Riding The Waves And Finding Calm In the Process

Every moment is so full. It feels like each second my to do list expands with priorities shifting each moment.

Everything feels urgent and important. It reminds me of those contest where you step into a chamber where money blows all around you and your goal is to grab as much as you can in a minute. It is disorienting- hard to determine if you should go after one bill or grab for many. Or the moments when I first learned to surf and got pummelled in the washing machine of what appeared to me to be a rather large wave. That round and round panic, not knowing which way is up or how much longer you can hold your breath.

Do you feel it too?

This weekend I had to make it stop. I set aside the to do list. Not for long mind you, but for long enough to catch my breath and remember what it is like to be still. To find which way is up.

I can’t say I was doing nothing- I was still entertaining my son outside, watering plants and sitting in the sunshine, but I was doing a lot less then I normally do.

In a short time, I felt like I caught up with myself. My step-dad used to tell me that the aborigines in Australia would pause after a long trek so that their souls could catch up with them. He told this to my younger teenage self and again to my college self, both of whom had too much to do and too little time to do it. The same advice came to me now, when I am busier then I have ever been. When all of the following apply-

  1. I work full time for a company I am very devoted too

  2. I am a mom of an active kindergartner

  3. I am married to a busy teacher who is following his dream of making music

  4. I have housework and chores that never end- ever!

  5. I have two young dogs that would love to go on more adventures

  6. I am an artist pursing a passion and am working on my next show

  7. I am nearing completion of my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training

  8. I am setting the stage for teaching all the yoga, meditation, wisdom, etc that I have accrued in this life time.

It doesn’t just seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day- there aren’t enough hours of the day for me to make the progress I would like in any of these arenas. I feel like the contestant in the money machine- dashing about frantically trying to make headway. The novice surfer in the wave tossed around and around, holding her breath.

The only thing that has changed is that I accept this.

I used to hate this, and think it was a sign that I was doing something wrong. That life should be simple and I should be calm and happy at all times. First, I had to admit that I would be incredibly board with simple. Simple in the terms I had envisioned would be stagnant- there is a simplicity in life but it is dynamic and based on complexity. It is every changing- it is alive. What I needed to learn was to embrace the complexity, embrace the dance that whirled around me and stirred inside me. To participate in the dance that shaped and shifted me- instead of resisting it.

Then I had to find my peace in the whirling, swirling dance of it all. Yoga was the key to all of this. In moments of exertion- arms held awkwardly for longer then previously imagined possible, physically being pushed to my extreme and then finding the grit to push further, the battle of the subconscious deterring the mind from liberation- all these moments helped me find peace in the “turbulence” of my day to day.  After months of teacher training and a deepening of my daily yoga and meditation practice I saw the lack of engagement with the stress of my to do list. I still get a lot done and I still feel surges of overwhelm, but I don’t get pummeled by the waves of anxiety that used to hit me hard. Instead I learned how to first identify the wave as I feel it build under me. Then almost automatically I can take a deep breath and call it what it is- a wave that will pass. Instead of getting pulled under I have gained the potential to ride this “wave” in and channel that overwhelm instead of being, well, overwhelmed.

It has taken lots of practice and I have yet to master this (just ask those closest to me), but there is less energy lost in struggling against the wave and more energy spent navigating it. Although on the outside my life looks pretty much the same as it was when I was the busy student going and going, on the inside there is a quiet, dynamic peace that is replenished each time I take a deep breath and each time I stop and let my soul catch up with me.

About the Author

TayaTaya Malakian is a poet, an artist, a yogini, a mother, and a minister/spiritual advisor. She strives to bring deep wisdom, ceremony and soulfulness into every aspect of daily life. She lives in Nevada City, Ca.View all posts by Taya →