When we arrived for module 4 of my 300 hour teacher training in LA, our teacher, Noah, asked us all where we had been procrastinating over the seven weeks between modules. I was not in Seattle for about a good four of those weeks, what with my father’s passing, teaching in Illinois and a few other minor distractions. So I had to pause and ask myself, “was I really procrastinating, or was there really a good reason I didn’t get shit done?”
Before I answer that question, you might want to consider the definition of the word procrastinate (as did one of my teacher training buddies). The definition of the word procrastinate, as given by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is this: to put off intentionally and habitually.
Well now, that puts a little spin on things, doesn’t it?
The word that catches my eye is habitually. What am I habitually putting off? Am I doing it intentionally or unintentionally? I recognize that I have a long list of things to do, not limited to (at this moment) – packing for our move to our new house in two weeks, homework for module 5 of teacher training, writing more sequences, doing my asana practice, going to the gym and cleaning the toliet.
But instead, I felt the need to write about procrastination. And how I am getting really good at it (just ask my husband.)
Am I habitually avoiding that which is unpleasant? There’s only one thing on that list which is considerably pleasant (hitting my mat and maybe the gym). But I don’t feel I am habitually avoiding these activities. But I might be intentionally putting them off (packing to move – most definitely).
Becoming more aware of what I avoid, what I intentionally put off, is something in yoga that is called Svadhyaya. The word Svadhyaya is often translated or defined as self-study or self-recognition. When we practice Svadhyaya, our actions become a mirror through which we can see ourselves more clearly. It’s also a great method through which we can acknowledge where things in our lives need to change. Like our habitual patterns of eating, drinking, thinking, doing. Self-reflection provides me, personally, with an opportunity to really look at myself, all my good shit and my not-so-good shit, and see where I can work to become a better me.
Back to that definition of procrastination…what am I intentionally and habitually putting off? And the more interesting question to me is, WHY? Why am I avoiding packing? Why am I avoiding my mat? (It happens.) Why am I avoiding cleaning the toliet? (Okay, that one is pretty obvious. Because it’s gross.)
When I answered Noah about what I had been putting off, I said all the research I could be doing to make my classes more kick ass. Putting the time into sequencing. But sometimes, I am just not in the mood. I would rather sit on my butt, look at Facebook and eat chocolate. I am definitely making strides in the fine art of procrastination. But at least I am REALLY trying my best to understand why I do what I do. That’s a start, right?
I think it’s time for a nap.