I knew this would happen, but I didn’t think it would be so early in the challenge. Frankly, I don’t want to do jack shit today because I have actual shit to do.
I spent the morning flying around. I had to drop Aria at school because the bus never showed, eat real fast, teach my 9:30 yoga class at Riegel Ridge, run home/eat/let the dog out, get my car inspected, and hit Shop Rite. Accompanying me most of the time was my audio book loan of the new Louise Penny book which I’m solidly invested it, but it will return in two days and I’ll have to get back on the waitlist. Plus it’s rainy. And now I’m home and I just want to listen to my audio book while I do laundry and half-heartedly clean something. After a day of being busy, I’m solidly adverse to the idea of being still.
Activate procrastinator mode – can I do this stillness challenge later? Eh, not likely. The kids will be home, dinner need to be made, and this place sounds like an airport even with only four people and one dog inside. The weekend? Not likely. A birthday party, music gigs, and un-decorating for Christmas are on the agenda for the weekend with not much space for peace and solitude. If it’s going to happen, it needs to happen now.
This is the moment when it actually takes real effort to keep a 30 day practice of any type. It’s that shiny temptation of breaking the commitment “just this once and I’ll restart tomorrow.” And it works for everything right? Eating the cookie when you’re on the sugar detox plan, buying that thing that you swore you didn’t need more of, letting the next episode start when you said you’d just watch one.
Here’s the thing. The temptation to break the commitment has a feeling. Maybe it feels like dullness, because you’re just too tired to stay the course. It could be that you’re distracted and can’t focus, or you feel doubtful this thing is even helpful or worth doing. The desire to cheat might even feel a little exciting and naughty, like a kid disobeying the direction of an authority figure, as if taking on this challenge wasn’t your choice in the first place.
So what’s the remedy? Sometimes it’s just about tuning out the story in your head, putting one foot in front of the other, and doing what you said you would do. That’s what I did today, or I wouldn’t be writing right now, I’d be listening to the trials and tribulations of Inspector Gamache while folding clothes.
If you can’t quite bring yourself to embody Nike’s tag line and “just do it,” find the feeling lurking behind the thought “I don’t want to.” Pause and sit with it. Don’t get caught up in the mind stuff and story of why you feel that way (although that’s a good question for another time.) Just sit with the sensation and breathe and eventually it will lessen. Then you can make your choice. And maybe you do choose to eat the cookie or buy the thing or watch the episode, but at least it was a CHOICE and not a knee-jerk response to stimuli. Every time we find space and choose a response rather than fire one off impulsively, we chip away at a habitual pattern and act from a place of personal power.
And there you have it. I have just enough time before the bus drops off to do a meditation and a nice 20 minute restorative pose. Make good choices, friends.
I want to share with you the yoga I practice, teach, and live.