So I’m driving down the highway with my husband. We were heading to the supermarket and right in front of us was a big Mack truck. Nothing too exciting about that, especially since they seem to go so slow. Even at top speeds.
But then I notice it …
DO NOT PUSH
Stenciled across the back and big as life.
DO NOT PUSH.
I thought that was really interesting. Why on earth would a gigantic truck have a sign like that on it?
And then it occurred to me. Sometimes we’re given signs. And this one was like a message from the cosmos staring back at me.
It made me realize that I’m always “pushing.”
- Tired? It’s ok. Push through it.
- Busy? Keep going. Push through it.
- Over scheduled? No worries. I’ll get it done. Push through it.
- Yoga pose hard to hold? Suck it up. Push through it.
Reflecting on the back of that truck really made me stop and think. It reminded me of a story I once heard Deepak Chopra tell. He says if you’re going in the right direction, things should move along smoothly. Like a leaf floating downstream. If it’s difficult, then you’re going in the wrong direction.
In other words …
DO NOT PUSH
This doesn’t mean we should sit around and wait for things to happen. There’s a balance that needs to be struck.
But one thing I know for sure is we don’t have to always be pushing. In the long run it’s not productive, it creates unnecessary stress and something I discovered first hand — it erodes health.
Since my adrenal collapse last April, I’ve had to make some adjustments to my life. Some drastic and some not so drastic changes. And one thing I realized is when your health bottoms out, you’ve got nothing but time to fix it. It doesn’t matter what else is on your plate. It’ll swiftly move to the bottom of the to-do list because all of a sudden you become your first priority. And while I wouldn’t recommend taking this route to find some space in your life to slow down and catch your breath, it can and does happen all the time. To people like you and to people like me.
Here’s a few simple things I’ve done to get myself back on track:
- Overworking was a big issue for me. So now I have an alarm on my phone that goes off at 7PM every night. The sound of ducks quacking is my daily reminder that my computer needs to be powered down. Ducks? Yes, ducks. I want my changes to be fun and not feel like a punishment, so no loud, obnoxious alarm for me.
- During the week, bedtime is 9PM. If I want to stay up and watch a little TV or read a good book, I allow myself an extra hour. But both of these activities need to be completed by 10PM. No negotiation. Sleep is critical for health because our bodies heal when they rest.
- If I’m really tired during the day and can’t stop to rest, I make whatever activity I’m doing into a meditative exercise. Slow down and take at least three deep, cleansing breaths. This can be particularly helpful after a long day’s work when you get home and remember you have to empty the dishwasher and then reload it just to clear some space to make dinner. Look at the task as meditation in motion. Pay attention to what you’re doing rather than having random (and often unpleasant) thoughts run through your mind. When we breathe deeply, we remove toxins from our body. Shallow breathing recycles the toxins back into our body. Which we definitely do not want.
- Stay connected. Being with people you love, like and care about is the most important life lesson we can learn. We’re not meant to be isolated and go at it alone. I’ve even found striking up a conversation with a stranger while waiting at the deli to lift my spirits.
Do you feel like your life is one thing after another and you’re constantly pushing your limits? I’d be interested to hear what you’re up against and how you’d like things to be different. Please feel free to comment below or send me a message.