Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Excuses, Excuses

By Healingyoga

I hear these things all the time in regards to a starting/maintaining a regular yoga (or meditation) practice (yes, I've even used some of these myself):

  • I just don't have time...
  • I'd like to but...
  • I'm not _______ enough...
  • I'm already doing X, Y, and Z...
  • I wish I could...
  • Some of us have to work/be a parent/be a partner/be a friend...

I could go on and on, and I'm sure you've got your own to add to this list. What is this a list of, exactly? Excuses? Reasons? Get out of jail free cards? Lies we tell ourselves to make us feel better? 

And in the spirit of "how you do one thing is how you do everything," if you're using reasons/excuses/beliefs like these to get off the hook for practicing yoga, then you're using them in other areas of your life. I'm not saying that there aren't certain circumstances that can be consuming -- parenting a child with disabilities or taking care of an aging/dying parent, etc. -- but do the excuses really hold?

I know plenty of people who are in constant reaction mode -- they deal with what's thrust in front of them, consumed by who yells the loudest (the squeaky wheel gets the grease), always reacting, never acting. Time seems to slip away from them, making them feel like they have no control over the trajectory of their lives. They feel rushed, disconnected, frazzled. The saddest part -- these folks are largely unhappy. It's like they're not living but merely existing and distracting themselves by always being busy.

Yoga calls for going inside. It calls for undisturbed time away from demands, squeaky wheels, technology. Some try to cram it in and rush through their practice as though it is another task on a long and ever-growing list. Love and relationship call for the same thing. Hell, LIFE calls for the same thing. 

A few months ago, I found myself in the trap of unconsciousness. It was amazing all of the things I could find time for -- and none of those things were important. I was trying to wrest satisfaction from people, places, and things (thank you for this nugget, Nicole Daedone), knowing that this is futile but trying anyway. I felt like I was living in a haze, never really feeling like I was doing what was important to me. And, more importantly, I wasn't being who I wanted to be.

That's when I turned it off and got impeccable with my time and effort. I turned off the running excuse list, I silenced the voice inside my head tempting me with the unimportant, and I got real clear on how I wanted to spend my time and with whom. I expanded my yoga practice and I established (for the first time in a long time) a daily meditation practice. From this quiet place, I realized that all of those excuses were just that -- excuses, lies, my ego placating my mind, illusion.

The past few months I've found myself surrounded by folks saying variations of something on the list above. It was interesting to me how annoyed I became by these people, seemingly not walking their talk. This annoyance was my first clue that I was doing the same thing. Now I ask myself what's really behind my excuses. This last month I've packed in an enormous amount of experiences into a tight schedule. Somehow it all got done. My yoga and meditation practices didn't suffer although my inbox was probably neglected. 

More importantly, I was happier, less distracted, more present for said experiences (and it felt good to not have to say these excuses out loud to others knowing in my heart that they were cop outs). So I leave you with this video: 



If this man ran the list of excuses above through his head again and again, the video wouldn't have ended the way it did. 



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