Clark Kent and his real super power – do less
4pm, two computer screens illuminate the surrounding walls flanking my immediate vision, one with graphic design software humming along in gridded colourful patterns, the other e-mails popping in, Twitter and Facebook zipping up on the screens sporadically. To my left my iPad plays some Songza tunes to help keep my brain slightly inspired with melodic rhythms, and between my forearms... my one-thumb access texting savvy iPhone. Yes, this is my daytime life. This is my Clark Kent of my life. The streams of information through an array of digital portals is almost to the point of mind-boggling and brain-numbing exhaustion. Not only of the time that seems to rush by even faster than when away from a computer, but of the neurons that spark through my head to keep my focuses on top of these various points of input and output.
Every night, in front of 10 to 20 people guiding yoga postures and extolling the virtues of “doing less”. I feel sometimes like a bit of a freak because of this duel life I lead. My superman?! Well. To tell you the truth, this turn-about is what keeps me grounded. And grounded in the sense that it feels like it’s my ‘true identity’ and my real purpose for why I get up each morning and do it all over again. The quiet, the calm, the healing that happens. Not only for those attending the class, but for my system, my body my mind... my cells. Holding space for others feels right and to me, feels very true, but also too does the space of creating and designing.
I love both of my careers deeply and I know that when I teach “doing less”, it comes from what can and DOES happen on a regular basis for so many people in our modern world. But I also realize that when I do feel overwhelmed in my Clark Kent life, I take moments to break away from the overload. Sure I might take out some of my frustrations on the vacuum cleaner or whip up a batch of home-made bread, Kombucha, roll out some crackers, or teach yoga... but there-in-lies what I feel is my secret power. Do something completely different, switch gears and let my brain degauss for just a while. Doing “less” of what I was getting all tangled up about. And doing things that are simple can help me with that. Doing something of service takes me out of my own world. Maybe that’s why Clark Kent swapped personas during his daily romp through his newspaper reporter job. Maybe his act of service to something other than his own frenzied world was his true superpower?
Learning that our brains are not wired for multitasking efficiently, I know that I may not be doing my daytime job efficiently all of the time. And that’s okay. I think, and feel, that as a culture, we are taught and educated to do more, be more, achieve more... and through this, it is a tough barrier to break through and do less multitasking. This is why I feel there is such power in this learning we have before us. And yes, I am among you. Learning and mapping out what this new landscape looks and feels like. I don’t think that I would be a very good teacher of doing less if I were to sit on a cushion all day, or practice yoga all day, or go to bed at 9pm every night and be diligent enough to wake up at 4am and meditate for hours. I need to breath this practice of doing less from experience and slowly adapt and fold these “do” and “less” energies together. Then, can I know from my own experience as well, the power and potential we all have.
We’re not going to all drop what we’re doing and sit in silence for hours to reset. We’re not going to lose weight just by stopping eating the unhealthy stuff. We’re not going to get wiser by plugging our brains into the computer or going to classes all of the time. But maybe, just maybe, if we start to incorporate the listening and new awareness of moments when it’s time to take a moment and be superman... super-human... change directions, be of service to the world around us instead of always trying to fill our lives up with what we think we need to have for life to happen.