At first, I felt anxious. My hands wanted more to do. I felt guilty for taking so much time to myself — a rare luxury. But slowly, I felt a growing sense of freedom.
By day three, I started to notice that most of my thoughts weren’t important. The near-constant critiques of myself and others, vague worries, and attempts to control situations were reinforcing my unspoken negative beliefs about the world and myself. This space junk adrift in the galaxy of my mind wasn’t just useless, it was potentially damaging. I realized that I would be better off silently repeating a prayer or mantra than letting my mind rehearse this unconscious chatter. In fact, I’d be better off saying “flamingo, flamingo” over and over than most of what I was repeating to myself!
As I began to settle into the daily routine of meditation, asana and journaling, I learned that life goes on regardless of how hard I think about it. All those things I worry about? They are going to happen — or not. What really matters is my connection to my deepest self. What I accomplish does not matter as much as who I am. I began to understand that urgency was an invention, a diversion created by my mind. It simply wasn’t necessary. Things that truly need my attention will get it, without a bunch of bluster and melodrama.
My biggest discovery? That I am a human being not a human doing. That knowledge has carried through to all areas of my life. Now, whenever I feel urgency, I ask myself: Can it wait nine days? Most of it can.