Monday, February 3, 2014

Am I Too Aware?

A few weeks ago I was talking to a colleague who teaches yoga to the clients at the company I work for, and she said something that stuck with me enough to blog about it.

"I don't understand those people who hardly sleep at night and just carry on their day just fine; work, drinks, late nights and consistent minimal sleeping hours. I just don't get it....

"They are NOT EVEN AWARE of what they are doing to their bodies!"

This peaceful yoga devotee was aggravated at others for not minding there bodies, and on top of it "they" still had the energy to go to dinners, wine and dine clients and make more money than most exercise professionals do. I, too, have a little envy for those people who are on auto pilot and can keep smiling and working double time without feeling the need to tell everyone that for the past 3 months they have gone on 4 hours of sleep a night. (Who am I kidding- I WAS one of those people all throughout my 3.5 MS/DPD program at NYU....)

A recent article I read highlighted some of the world's most successful CEOs and the amounts of sleep each one got. From Yahoo's Marissa Mayer to Square and Twitter's Jack Dorsey, they all seemed to have this special "no-sleep gene" that allows them more waking hours to be able to put in the work that is needed for them (in their position) to be successful. Perhaps they do share a gene, or perhaps they just don't think too much about it- for the more they think about their lack of sleep the less time they have to think about stocks, sales pitches or even putting dinner on the table for their kids.

Which leads me to another category-Mums. I am continuously flabber-gasted by the human nature of mums-take new mums for instance, mums who work and raise kids and wake up to feed their baby or calm their baby..... and they do this again and again PLUS put in well over 40 hours a week at work (speaking of Marissa Mayer...), on minimal sleep....(and speaking of NYU as I did above- they trained me well to do a million things at once and still come out on top-so maybe when I am a Mum it will just be another NYU Grad school experience, right? ;)  Being a Mum - a super woman power- I am convinced. Or maybe it is just that these Mums are not thinking about themselves- they are thinking about their children 94.7% of the time.


Are the CEO's and Mums of the world less mindful?

Am I too aware, too mindful?

Yes, sometimes I am.

I am (at times) too mindful. Just as I think that not being mindful at all may be hazardous to the health and, who knows, maybe Marissa Mayer will just have to sleep more and work less per her Doc's orders one day; I also think that being too mindful can get in the way of living in the present, and better yet, ENJOYING the present. Jon Kabat-Zinn says that "mindfulness is the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience." Present is the key word there, not awareness, not thinking-if one mistakes mindfulness for thinking they can easily over-think, leading to over-analyzing, and in reality, we all know that this is not the most relaxing state to be in.

I promote mindfulness meditation for employees down on Wall Street in our corporate office and started the program as a pilot. After the first session they were asking if we could do this technique every day.

This is an example of how great mindfulness meditation can be; and the best thing about it is that it has taught me that the practice of meditation is not so much as to be aware of the hands on a clock or the list of things that must get done in the next 24 hours at work, and more about getting out of my head and into my body. That, for me, is the essence of mindfulness, and as a Pilates teacher and a student for the past 12 years that's exactly what this form of exercise has done for me. I could never fully do Joe Pilate's original 34 matt exercises correctly and effectively if I was not present. Pilates keeps me aware, but not too aware.

Mindful Awareness-To Be Present. It is not a Let Go, it is a Let Be, it is not Self-Absorption, it is Self-Realization, it is not a Crowd, it is Solo. I mistook awareness as a means to think, which led me to become too aware; now I stop thinking too much and start breathing more, start being more. Don't get me wrong, thinking is beautiful, afterall the library is becoming the only bit of evidence we have that people are still thinking, but awareness is above thinking, its everything and its nothing rolled into one.

So, the next time you are at the office and you keep thinking about how much work you have and how little sleep you got, stop thinking, start being, and always, always breath.

No comments:

Post a Comment