I have to say – I love my job(s). Everything about them, from the people I work with, to the patients I serve to the herbs I compound and the conferences I attend. There hasn’t been a morning that I can remember where I didn’t want to get out of bed and go to “work”. A big part of this is that I own my own business and I’m in charge of my schedule and daily tasks (for the most part). Of course, being the one-woman-business owner also comes with the paperwork, behind the scenes management rigors, sometimes endless email messages, and increasingly less and less time to get it all done. I easily work 45+ hours a week and take a lot of work home to finish up. About 4 months ago, I realized that an INSANE amount of my day was spent with my face in the computer – answering emails, doing research, patient charting, creating invoices, placing orders, reading blogs…so much so that I started to track it. Actually noticing every 15 minutes where I was and what I was doing with my time. And then I knew something had to change.
Enter Prajnaparadha. In Ayurveda, the concept of prajnaparadha literally means “an offense against wisdom”or, mistakes in judgement. I see this as innately knowing what is right and knowingly doing the opposite. Obviously, this is a state of major resistance and a primary cause of dis-ease and imbalance. Now, I’ve known about this concept for a few years, and a couple of months ago I started to see this word everywhere. (When it’s time to make a change, the universe just doesn’t let you ignore it). I can take a hint. So I stopped and reassessed.
Once we’re on a roll with our routines, it is extremely difficult to stop and make major (and even minor!) changes to our comfortable habits. But I did, and here’s what I noticed:
- What makes me the happiest is spending face time with people, my partner and my cat.
- What makes me happiest is being outside, working in the garden, going hiking/camping, seeing my family and exercising my body.
- What makes me the happiest is having daily practices and rituals, like yoga, tea and coffee time, meditation and alone time with good books.
- What makes me happiest is having time to cook good food from start to finish and sharing it.
- What makes me most unhappy is not doing any of these things.
At that point, I was only doing my happiest things when I had 10 or 15 minutes to spare occasionally, maybe three times a week. My time had been so consumed with saying “yes”to too may things and bringing work home that I was knowingly going against my better judgement of allowing time for better balance. So I made the intention to change some things, which was way harder than I thought. I felt I was literally giving myself a kick in the pants to let some things go and start better things. It was seriously alarming how hard it was to change my routine – I had so much ingrained resistance and fear that if I let too many things go, my business would suffer or I would be letting people down somehow. Obviously, upon even a speck of reflection, this was all a story in my head.
So I reassessed again, and here’s what I decided:
- I will stop bringing work home with me every night and finish what I can finish at my office. What is left will be for tomorrow. If it builds up, I’m taking on too much. Scale back.
- I will become a little more impervious to the expectations of replying by email. I will reply within a week, not within a day (emergencies excluded).
- I will keep one weekend every month free and plan absolutely nothing.
- I will start working with a personal trainer to build core strength back that I have lost with my (AMAZING) desk job. I want to hike up a mountain again and not feel like my body will crumple under me.
- I will spend at least 45 minutes every day reading something awesome that’s not on a computer screen. (Confession – I just started reading Happy Potter and I…can’t…even….SO GOOOD). This 45 minutes has now easily turned into about 2+ hours.
- I will put aside some time (be it 5 minutes or 30 minutes) to sit quietly and meditate, drink tea, and be present every morning before I start the day.
- (This was the hardest) I will keep my computer closed, in my bag from the second I get home until I go to work the next day. (If it’s something that will be enjoyable and fun, it may make an appearance.) Far less computer time at home. MORE FACE TIME.
So these are major changes that I started about 2-3 months ago, slowly working them into my new routines and rituals. Suddenly, a lot of the things I “didn’t have time for”made their way back into my life like cooking and enjoying meals every night, starting new study programs, movement/yoga practices nearly every day and just being an overall happier and more balanced person. I have never been a “stressed out”person, however I can feel measurably different and lighter knowing that I am not over booking and over working myself.
It’s funny how our culture, today, has openly accepted working overtime, being overloaded with obligations and constantly chained to their devices for quick communication. Sure – they’re a blessing and curse, a convenience and a ball and chain. So many jobs now require people to be available 24/7, accessible at home at all hours and expect email replies within the hour. I hope you all know that we are allowing this to happen. For so many people, it’s wearing them away, causing stress and anxiety and the shunning of otherwise happy, reinvigorating things from their life. Keep in mind the prajnaparadha – what is your truth and what are you doing about it? What is one change you would make in your life if you could (because you CAN!). Even the small things make such a difference.
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com