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  • Writer's pictureEve Bernfeld

Waste Not...

fingers holding an hourglass
Photo by Who’s Denilo ? on Unsplash

I was commiserating with a student yesterday about how hard it is to find time to dedicate to the Alexander Technique practice of lying down and doing nothing for a few minutes a day. A core belief: “I have too damn much to do!”

“But,” my student countered, “I waste so much time!”

Good point. Good point.

I have been pondering waste, of late. And not just the leftovers in my fridge or bureaucratic red tape. No, I’m talking about something much more fundamental—the ways in which I waste my two most precious assets: time and energy. They are related, of course. A moment wasted looking at my phone is a deep energy suck. I’d have been better off doing nothing at all.

Yesterday was a very busy day—full teaching schedule, followed by a three and a half hour rehearsal. I knew going in that I had to conserve my energy. No energy sucks, no cavalier drains. And I made it through—weary by the end of the day, but a good, bone-heavy weary. Honest fatigue after an honest day of labor. Not that frayed, feverish feeling that I get when I’ve overdone it. And which usually results in a waste of still further energy as I snap at my family. And then feel ashamed.

But jeez—it took so much self-control to do the basic things I know I need to do: not chatter so much while I teach, lie down between lessons, stay off my phone, take a lunch break. I wish I could say that these things come easily to me, but they don’t. I’m still working on charting the routines and the pathways that allow me to do the important things without coming apart at the seams. And that necessitates NOT doing a whole lot of things that are easy but not essential.

“We teach,” they say “what we need to learn.” Yup. I am my own most challenging student in the practice of PAUSING, of letting go of what doesn’t serve me. Again and again and again. Fortunately, there is no timeline for this work. “How long will it take?” new students ask me. I don’t tell them this, but I’ll tell you:

“A lifetime. If you want it to.”

Today is another busy day. Can I take what I learned yesterday and apply it? This blog is the first use of this precious, limited time. This finite amount of energy. I publicly pledge to post it and then get the heck off the computer, so as not to drain away the energy I need for the rest of the day!

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