or social media.  When I am out with friends, I am not the one who is looked at to search directions or fetch an uber. Not only have I survived this, but I have relished in it. The next day when I do check the tech, I realize there is nothing I have missed.

 

The sad thing is the remaining 6 days of the week, I notice how much my free time gravitates to the phone.  I check emails incessantly, even though only ten minutes have passed since the last time I have checked.  If my day is not busy, I notice this habit becomes more prominent.  My body starts to warn me that it has not adjusted to the shift that had just occurred.  My eyes have become tired, my hand starts to hurt from holding the phone, my head is busy inputting and rearranging data for the next google search to begin.  I’m also overall exhausted.  This evening, I tried to listen to a guided meditation when I got home, and I fell asleep for several minutes.  But I was more rejuvenated with the recognition that additional space from technology is warranted.

 

Perhaps I may need to extend this tech break to more than one day a week.  Or check emails only twice a day.  I have learned to turn the ringer off my phone, I don’t want the sound to give me a serotonin boost. A friend has joked with me that we text too much, and I have become too dependent on responses. The solution: old fashioned letter writing with proper stationary.

 

And I have to admit this is refreshing.

 

I need to set these clear boundaries with texting and technology, because if the framework doesn’t exist, it’s easy to get swept away.

 

My dogs too are also begging for attention, when I get home from work.  Put away the phone and tv, and observe their smiles, snores, and hilarious ways to get my attention.

 

At a recent retreat, I brought up to one of the facilitators my weekly 24 hour tech sabbatical.  I was proud, I had added this into my life.  He noted, “You only take one day off from technology? Why not more?”  I gasped when he said this.  24 hours was plenty, and already absurd when I mentioned it to colleagues and family. Anything more would mean I am regressing back in time or joining a monastery.  But now I think back to that moment.  Perhaps twice a week isn’t so crazy.   Maybe what is more crazy making is to continue the path I am on.

 

 

How has technology impacted your world? Is it under control?  Do you notice how it interweaves into your daily life? Are weekly sabbaticals doable for you?

 

“Disconnecting from technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential.”-Arianna Huffington