Lately, it seems I’ve been completely consumed with work. It’s now 11:00 pm and this is the earliest I’ve stopped working in the past week. Granted, I just collected the first round of essays and I’ve been furiously grading, but it just feels like I can’t get ahead. There’s always something I have to do: grade, plan lessons, answer emails, prepare lectures, create handouts, assign work. Don’t get me wrong, I love being busy, but I just wish I could be a few steps ahead instead of always feeling like the deadlines are nipping at my heels. The stress has been getting to me and it’s causing sleepless nights. I think back to the first weekend after school started…how I wish I could go back in time and not waste that weekend!
Well, it’s not worth my time thinking about the past. Aside from the futility, I simply don’t have the time!
I realized a few days ago that I hadn’t been practicing meditation for quite some time! I started to slack off at the beginning of September when I visited my parents. There’s something about being home that makes it nearly impossible for me to keep up my healthy habits. But what’s my excuse since I moved into my new abode nearly three weeks ago? I don’t have one. I suppose I’ve been “too busy” with school starting, but that’s a blatant lie. I spend more time than I’d like to admit browsing Reddit and Facebook. Do excuses help anyway? Of course not. The result is all that I need to focus on: if while I was meditating often I felt like a bird who had just taken flight, after I had stopped for a few weeks I’ve felt earth-bound (and not in a good way). In the weeks that I had adopted a new practice I felt free and light, but in the few weeks since I’ve stopped I’ve felt heavy and burdened.
Once I realized I hadn’t been practicing anymore I’ve made a conscious effort to sit again. Actually, if I’m going to be perfectly honest, at the end of last week I was a bit of a mess. After a few days of constant work and disturbed sleep, I was incredibly frustrated with myself for not performing/preparing to the best of my ability and with my students for being lazy slackers (and oblivious freshmen). Unfortunately, I let my frustration out in a diatribe to my classes about how they need to take responsibility for their education and come to class prepared.
Afterwards, I realized that it felt like I was showing them all the dirty corners of my house. I felt terrible because I knew that I could have given myself the same lecture. The students will always respond to my energy and my enthusiasm; I just didn’t have it at the end of last week — I was drained. In that moment of reflection, I realized I hadn’t been meditating and that I had let my stress and negativity take control.
Ideally, I’d like to be meditating at least 30 minutes during the course of the day and another 30 minutes at night before bed. Right now I practice at night. It’s only a matter of time until I get back on track. I hope my next posting I’ll be able to report that I’ve banished stress and that my journey to well-being is back on track.