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Saying woah

I don't know about you, but I get awfully busy sometimes. Work projects, teaching, personal time, sometimes I over-extend myself and I am left feeling that the most important things to me get dropped so that I can keep up on my promises. I recently read an article in Yoga Journal about practicing aparigraha (greedlessness) at the table, one of the ethical practices of yoga.

This idea of not taking more than we need or can use is a tough one in our Western culture, where consumption and competition seem to be hard-wired. And I wonder, how does this play out in an economic time that scarcity is becoming the norm? The article speaks about how scarcity can create a poverty mentality, in that you feel you don't have enough so you take more than you need, or what will be good for you. This in turn results in an inability to digest what we take in, which can lead to sickness.

Fortunately, Ayurveda gives some guidelines on how to determine how much to consume. Our bodies are beautifully designed, and the right amount is what will fit in two cupped hands. You can also use the measure of 50% solid, 25% liquid and 25% air. But how does this relate to time, work and staying solvent?

For me, I like to use a calendar to mark out my personal life, appointments, work responsibilities and fitness. I know, it seems rigid, but it actually gives me a good indication what I can take on, and what I need to say no to. And when I colour code the entries, like using blue for work and pink for fitness, I get a really quick indication of how balanced my days are. Checking in with my calendar also gives me that time to say woah, think about what I am committing to, and if it's really the right thing for me, my values and my goals. I am less inclined to grasp, and more inclined to be happy with what I have. I also find that if I do have a million commitments, I still strive to immerse myself in the task at hand, and do not think about the other millions.

But being fully present in the moment, I can give my best to clients and students, instead of doing just enough to get it done and running off to the next thing without properly finishing the first. This can be incredibly difficult, what with Twitter, Yammer, email and many other distractions! By allowing myself the time to completely "digest" my work, I hope it will continue to nourish my practice, make successful, meaningful projects, and happy clients.

What do you do to keep yourself sane and in balance?