Nonstop

As of today, I have completed 55 days of 101-day yoga challenge. I have taken 58 Bikram yoga classes. It’s funny how, 55 days and 58 classes in, I have no inclination to stop. I’m more than halfway done and I’m gunning for the end. Between you and me, I may go longer than 101 days–at least until I absolutely have travel.

Today was another ambitious day. I worked at the studio, took 11am class with Stephanie, signed in folks for the posture clinic, took the posture clinic from 1-4pm, then took class again at 4:30pm and headed out to my friend’s BBQ. It was a packed and fulfilling day. I got everything I targeted accomplished and I’m so grateful for the folks who helped make that happen.

Class with Stephanie at 11am was a warm up for the posture clinic after. My body really needed it.

The posture that followed was a true gift. We focused on the floor series this time. If you’re a Bikram yoga practitioner and you’ve never done a posture clinic before, run don’t walk to your nearest one! You rarely get an opportunity to walk through each part of every posture with experts who break down the medical benefits of each postures and teachers who provide precise, individualized corrections and observations for you.

In this posture clinic, we went over the floor series. It’s deceptively easier because it’s usually only 30 minutes but it’s a pretty complicated, intricate set of asanas. In the end, I realized that I don’t really listen and that most of what you need is in the teacher’s dialogue. I also had the experience of my whole world opening up at the slightest adjustment from one of the teachers. That is an opportunity I would jump at again and again whenever it is offered.

The class after was great too since I was thoroughly warmed up from class and clinic beforehand. I had a breakthrough in that I did not drink water until savasana between standing and floor series. That’s a big deal considering how I sometimes feel desperate for water. I’m happy that I did it and I’m not sure I would attempt to do an entire class without water. We shall see! I’ll debate the merits of water or no water at some other time. In the meantime, 55 days down, 46 more to go! Woohoo!

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Plugging Away

Class 36 with Stephanie was another surprisingly invigorating one. In spite of some newly arising aches, the class left me energized and ready for the rest of my day.

My right hamstring is tender so I make sure to avoid straining it. Out of the blue, I have discomfort on the left side of my lower back. Stephanie thinks it’s time for a massage. I’ll be hitting up Alison at Tulia Massage really soon to give my muscles some tender, loving care. I deserve it!

The highlight of class was getting a personalized correction on my triangle posture. Stephanie stopped the class and gave me modifications for improvement. Triangle is tough and those tweaks, while making it harder, put me in proper alignment and force me to strengthen my core. I’m very grateful for the attention that was given. This challenge is truly chipping away at weak areas in my body, practice and life.

The other funny thing about today was noticing how I get into secret competitions with the practitioners around me. It’s silly and yet another way that I pull away from my intense focus on myself. I make up stories about the person that I chose. I push myself to match or surpass their postures. I get very excited when it’s a strong, disciplined practitioner. If they give up in a posture I feel superior until I inevitably fall apart in a subsequent posture. It’s a hot mess and it keeps me on my toes even though there is no winning and my biggest, truest competitor is myself in the mirror and, let me tell you, that chick stays kicking my behind!

Incidentally, I began a 21-day meditation journey today as part of Deepak Chopra’s Chopra Center 21 Day Meditation Challenge. They do one every year under the premise that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. This year’s theme is “Free to Love”. I hope to create a lifelong practice of daily meditation as well as opening myself up to love and miracles all over my life. There’s still time for you to participate. Join me here. Namaste.

Tribulations “R” Us

I wish I could write something light and airy for you to read and consume with the ease that cotton candy melts on your tongue. Unfortunately, these past few days have been exhilarating and daunting. They have been relentlessly jarring me out of comfortable spaces to address the long overdue.

Everywhere I turn there is a fresh challenge: wisdom teeth chose this weekend to remind that growing wise is a never-ending and often painful process, maneuvering the end of a long standing relationship and trying not to be horrified postmortem, health issues of family and friends. It is nonstop.

I could rail against fate and all of this “too much” at a time where I’m not sure I can muster up “just a little” but I know that Tribulations “R” Us” always precedes Triumph Unlimited. So I’ll take my mind-boggling dose of issue stacked upon issue and dismantle each one powerfully to tap into the triumph that I’ve been squirreling away for days just like this. Take that, trouble! I’ve got more victory where that came from. Bring it.

Affirmation: Each tribulation is a gift that allows me to experience the amazing power of overcoming anything in my way.

Challenge Day 30: Score!

I swear I have the 30-day challenge blues.  After pushing day after day, I’m pretty sad that there is no more challenge left and that sucks the wind out of my sails.  Funny since I expected Day 30 to be the day to end all days where I would stand atop the mountain of my achievement and look out with puffed chest congratulating myself for daring the impossible.

I’m sure that I have the blues.  Now that there is no challenge each day, what will I do with myself?  Haha!  Anything and everything. The interesting thing about challenges is that they beget challenges–a sort of challenge-addiction.  Tomorrow or later this week, I’ll ruminate about lessons learned.  In the meantime, let’s get on with our last challenge!

Today’s challenge: Take stock of the last 30 days.  How did you do?  What did you do well?  What did you not do well?  What would you like to continue to work on?  How did it go?  What did you learn?
I’ll be sorting through the lessons learned on this journey for days to come but in the meantime, here are the stats of what I attempted this month:

My closest friends can attest to the wonderful peace I gained in these 30 days as well as the struggle it was to complete these last few days.  I know I couldn’t have done it without them or you.  I also know that I’m not quite done yet.

While I was able to challenge myself to different things each day, I haven’t gained mastery over anything new.  I have an experience of what it is like to live a revolutionary life but I still have work to do.  Each day of these 30 days of challenges revealed so much about myself to me.

The greatest revelation is that this month was a buffet of challenges for me to choose from and work on extensively in the near future.  All the challenges have been interrelated.  They are all pulling for the same transformed, galvanized life.  The next step for me is mastery.

Gratitude: I am grateful for that I could complete this month of challenges when I’ve done nothing like this ever before

On the horizon: More results, lessons and mastery…the journey – to be continued.

This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.1

Challenge Day 6: The Prize is Not Right

Since taking it on a few days ago, I’m learning that being alive in general challenges being peaceful.  I woke up feeling peaceful and simply high on life.  Nothing could bother me.  I was sure I had attained Nirvana in these few short days and it would be mine forever!

Then the day continued.  Someone said something and my good vibes crumbled into a pile of upset.  I panicked since that was so un-30-day-challenge of me.  I turned to the challenges themselves and applied them to this new development:

  1. What can I be grateful about in this situation? Ok, I can’t be upset and grateful at the same time.
  2. There is nothing wrong here. It’s not bad after all.
  3. Can I request something that will make a difference for both of us? I did and then let it go.

Those few steps were enough to dissipate the frustration and leave me open to allowing it to resolve itself the way things normally do.  I had nothing to do after I cleared away my concern.

Going through those steps made me think of what other challenge would aid me in attaining the unrecognizable life in these 30 days.   What else could I practice? Today’s challenge loudly asserted itself in my mind and it was something I’d rather just not do.

Today’s challenge: Give up being right, especially when you know you are.

Come again?  I’m smart.  Very.   I know things.  A lot.  I’m right.  Often.  Now I have to give that up?  These challenges are asking for too much.

Then I thought about it.  No one ever wins arguments.  No one.  Being caught up in being right kills the very affinity I need to keep living.  I can be right and pissed off.  I can be right and isolated.  I can be the most right, miserable person I can be.  Or I can cast righteous rightness aside just be with people.  I don’t have to agree or discard my values.  I just don’t have to burst a blood vessel trying to convince them of the brilliance of my view.

If I stop being right, maybe I will learn new things.  If I humble myself, maybe someone will see the thing I was illustrating on their own.  When I pull back from that battle, people can relax and stop defending their viewpoints.  Then maybe, just maybe, we can contribute to each other.  That’s the real prize!

Today’s victory: During round two of the earlier upsetting conversation, I was able to stop myself and say I had no idea how I, you, this should be. In giving up being right in that conversation, I gave the other person space to breathe and stop fighting.  In turn, I was given the same gracious space and then some.

Gratitude: I am grateful for people and opportunities that sprout up, giving me exactly what I need when I need it.

On the horizon: Stay tuned

Challenge Day 2: Bye Bye Complaints

Today’s challenge caught me a bit off guard.  While I don’t consider myself a big complainer, I do get swept away when a solid offense comes my way.  Given a truly sore subject, I will dissect and lament it until the end of time.

Often, when I do complain, it’s usually to people that cannot do a thing to address my problem.  I may tweet about it cryptically or interrupt my bestie’s workday to air it out, yet those people/forums do very little to change my predicament.  Sometimes I spark a conversation that opens up something new for me, but often, that conversation is usually with the wrong person.

On the occasion that I do speak to the involved party, I may whine my way out of being heard or it’s a totally bust and I end up with more to complain about.  Complain to “the internets” or friends or the offender and end up with more to complain about.  Not working.

If complaining isn’t working, what’s there to do?

A seminar leader once suggested “Instead of complaining, make requests”.  Huh?  Ask for things from the very people that won’t give me what I want?  How now?

Then I thought about it: I tolerate the people who complain to me.  Regardless of whether it’s about me, I want to ignore them or figure out how to fix it.

Today’s challenge: Give up complaining and make requests instead.

That’s a tough one.  Looking at complaining’s role in my life forces me to notice how often I’d rather be unfulfilled if it spares me uncomfortable action.   I pride myself in being a great communicator and will talk myself hypoxic to gain and give understanding but I keep finding that it makes no difference.  Talking louder and longer works as well in my life as yelling at someone who doesn’t understand English.

So I’m committing to asking for what I want and need instead of belly-aching for the rest of the month (if not my life–whoa!).  On the flipside, I will be listening to people who complain to me with an ear out for “What are they requesting? What do they need?”.  I may become a better communicator and listener to boot!   I’ll let you know how it goes.

Great Resource: The Seven Challenges Workbook: A Guide to Cooperative Communication Skills for Success at Home and at Work, http://www.newconversations.net/w7chal4_pff.htm

Today’s victory: By giving up complaints today, I’ve had the opportunity to focus on what I’m grateful for and how good life is.   Today’s victory is simply a greater sense of peace and ease in all that I do and experience.  I like!

Gratitude: I am thankful for the wonderful people I know and continue to meet.  Relationships are the spice of life and mine is well-seasoned!  Ha!

On the horizon: NaNoWriMo!

How are you doing?

Why This?

As someone who blogs quite sporadically, I’ve had to take a moment or two and contemplate why I do this.  Why do I write and why here?

I write so that I don’t become one of the dull-eyed people, nodding nearly to the ground that you see all over this city.  Some are obvious addicts who just got a hit but there are many who touch no drugs but find themselves deadening to make it through.  I choose neither, so I write.

I write because my pen still loves you.  It holds onto our memories more steadfastly than my cluttered mind.  It strokes the side of your face to life and dips into your kisses for ink.  The pen never lets that dream disintegrate.  I can visit again and again begging for one more.  The pen always complies, so I continue to write.

I write because I often choke on my truth.  It burns my chest seeking its release.   I write of the permanent stain left without a glimpse back.  Somewhere someone reads and it may not be that who but someone knows.  In the writing, there is that solace.

I write to be known.  To be held here in some way.   To be had here in that way. To have here in this way.  Here, someone can almost hear me scream, laugh, sigh and may care.  I write here because breathing is not enough.