When I am moving through days or weeks with a very demanding schedule - a myriad of tasks to accomplish-
frenetic energy often carries me from place to place - usually ineffectively as I trip over my shoes on the floor or wash a full load of clothes on a small setting.
My body clearly reflects the continual forward momentum as I lean into the day, rarely allowing my shoulders to meet the back of a chair or even rest upright above my hips.
My thoughts consume most of my attention, negotiating ways to manage the expectations of a culture focused on achievement and image.
I carry on with the illusion that I am navigating the currents without injury.
But as I ask myself to step back for a wider view, I more deeply experience the agitation that consumes the lion share of my energy.
I notice the discomfort in my neck and the shallowness of my breath and become acutely aware of the depth of my fatigue.
My sterile checklist boasts a multitude of completed tasks, but lacks the messiness and unexpected that bring substance to my life.
Even the unwelcome surprises, a lost suitcase, a struggling child, a serious illness - all vastly beyond my control, awaken me to the generosity of connection and engagement.
I step back even further and allow myself to feel the loneliness of my rapid pace and telescopic focus.
I gently bring my shoulders upright, welcome the support of the ground under my feet and quietly scan my inner and outer world.
My awareness of community - the relationships that connect and sustain us - expands.
The expectations that pushed me into high gear loosen their hold on me.
My next steps are slower, more flexible, less urgent - with my shoulders upright, I can now lift my head and be with the world.