Next Step

English: Şerafeddin Sabuncuoğlu (1385-1468) Po...


Ann Randolph taught me to write “what next” whenever the words stop appearing on the page. I use it with life as well. In life “what next” translates itself into “next step?”
I had the mental disorder known as “multi-tasking” most of my adult life. I think I caught it when I returned to work after my kids started school. Until then, life was relatively simple. As I think back I am realizing my simple life slowly grew more complicated as I added layers to it. As a child, school, church and friends were about all I concerned myself with. In my teens my obsession with boys took over, church was out (that’s a story for another day) and school and friends remained as my focus of attention.
After college my job and the boyfriend d’jour plus my best girlfriend were it. Then I got married, taught school, moved to the farm and started a business. Life was getting complicated. Add to the mix a “problematic social life” and I learned to dodge, duck and cover without dropping the baby.
Multi-tasking is a sinister art form. As I became a first-rate multi-tasker, my peace of mind and sense of calm departed. I could manage a to-do list that would make a more sane person get weak in the knees. I could accomplish more in a one day than most would attempt in a week!  And I was forgetting to breathe.
Massage school and yoga were my salvation. I left teaching and started massage school when I was 44. I also got serious about my yoga and meditation practice which I had dropped when the babies came. I remembered to breathe again.
The multi-tasking didn’t end overnight. I continued to do too much in too little time at the expense of my peace of mind but I was starting to get it, “This is not a healthy (or fun) way to live.”
Slowly I slowed down. Many teachers were waiting for me as I walked the path back to a centered life. As I learned to ground and center, breathe and drop in, I realized life is not a race. There is no agenda but that of my own making. I don’t need to know how it is going to play out. I only need to know my “next step.” One step at a time, fully present and conscious to what I am thinking, saying and doing, I move in the direction of life.
I still have to bring myself back over and over. I still have a compulsion to do too much. But I am learning that life is an unfolding and my boat will continue to float where the river wants to take me even when I lay down my oars.


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