Ever felt like you need more space, that there simply are not enough hours in the day to be and do all you want or have to do? Perhaps you feel like this about your body - wishing for more spaciousness in the hamstrings, the back, the breath, or perhaps feeling like your mind is so full it's about to boil over.
Wishing for more time and space is something I'm sure most of us have done at some point, but have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to have more space? What does that actually mean anyway? Less hours at work? Less multi-tasking, more focus? Greater ease in the body and clarity in the thoughts? Even if you haven't given it much of a thought past simply wishing for it, I'm pretty sure you at least think it would be better than what you have now, that to have more space and time would make you feel better, right?
Well, let me share something.
Just before Christmas I gave up my consultancy work. I wasn't unhappy - in fact, the opposite, I felt really happy there. I was earning good money, felt I was achieving a good balance between teaching yoga, earning money, using my skill set etc etc. On paper, and in my head, it all looked fantastic.
Only I knew, deep down, I was tricking myself. I was ticking the boxes sure, seeking approval from the external world of money and career and status. But really I was keeping myself in an long old belief that likes to pretend it's gone away but then continues to control me from another place: that old belief that there isn't enough, which basically boils down to one core belief: I am not enough.
A little nudge from the right person, and I gave it all up. I felt nervous but confident, excited about the future and what it may bring. And I knew January would be busy - I had two retreats to run as well as two workshops and a new schedule of classes. January being January, everything was pretty busy, and I was on such a high.
In fact, I remember so clearly running my bi-annually Rest and Restore Retreat at Hawkwood College (bookings open for Sept by the way, click here) feeling so full of love and joy and expansiveness that I knew I was doing the right thing.
Then, I crashed. One day I woke up and could barely move. Walking the dog took more energy than I had, and I found myself finding last minute cover for classes because I simply did not have the energy to teach. Maybe I had a virus, but as a believer in the mind-body connection, I knew there was also a message for me here: to really find out what space meant.
I took a week off and by myself went to a friend's house in Wales. I walked on the beach, I practiced yoga and yoga nidra, I studied, and I also watched dvds at 2pm and slept for 10 hours a night. Being in isolated in this small way told me one thing: I need more of it.
It also showed me something out. Space is something we need to create. In our busy, attention seeking world, it is easy to always have something to do, whether it's the washing up, checking emails, making dinner, seeing a friend, whatever - there is usually something we feel is urgent enough that we have to do it now. Often we feel like we're just trying to keep on top of things before we completely go under.
It also taught me something else: that to find yourself with that time and space you longed for isn't always easy. The adrenaline can crash, you may feel unfocused and unproductive. The people around you are still busy and stressed. And you - well, you're not really sure what you're doing, because suddenly you're not frantically getting through a to do list, you're simply decompressing from the manic busy-ness you've been living for however many months/years.
One thing I know for sure is that when you create more space, be it giving up a side job like I did or cutting down your hours a bit, or perhaps not saying yes to every social invitation going, you need have your inner resource. For me, it's yoga and writing. You may find your support in running, cooking, dancing, going for regular massages, whatever. But when we allow space to come into the life, we must also take precautions. When we make any change in our life, big or small, it often involves stepping out of the comfort zone and the distraction that busy-ness keeps us in.
If you're thinking about making some changes in your life to create more time and space, hats off to you. I'm in the thick of it myself, and I can tell you one thing: it is totally worth it. I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments below.