This was the first two weeks of my September:
1 – Launch Serenity Place DC yoga studio
2 – Travel to Tulsa, OK for my new educational services company
3 & 4 – Provide technical assistance in Tulsa from 8:30 am-10:30 pm daily
5 – Finish Tulsa work and fly home, landing at 11 pm
6 – Teach yoga, run errands, get massage and host dinner party
7 – Church and brunch with a dear friend (plus a quick trip to Home Rule and Whole Foods)
8 – Organize home office and make phone calls
9 – Write 12-page Tulsa visit analysis
10 – Talk with communications strategist, teach yoga and prep for literacy training
11 – Deliver literacy training to secondary teachers in VA – past Stafford and Manassas
12 – Advanced Teacher Training (10 am – 7 pm)
13 – Advanced Teacher Training Day 2 (1:30 – 7 pm)
14 – Advanced Teacher Training Day 3 (10 am – 7 pm)
15 – Provide technical assistance in DC (8 am – 3:30 pm), chiropractor appointment and teach yoga
16 – Physical therapy, paperwork, doctor’s appointment and more DC school meetings
Are you exhausted just reading that list? Imagine doing it all.
By the 17th of September, I was beyond overwhelmed. I finally cried, “Uncle,” and started thinking about what I could cut out of the rest of my week. Here’s what didn’t make the cut:
- Teaching a semi-private yoga class, where I could have made $100 for an hour’s work
Here's the thing: Most of the stuff I cut out was good; they had intrinsic value, especially as an entrepreneur in startup mode. In another time, place, or situation, I would happily have derived pleasure from any one of them. It's easy to say no to the bad stuff. It's hard to say no to the good stuff when the timing isn't right.
One thing I didn’t say no to doing that second week was volunteering with the Posse Foundation.
Posse is a national nonprofit that supports high-potential, low-income students who typically are the first in their families to attend college (just like me). Posse provides a social network that enables the students to thrive in a challenging academic and social environment with a full-tuition scholarship thrown in for good measure. Most of the students are African American or Latino; many are immigrants seeking better educational opportunities than would be afforded in their home countries. They have worked hard in school and won the respect of their teachers who nominate them for the scholarship. My job was to help evaluate these well-deserving students as part of the first round of the selection process.
My volunteer shift was from 3:30 – 8:30 pm. By the time 3:30 rolled around, it already had been a long day. I was tired and hungry—and a little bit grumpy. But once those kids entered the room, their energy and excitement was palpable. I also knew, far better than they did, all that lay ahead during their college years and beyond. I knew what was on the line. Watching their zealous interactions was contagious. My energy level crept back up, and I began to remember once again how fortunate I was to attend Princeton on almost a full ride, including room, board, and books.
I’m learning to say no to things, so I can create more space in my schedule. I need time to just be—that’s when I am my most creative. I also need time for my daily yoga practice—the asana, meditation, study and reflection. I need time to pray and surrender, as I trust God with some major life transitions. I need time to have fun; life can’t be all work. And I need time to give to others, like those Posse scholars I met a few weeks ago. If I don’t ever say no to something, I am missing out on tons of opportunities that come with time and space.
To what do you need to say no this week, so you can create room for something even better?
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.