“Your past exerts itself on your present. If you don’t consciously choose the direction of your life, your past will choose it for you.”
-Rod Stryker, The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom
Sometimes life gets in the way of our good intentions and routine. Yoga three times a week had me feeling great. This week a series of work and personal commitments got in the way. For most people taking a week off from a routine can be a welcomed break that allows them to return to the routine feeling refreshed. Instead of refreshed, I feel fatigued and stressed.
Looking back at the week, it wasn’t just about what I did not do (yoga), but it was what filled the time instead. While they were important things, they were also things that depleted me. As I start to feel better, it is easier to slip back into filling my time with things that aren’t part of the reboot. I know my recovery is fragile. I don’t regret the choices I made this week, but there has to be a better balance.
My yoga teacher starts each class by telling us to “set our intention” for our practice. In the beginning I found this interesting. I mean we are there, right? Isn’t the intention clear? Then I started to imagine how a spin class or body sculpting class would be different if I consciously set my intention on a better butt or stronger arms. My experience this week has given me the opportunity to think about my intentions from an even broader perspective. What are my intentions for my life? I know that I need to look at my calendar each week and reserve time for the things that are making a difference. This cuts down on my usual spontaneity, but it keeps me focused. I have to consciously set my intentions for my life.
Shortly after I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, I realized that I hadn’t been spending enough time thinking about the direction of my life, because I was spending all of my time focused on the direction of my career. Somehow I managed to maintain important relationships along the way, but I hadn’t maintained myself. I hadn’t thought enough about what I needed or wanted outside of work. If I hadn’t gotten sick, I would not have recognized what was happening. When I no longer had the energy to keep the pace, I was terrified by the thought that it was not sustainable. Now that my energy is back, it is easy to slip back into old habits. Even though I may have started this process motivated by the idea that I would “get my life back”, I know that this process isn’t just about reclaiming the past. It’s about reimagining the future. To do that, I have to choose that future on a daily basis.