I took a three hour art class this morning. I know that sounds romantic, as though I was sitting outside in the sun in my straw hat and easel overlooking a picturesque landscape with my hair flowing in the breeze. In actuality, I was sitting in a classroom squinting intently at a still life arrangement of a coffee cup, half eaten pumpkin pie (that I wasn’t even allowed to eat!), and a chrome teapot, trying to figure out what color I was seeing and how to replicate it on canvas. Interesting and enjoyable, but not relaxing. I picked up take out for lunch on the way home, ate too much antipasto, then crashed out on the couch to finish my book. I thought “I should do my practice before Aria gets home” but my book was at the end and got REALLY good. I decided to finish it, so I picked my book over my practice.
The kids got home, then it was time to cook, eat dinner, clean up, blah blah. There’s some downtime before bed when the kids have their ipads, so I should have done my restorative practice then. BUT me and my college roommates have a standing zoom call every other Wednesday and I’ve missed like the last six. Once again, I made a choice, and it was to reconnect with some of my favorite people on Earth.
Suddenly an hour sweeps by and it’s time to get the kids to bed with their unique elaborate rituals. By the time all that is done, it’s my bedtime, and I have two things left to do for today. The meditation practice I’ve been doing since November which takes about 40 minutes, or my 20 minute restorative. Again, I could have chosen the restorative practice, but I didn’t want to lose the thread of the meditation practice that I’ve been cultivating so long. So I meditated and went straight to bed for actual sleep, which I really needed.
Why am I writing this pointlessly long story? I wanted first to show that yes, we have busy lives and make choices all day long about how to spend our time. Today I chose reading, connecting, and meditation over my restorative practice. But I also chose to NOT:
• go to bed full of guilt
• call myself a lazy piece of shit
• decide I’m worthless and can’t do anything right
• remember all the other times I failed at a plan
• blame someone else for my choices
• quit because it doesn’t matter
We are not always going to reach every one of our goals for various reasons. Maybe circumstances forbit it, or we just choose to do something else. But if you tend to pile on self-loathing when a plan goes awry, try instead to observe the feeling that prompts the negative chatter. Stay with the feeling and breathe. It will dissipate or change. Then let the next thing you tell yourself be the actual truth – tomorrow is a new day with new choices, and the chance to start again.
I want to share with you the yoga I practice, teach, and live.