Wow this summer has flown by. I try to post monthly but this has been a very busy summer. I often sub and take on ways to help those teachers that are away. Finding balance is hard because I often want to help when I have time open on my schedule. Having open time though shouldn’t mean I have to fill it. So to help me, I often make appointments on my calendar where I tell myself “don’t book anything here”; knowing that the time is open but that days before or after are also busy and I’ll need to be off. My husband has gotten used to seeing me post these appointments. For me it is helpful because I receive many emails a day from teachers who need immediate help. I check but then again I have to get into the mode that not every open time means I can help sub a class. I teach full time and my schedule is different each day and week. I have to admit that my schedule is pretty full – teaching often 3 to 4 regular classes a day. Then if I sub that can mean 5 in a day.
I have been working out my fall class schedule lately and it includes more workshops at some new spaces. Teaching occasionally at these spaces is much easier than having weekly/daily classes. So my plan, yes I have a business plan, has been to teach less classes and more workshops.
Last week I was very sick and it required me to stop and find subs myself. I don’t teach just at one place so while sick I had to manage the places that needed canceling and those that needed subs. Waiting for responses while sick feels like forever. I was out for days and so many stepped up to help me which I appreciated knowing I never take off and my students knew it must have been serious for me to be gone. It made me really think about the fact that I never have a single day off to myself. The only time I have off is when it is a holiday. Most often I plan my errands and appointments in between teaching. So I meditated on this situation.
I thought about solutions for days. While thinking about it I thought about my intension, which was to have an entire day off. I could see when my reaction would drift into thoughts of pleasing others. Then it would drift into someone being mad or disappointed. I would see my thoughts drifting negative and say “yes but that shouldn’t hold you back after all my intension wasn’t out of anger”. Then my thoughts would drift into “they will take it personally or think it is because you have another job”. Ok now back to my intension. Then I made myself think about a choice that didn’t worry about anyone else and notice how I felt. I thought about my Friday classes; I only have two right now. I would go back to thinking about the students – oh how I like them. Oh wait that isn’t my intension right now. Ok – back to imagining – now imagine having Fridays off. As I did that my heart and chest felt better. My breath became softer. Just imagining a day off to make appointments, go visit friends and maybe go out on date with my husband. I immediately knew this was the solution.
So this is am example of how I meditate to find clarity in my decisions. My reactions are going to pull me into doubt, fear, shame, judgment and worry. “What about the missing income!”. “Can you afford this?” – All good thoughts to have but again finding solutions means considering ALL factors. Once I knew the choice I had to make I did look into my budget and schedule and it is balanced. I can do this. So come September I will have Fridays off and work hard to keep it that way. The studio owners and students have been so supportive and understanding. None of the fears I imagined happened. I have already blocked off my calendar to say “Don’t even think about it girl!” Now I’ll have a full day of self-care each week.
I know it sounds like what’s the big deal? “Of course you should take care.” Before you even message me, believe me I get the message and feel shamed enough. Yet I wanted to write it because I’m in a business of self-care but I can tell you I’m not the only one. Every business has its hypocrisy. When I was an accountant we used to joke about how bad accountants are with their records. Accountants are also the last ones to take care of their finances or taxes for themselves because they are often taking care of it for someone else. I know of health care professionals who are the worst with their health. The list can go on and on. Point isn’t that a good teacher, dr. or accountant is better for not failing. By being honest and upfront they are often able to apply their own lessons to help others. We are all imperfect. That is called “being human”. What my practice did for me was allowed me to recognize it, allow for it, investigate and without judgement listen with clarity and see if solutions are there. (R.A.I.N.)
So I’m no different than others and will make plenty of mistakes in my self-care but I did want to write this message and explain how I use meditation. I often use the words “I’ll meditate on that” and I’m asked what I mean by that. So I thought I would offer a real life example. When you start practicing the steps mentioned above you will start to do this in little ways in your daily life as well. What shall I eat for lunch? Which way will I drive home? How should I handle an email?
I do hope this helps if you are struggling with finding solutions. Meditate on it and try to find some clarity. Jai!