Thinking Yogi

The intersection of two loves: yoga and writing.

Paying attention as a radical act

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Yesterday afternoon I sat at my desk, typing away, trying to get 60 things done in 5 minutes as my sweet children climbed on my lap to ask me questions about a book they were looking at. I answered them distractedly, just trying to keep them happy for another precious few minutes so I could respond to a some more emails. I knew I would later regret my disconnect, but I still couldn't make myself unplug enough to engage with them fully in the moment. I felt so frustrated (both with myself for not connecting and with them for needing me to). I felt powerless, enslaved by my own to dos. But if the busyness never seems to go away, how can I move beyond the busy from time to time?

A few weeks ago I had a fabulous shiatsu session with Jana, and I was remembering tonight the way it felt to let go of all the nonsense and busyness for an hour and just soak up the grounding, nurturing experience that is shiatsu bodywork. During my session I became completely attuned to the sensations in my body - warmth, tingling, pulsing, heaviness - and the thought occurred to me: in this day and age, truly paying attention is a radical act.

Think about it - how often do we really allow the busyness to fall away in order to tune in to a feeling, to a person, to nature? How often do we make the decision to turn off the phone or computer, to keep the TV dark and silent so we can zone in (instead of zoning out) on one small thing, on connecting?

For the most part, it has not been pretty around here this summer. It's a pretty simple equation. Too much to do + Not enough time = Distraction/Disconnection. But when I lose my way (and it happens way more often than I'd like), I've been returning to my shiatsu experience as a reminder of how I want to feel and be. We busy people need some kind of busyness antidote, some reminder of how good just paying attention can be. Maybe that reminder is taking the dog for a long walk, or rolling out the yoga mat, or having a long conversation with a good friend. Anything that nudges you out of the busy world and into the real world where things are slower and more simple, anything that provides you the luxury of a deep breath and a change of pace.

Last night as I tucked the kids into bed and forgot all about the emails flashing on my computer screen, as I looked my kids in the eyes and laughed with them, as I lost myself in the world of the story we were reading together, I felt that spark, that electric feeling that only true connection can bring. Not the internet kind of connection, but the connection of people breathing out words, pausing and giving pause, and the excitement of looking into someone's eyes and knowing that you are understood.

Kerry is the Founder & Director of Bloom Yoga Studio, voted Best Yoga Studio in the Chicago Reader, Chicago Magazine, and Citysearch. As a practicing yogi, writer, and mother of three, Kerry is all about making the principles and philosophies of yoga real and accessible for day-to-day living. You can find Kerry on Google+.


  • Maria Lewis Tuesday, 02 August 2011

    Kerry - you are so right! I was just checking up on Bloom and immediately wanted to see what you were thinking/up to these days. At least you are aware of your struggle and that is such a powerful step. I miss Bloom - but I'm so glad to hear you all seem to be doing well. Excited to hear you are launching a TT!!!

  • Dara Friday, 05 August 2011

    I can totally relate to your experience. Just yesterday, I was trying to answer work emails with kids on both sides of me vying for my attention.

    Day by day, I am trying to "unplug" from the internet--do I really need to check emails multiple times in an, I don't. Why not head to the basement for 15 minutes of yoga?

    Thanks for your candid post. It's a good reminder of my goal to unplug more so I can connnect with what's important to me.

  • Kerry Maiorca Tuesday, 16 August 2011

    Great to hear from you, has been too long! Glad you enjoyed the post and I hope all is well with you and your family. Do visit us if you're ever in town.

  • Kerry Maiorca Tuesday, 16 August 2011

    Glad the post was helpful, Dara. Unplugging is so hard, but feels so good! I keep trying to remind myself that this little internet world is not real life. Detaching from the screen is definitely one of my daily practices, too.....good luck to you (and all of us) as you pursue your goal!

  • Heather Bragg Friday, 02 September 2011

    I too can totally relate. I have a 7-month-old son, and I am OBSESSED with getting 100 things done while he naps. If he wakes up early, I'm annoyed with myself for struggling with the transition of being with him and with him for needing me before I was ready. But there is always something to do. So I took a lot of commitments off my plate, vowed to check my emails only twice a day (years ago, I only checked my inbox every other day!) and promised to tackle laundry and dishes during the two chunks of babysitter time during the week. It has helped SO much!
    Hoping to come up for a Mommy and Me class next week! It will be our first time to your studio, about which I have heard wonderful things!

  • Kerry Maiorca Friday, 02 September 2011

    Glad this was helpful, Heather. Sounds like you have a great plan and are putting it into action! The tug-of-war between work and kids is a constant struggle for me, so it's good to hear your ideas.

    We look forward to seeing you at Mom & Baby soon, it's such fun and is a great way to spend time with your little one while doing something good for yourself. Now that's what I call healthy multi-tasking!

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