Tag Archives: routine

Push

With the deep heat of mid-July in full swing and  many people taking vacations and time off of work, I figured that now is a good opportunity to offer something to those of you who have a moment to sit and reflect. Every so often, I encourage people to take a break out of their day or week to sit in silence and reflect on what they’re doing in their day-to-day lives. I even encourage my students to take a break from their yoga practice every so often. I’ve spoken about how pausing my own yoga practice for a week or two has given me incredible insight and reminders about why yoga means so much to me and why I keep coming back to it. I’m a big fan of the perception and clarity that comes from pausing to breathe, evaluate and re-assess the state of one’s life and habits, because the potential benefits are immeasurable.When we spend the majority of our time doing something, from our professional career to keeping ourselves healthy and well, we get so caught up in the routine of it all that we lose sight of the initial reasons that brought us there.

I’ve been working a lot this year, adding a handful of projects to my already busy 2012/2013 schedule of classes, retreats, education and workshops, all to keep myself focused and stimulated. In the midst of all the planning, scheduling, and communicating, I took some time this week to unplug from all my outlets to ask myself the simplest (but scariest) of questions: why am I doing all this?

It’s very easy to lose sight of the initial reasons that led me to make the decisions I’ve made to teach, mentor and put myself out there, just as it is for anyone to lose sight of why they spend their time the way they do. The opportunities for reflecting on  how we spend our time are infinite. I know that the measure of one’s success is very often based on the degree of positive feedback and reinforcement that one receives as a result of one’s efforts, and it’s even easier to allow the ego to flare up every time that occurs. I also know, however, that the more one buys into the illusion of validation when it presents itself, the more one is affected by the lack of validation when it seems like no one is paying attention. To substantiate one is to substantiate the other, and both are an illusion. They can be indicators of possibly veering from one’s intended path, but they ultimately aren’t real.

After really giving it some thought this week, the fact of the matter is this: I do what I do because it’s the most authentic extension of myself. I do what I do because I am in a state of perpetual wonder at the possibilities that are available to not only me, but to us all. I work as hard as I do because it’s not work for me – it’s personal development and exploration. I push forward in this life to inspire others to push forward in their lives, because the possibilities are more wondrous and inspiring than anyone could imagine. I definitely feel like I face challenges and risks in having chosen a path that ultimately depends on whether or not people want to listen to what I have to say, but I also have unshakeable faith in the knowledge that nothing of any value is accomplished without taking risks and barreling through challenges.

And so I now find myself re-focused, with clear objectives in all areas of my life, objectives that I know will bring me past the boundaries of what I thought possible. I want you to do the same. Essentially, I’m doing it to show you that you can do it. I am doing everything possible to demonstrate how the doors we have always believed were closed to us have been open the whole time – we were just standing in our own way. Push past your limits of what you thought you were capable of achieving/doing/being. Don’t pay any attention to the voice of doubt or fear that will inevitably pop up, either from your own thoughts or from those around you. Do what’s right for you, and know that you haven’t figured everything out yet – keep pushing and exploring, and I’ll do the same. Let me know your findings when you get there 🙂

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The Virtue of Patience

My partner and I have spent the last week shower-deprived while a contractor re-tiles our shower’s walls and floor, and I have found myself not only having to completely re-organize my daily routine, but having to check myself every time I feel a twinge of impatience in my rush to see the final result. Taking baths instead of showers, throwing my regular daily routine of events completely off-kilter, having construction materials lying around…it’s all proven to be somewhat of an eye-opener.

I’ve always preferred taking a shower instead of soaking in a bath. Despite never having given it much thought, I now can see that I probably preferred the methodical process of showering as opposed to the somewhat stationary, less active process of bathing. Having come to that realization, I must admit that nothing beats a nice hot bath at the end of a long day, especially those days that I both teach and then take a yoga class. It has proven to be a welcome opportunity to wind down and get ready for my night at home.

As the contractor has been arriving earlier in the mornings than my usual wake-up time, I’ve also been rising earlier, something that I’ve never been fond of and that I don’t subject myself to unless necessary (one thing that many of my fellow yogis are probably berating me for 😉 ). I don’t have a hard time getting out of bed earlier, but I do get the feeling that my body wouldn’t mind being guided back to bed for another hour or two. Because I’m rising earlier, I’m obviously tired earlier come evening and find myself falling asleep without my regular lullaby-esque habit of reading myself into my slumber. Although I do love reading right before I drift off, I have discovered that there is a certain bliss in falling asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow, and I now find myself looking forward to those minutes with a certain reverence and anticipation.

As for the construction materials lying around, I’m perceiving that whole moment as one of the best tests I could be presented with. I grew up in an über-clean household where my mother always had a cleaning woman coming in at least once a week; the type of household (and the type of mother) where the bedroom needed to be tidied up for the cleaning woman’s imminent arrival and the dishes needed to be rinsed before going in the dishwasher. Everything had a place of its own where it needed to be, and there were lots (and lots) of little things decoratively lying around (anyone with 2 Aquarian parents will understand exactly what I’m talking about). As much as I rebelled against that kind of structure while I was living with my parents, I inevitably found myself keeping the proverbial torch alive once I moved into my own home. Maniacally wiping down surfaces, washing dishes, laundry and, occasionally, my dogs, I found myself suffering from a textbook case of Stockholm Syndrome where I (as the victim) begin identifying with my mother (my captor). I know…somewhat of a minor exaggeration (a proclivity I’ve also inherited from my mother), but true nonetheless. Having all the construction stuff lying around has pretty much broken me. I’m not going lie – I still vacuumed the entire floor of the loft this week, but I left all other surfaces dusty (success!!), and I had WAY more time to devote to the rest of my day. I never realized the freedom afforded to messy people. Consider me informed!

All this rambling culminates in the fact that I’m not the most patient of people, at least not when I’m dealing with myself. When it comes to helping or listening to others, I’m your man, but not apparently when those niceties are solely beneficial to yours truly. Ironically enough, the tests that I find myself currently presented with are of my own doing…after all, I hired the guy to come do the work. We work in mysterious ways, don’t you think? I like the fact that my routine has been turned upside down and inside out. I love observing who I am through the ways I react (or don’t react) to things, and my finding the ability to step beyond myself while looking back at what is visible to others is a feat accomplished solely due to my yoga practice. Being able to focus my attention inwards has resulted in the ability to step beyond myself and see things objectively, mainly myself. Paying attention to my breathing has given my mind something to focus on, instead of impatiently waiting for whatever I’ve imagined the end result in any given situation to be. All this to say that what has been reinforced throughout the past week has been how interesting the journey can be if we’re awake to it regardless of the final destination (even if that involves a sparkling, newly-tiled shower).

Let me know what you think 🙂