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Go Take a Moment Just for You

Posted by Becca Marcus at 19th August, 2010

by Natalie Gratkowski, Woodhull Alumna

GO GO GO…that’s been my mentality since, well, a while. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an “expert” on meditation, or rater its philosophy.  I find that sitting in my yoga class, I can do quite well in meditation, which my yoga teacher attributes to a collective energy, but on top of that I think it’s also because it correlates with a school like environment. Ever since kindergarten I have had the understanding that school is a responsibility and you do your best because it is important. That’s me. I give 110% when something is important.  And let me mention that I consider myself pretty well rounded- in that my goals span many areas mainly academic, professional, spiritual, personal and social. They are all important and they all require grit and systematized effort. Obviously, I have a planner.  And a compartmentalized life, well, its effective if you are on a deadline but from time to time an internal voice steps in and reminds me to slow down, even if just a tad bit.

Last week it was especially bad, to the point that I couldn’t get up in the morning, at my ideal time, (which my best friend thinks is a ludicrous time to get up if you’re not heading into an office) because I was dreading it I found an article titled “Why it’s Smart to be an Early Riser” and there was a tip for stressed out early birds. It advised to not allow your immediate consciousness to rush through your to do list and responsibilities, but rather to discipline yourself to thinking only about the next ten minutes. Then what you will have for breakfast etc. And that way you start your day in pleasant gradual intervals, which for me meant that I could use this as an inspiration to take back some of my morning time- that had lately been overwhelmed.  Surprise surprise, this has actually increased my productivity during the last week. The Buddhists have a saying “If we are facing the right direction all we have to do is keep on walking” and this always calms my frantic self down. Because if your mind and energy is running circles and exhausting itself, how much can you really be getting done?

Having said all of this a final puzzle piece fell in. While packing myself and my daughter Shannen up to go to the park I glanced at my daily to do list ad realized that all but one thing had been finished. Smiling I left for the park, although not as relaxed as you would assume someone should be when they have finished all they need to do by 2PM. Oh no, that’s not quite my personality. Instead of breathing deeply and relaxing I keep going. My mind rattles on to what I have left to do the following day, a month from now, and years from now. Yes, I have a Yoga side and a New York side, a common match these days, and one Elizabeth Gilbert made a fortune on. (I’m obviously a big fan.) In the park I’m busy with my thoughts constantly being interrupted by Shannen who wanted to show me the stick she found, the “perfect” leaf she found, the tree that Mr. Tumnus potentially lives in etc. My intention was dead set on getting to the play ground and hers was, oh my, in the moment. Children are natural born yogis and what do we turn them into? In that moment I realized that this was an instance where Shannen was teaching ME something.

Natalie with daughter, Shannen, at a park in Italy, 2009

Teaching me to SEE the park I was in, and not just hold it as an abstract place in my mind. Showing me that it’s not The Park but the tree ahead of me, the stone I just kicked, and the leaf we just picked up.   Of course, I laughed at myself and resolved to take a breather and fully enjoy this quality time with my daughter. But let me not stop there. I promised that I would carry this through and make it part of day to day life so that I could be living in my life and not just living “My Life”.

In the end its quite exciting to see what any ambitious “go-getter” can achieve if she learns how to simultaneously relax and appreciate the present. Because essentially what she is doing is allowing herself a moment to bask in her accomplishments and enjoy some of the scenery along the drive to her dreams. So go ahead and smell the roses, savor the meal or do whatever else, that makes your heart sing.

About Becca Marcus

Becca Marcus has written 46 articles on this blog.

Becca is the Program Coordinator at the Woodhull Institute. She is a graduate of Vassar College with a BA in Media Studies and a correlate in Women's Studies. Becca is interested in Remix Video, collaborative technology, and Feminist community building.

Category : Community Member Projects and Updates / Living

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