By Nick Dobkowski, Guest Contributor
It’s so easy to think that everything will fall apart if you relax, right? There is always something else to do, and if you are not doing that thing, life will not go on. Can you relate to that feeling?
Maybe I am being a little dramatic, but it is not difficult to come up with examples of this kind of thinking and behavior, possibly even in your own life, like that email that you have to send at 9:00 PM, the laundry that must be folded before work, the grocery shopping that cannot wait another day, and the event that you simply have to attend.
This kind of thinking runs rampant in my family. I am the owner, and sole employee of a small yoga business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I initiate and run everything that happens, and so I feel like I should always be reaching out, promoting, or teaching. My wife is the executive director of a non-profit. Although she has other employees, everyone is stretched to capacity. She is consistently thinking about her organization; how to grow and build it. We are not relaxed people.
And yet, it is exactly because of this framework that I know relaxation (hobbies, meditation, yoga, time with family, etc) is so important. The most important result of these types of activities is that it helps put me in my proper place in the world. I am a good person who does good things, but I am not so important that I must work all the time to keep my life or the world going. When I rest, the world still turns. Sure, sometimes work is extremely time-sensitive, but most of the time, it simply is not. When you take the time to rest, you are acknowledging and learning that the world does not revolve around you.
The truth is you do not control the world. The world does not depend on you. And that is a very, very good thing. You are a wonderful person. You have amazing skills and talents; yes, I do mean you! But you do not have all the answers or all the talent. And that is okay. In fact, this reality can and should be freeing. You do not have to be perfect in all circumstances. Your lack does not make you less perfect. No one was made that way. Shine with what you’ve got; that is enough.
The truth is that your worth is not derived from what you do. It doesn’t come from acting right or being right. In my faith tradition, there is a saying that we (humans) are fearfully and wonderfully made. And in my experience, that is true. Each person was made with so much potential and possibility. That doesn’t just mean the person who seems to have the perfect life, or the person who is always smiling. That means you, too.
Ideally, what this means is that the details of your life become lighter and you hold them more loosely. You are so much more than the sum total of what you do. Your rest time, your family time, your ‘you’ time points to the greater reality of your life: you are a whole person who matters. As you consider and do the tasks of your day, you can do them knowing that the fate of your life and the world is not dependent on getting these things done.
I teach yoga at businesses and organizations to help people create those kinds of breaks even within their work. Even small amounts of time create possibility for rest. Bring a book with you to work. Spend your break time or Facebook time reading or writing or listening to music. You can either start here, or incorporate these breaks into your life in a larger capacity. Put a walk on your calendar. Schedule prayer/meditation. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to do yoga or read. These small personal retreats can make a big difference. In a moment, they can connect you to purpose, passion, and play.
Nick Dobkowski is the owner and lead instructor of Yogabreak, an on-site yoga and meditation business based in Grand Rapids, Michigan serving corporations and organizations. He is also an RYT-200 and a Certified Teacher's Assistant. One of Nick's favorite places is the yoga room. He also likes to read, write, spend time with his wife and son, and breathe fresh air.