Brahmacharya #2

As predicted, June has been an amazing and exhausting month. My first three weeks of graduate school at Hollins University have been some of the best in my life. Dancing 4-6 hours per day, learning volumes about anatomy, technology, history, potentiality, performance, praxis, and more leaves little time for much else (but, what else is there?) Somehow I’ve still made space for one show or hour of TV most days (mainly Orange Is The New Black). In honesty I could keep myself plenty busy with the generous reading assignments I have and spirited conversations that pop up everywhere. But sometimes I make myself hole up, veg out, and turn on Netflix or Hulu as a means to relax and get some distance from the wonderful world of academia. I’ve been mostly true to my “one thing at a time” intention, not using my phone or computer while talking, walking, eating, or anything else. I also realize that I could be more mindful in this intention, it is still a practice for me and will be beyond this month.

I don’t have much else to report in regards to my specific focus of Brahmacharya, but I feel that I am learning responsible uses of energy in other ways. In the first week of classes I was invited to perform in three thesis pieces; I was honored and overwhelmed. I chose to participate in two, which I know was the right decision and ambitious enough (although of course after watching the piece I turned down I am kicking myself, as it was one of the most physically and choreographically captivating works by one of the most brilliant dance makers I have ever witnessed). But, there are only so many hours in a day and as I am still learning, I can’t do everything (no matter how hard I try). Something has to give when we overextend ourselves, and that thing is usually sleep and self care. I came across this great read on the site of my favorite Sunday morning NPR show and shared it with some dancers in a yoga class I offered to teach after the first week. Little did I know how relevant it would be to me in the days that followed! We (‘Mericans) are suffering not just from a “DISease of being busy”, but I would venture to say an epidemic. It has become normal and expected, to be “too busy”, especially for people and activities that might actually be relaxing or bring one joy. After a class discussion on time/life management and how we, as educators, often fail to care for ourselves and therefore cannot be truly present for our students, I wrote in my notebook: Self-care is the new selfish.

WHY do we feel guilty for caring for our selves? Why is it okay, nay chic, to be so busy we have no time to sleep, eat, or enjoy life? Must we martyr ourselves on a daily basis, turning down help and pleasure for fear that something will fall through the cracks if we don’t hold up the world? Yes, life is crazy, but we don’t have to be. Work and responsibility are unavoidable, and no one likes to feel productive more than me (just ask my husband). But life is also beautiful, moves fast, and can be short (at least this one). As I prepare to travel to Frankfurt, Germany for the final three weeks of my summer semester, I am looking forward to a slower pace of life and a greater appreciation of the little things. A few more hours of sleep, a nourishing meal, and a big bier could do us all a lot of good. Cheers!

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