The Crazy Train—it’s a train I regularly find myself riding. And the funny thing is that I hop on without even realizing it until I find myself in a semi-crazed and frantic mode with my hair so wind-blown it is permanently standing on its ends. It is then that I decide it is time to step off, even if only for a moment.
If you live in this Western Culture where it has been ingrained in us since birth to value more, to be more, and to do more, then you too probably know what train I am talking about. We probably waved to each other yesterday while both riding on it.
I don’t have to tell *you* that life is busy and sometimes it seems as if we have too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. We may find ourselves constantly living in our heads, thinking about what needs to get done next rather than living in the moment, fully present with what we are doing right now.
These past few weeks have been particularly crazy–shuttling kids to and from school, to and from activities, coaching soccer, working on my Ph.D., teaching yoga, teaching other classes, writing, planning more work to add to my schedule, caring for the household, investing in my marriage and other relationships. I am paradoxically trying to find balance by doing more.
And while I love the work I am doing and the activities I participate in, I simply forgot something in the midst of the hustle and bustle. I forgot that I am a human BEing, not a human doing, and I need to take the time to just simply BE. To savor the moment that is so quickly passing me by.
As Rob Bell says, “We are meant to feel the depth and density of everyday moments.” If we are caught on the hamster wheel, we lose this experience, and may soon find ourselves spinning on a wheel that is out of control if we don’t take time each day to step off, to just be.
When I first got sober, I was meditating every day, multiple times a day. The benefits were immediate and immense. I felt more at peace, calm, less reactive, and more grounded. As my plate started to overflow, my meditation practice fell off—as happens to so many of us.
The other night, I found myself in that frantic mood I just spoke of—not a crazy frantic—just mind racing from one thing to the next, thinking about all I had to do and get done. I decided to just sit for a moment and shuffle my Oracle Cards to see what the universe had to offer up.
Of course, “Slow and Steady” was the card that I drew. “…Moving too quickly will only yield unripe fruit with a bitter taste. Slow down. Breathe. Meditate. You’re not a human doing. You’re a human being. Just be.”
I took a deep breath. Wow. “You’re not a human doing. You’re a human being.”
Those words really struck a chord. Just like the acorn who transforms into the majestic and radiant oak tree just by surrendering to nature’s process, maybe I too am like the acorn. If I can slow down and take the time to just be, will my life unfold as nature intended?
We are here to fully experience all that is unfolding around us. To co-create. To love. To deeply know ourselves. To know the Truth. Stepping off the train doesn’t mean you stop participating. In fact, it means you are participating more fully.
The Oracle Card went on to say, “Everything will work out if you can apply the brakes and become more aware of what’s happening in this moment. A calm focus on the now, breathing in the beauty of your surroundings, will restore your power to consciously co-create your world.”
Funny thing is, the very next day I forgot all of the wisdom this card had offered to me. Ha! I had so much to do to get ready to leave town and my mind was onto the next thing, even before I was! Not surprisingly, I lost my phone. Panic set in. I’m leaving town! I have a ten-hour drive! What will I do without my podcasts and audiobooks!?!?
Then it clicked…oh, I can just be. The universe was obviously nudging me in that direction. As soon as I found acceptance, I found my phone. And I decided to take the advice that was offered.
Instead of engaging my mind and listening to all of my favorite authors and speakers, I decided instead to tune into my body—which has wisdom to offer that the brain is not capable of. I cranked the music LOUD in the car. I felt the music. I sat there taking in the depth and density of each moment. I was present. And it felt divine! I felt calm and grounded.
Next time you find yourself riding The Crazy Train…
Notice what your mind is doing. Is it present with the now, or is it in the future thinking of all that needs to get done? Notice how your body feels in reaction to these thoughts. Are you holding tension? Notice your breathing—is it shallow? Is it rapid?
Take a few deep breaths to slow the mind down. Know and trust that life is unfolding just as it should, and that really, you don’t have any control. Breathe into the fact that you are here to experience this life in a physical form—to BE. If you’re caught on the crazy train, you will miss so much if you don’t take the time to consciously breathe it all in. To savor the depth and density of the moment.
This can be in the form of mediation or a mindfulness practice. Anything that will drop you back into the now and help you to slow it down. You can sit in stillness and just listen to the sounds you hear. You can crank up your favorite song and notice how it feels in your body as you listen. You can focus on your breath. Taking these momentary pauses throughout the day can help us to be more present, to be with life as it is.
No matter how busy we are, we can all find time. When you’re brushing your teeth, when you’re sitting on the toilet, when you are in the car, before or after eating a meal, you can even set a timer on your phone to send you reminders throughout the day. The list is endless when it comes to opportunities to slow it down.