Day 2 of #30DaysofFitness ended with a hot, humid and very challenging Bikram class. Just 10 pushups–working on form and consistency in area that I am weak and 55 squats. Slow and steady is the name of the game. Still working on winning at the challenge of waking up at the same time every morning. I keep going back to sleep! I filled myself with lots of barbecue which what the holiday is for! Happy Labor Day!

Bikram’s Beauty

Day 2 of my 101 day Bikram yoga challenge was completed with no incident.  I had the pleasure of taking a class with Jennifer Pope, one of the owners of Bikram Yoga East Harlem and a newly minted Bikram teacher as of last year’s fall teacher training.  After my second day, I am encouraged that I chose the right studio to embark upon this journey.  So far it’s a haven of peaceful energy as I go through the highs and lows of my daily practice.

Bikram 101: Day 2

Today, I had less dizziness, but I did pay for my insufficient sleep–a persistent complaint–with less stamina and strength to hold some postures, particularly my favorite, standing bow.  I could hold it for 60 seconds on the left but not on the right.  I’m not worried though.  I have 99 more days to work on it!  Although Stephanie provided insight yesterday about standing head to knee, I had trouble pulling back from kicking out during the asana.  My knee is locked but I don’t have the strength to hold the posture.  I think I’ll work on building that strength instead of starting the posture late and rushing through it.

After class, I had the pleasure of spending some time with another Bikram yoga aficionado which brought me even greater insight into why I practice this form of yoga.  To many “purists”, Bikram yoga, with its mirrors, commanding instructors and trademarked, regimented postures,  is the bastardization–the McDonaldization–of yoga.  I have experienced other forms of yoga and I have enjoyed them.  Elements that irritate detractors of Bikram Choudhury’s 26-posture beginning yoga series are the very things draw and hold my interest after almost 3 years of practice.

I love that it is always the same 26 postures for an hour and a half in a room that is 105 degrees no matter where I go. This consistency frees me up to focus on the tiniest victories as I discover adjustments to improve my form.  The meditation and introspection of the practice finds me in my eyes in the mirror.  I am my greatest teacher.  Watching myself drenched in sweat in that mirror for 90 minutes melts away any and ALL body image issues.  I am strong.  I am beautiful.  I do not question how God built me.  I can do anything, maybe not right away but every minute and every day brings me closer to it.  All I can do is my best and that changes with every day.  I leave each class satisfied and spent.  I can’t say that about everything in my life!  Until that changes, Bikram it is!

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 29: Dare to Want

One more day to go and suddenly I am incredibly exhausted.  I’d rather nap than blog.  The only thing that keeps me going is my promise.  Good thing I made one, otherwise I wouldn’t have continued.  Thank you for the strength you give me by reading and witnessing my journey.

The last few moments before the end of a grueling marathon can be the worst.  It is in those moments that your mind, body, being resolve whether to finish or to curl up in a ball right there.  The next challenge is important for me to keep going.  Come run with me.

Today’s challenge: Dare to want…wantonly.  Allow yourself to want for no reason.  Want things you’ve never wanted before.  Want until you want no more.  Write it all down.  Change your mind if you need to.  Keep going until you see what you say you want and match that to what you really want.  Write that list about ideal mate that you’ve resisted writing for years.  Go ahead, write it.  Want him and everything.  Go!

Wanting is such a odd thing.  Most of us don’t allow ourselves to want things fearing that wanting things that don’t manifest may kill us or be close to dying.  We treat our wants as if we will never have them and work to push them away.  In turn, we end up yearning those things that we deny.

We suffer when we live as if wanting is a reminder of our inadequacy.  We are stuck believing that we’re not enough to deserve or earn our wants.  What if wanting was a normal part of your day as simple and constant as brushing your teeth?  What if wanting was a tool that you use to design your life?  Today’s challenge is my opportunity to dream to the point of incredulousness, dance into the impossible and shed suffering.  So I will be writing that list and collaging my vision of heart-thumping future.  What have you not dared to want?

Today’s victory: I spent a wonderful weekend failing and winning at most of my challenges.  When I missed the challenge mark, I made sure I went back and hit it dead on.  That looked like heated discussions, impasses and, finally, peaceful resolution.  I’m glad I have these tools working actively in my life.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the incredible community that surrounds, supports and fuels my dreams.

On the horizon: The scoreboard

Challenge Day 27: Lose Wait & Late

This next challenge is one I put off as long as I absolutely could.  In fact, I cheated to make sure it was one of the last challenges I did this month!  Rather than avoiding it any more to the point of further egregiousness, I’m biting the bullet and going for it for these next few days.

Today’s challenge: Give up procrastination and lateness.  For the rest of the month, do not live as if there’s tomorrow or that you have a right or an out that makes it ok to be late.  Lose wait.  Lose late. Go!

Oh, that time thing is one of my biggest issues and it’s closely bound to my procrastination.  Since this challenge is incredibly difficult for me, I had mercy on myself and am practicing it for a few days as a start.  I will challenge myself to 21 days straight of no procrastination or lateness in the next few months.  In the meantime, baby steps.

To come to terms with how detrimental procrastination and lateness have been in my life, I turn to a trusty passage:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

~Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5

There’s but so much time in this life.  There is no tomorrow.  It’s gone in a blink.  Why wait?

As for being late, it’s my m.o. all over the place…except for movies.  I am fanatically early for movies–at least an hour or 45 minutes early to shows.  I am committed to getting great seats, no stress finding seating and an overall enjoyable experience at the movies for which I am never, ever late.  Ever.  Odd for a person who is pretty much late for everything else.  I will attempt to apply such dedication to the rest of my life.

Being late, while it may seem innocuous to me since I really intend no harm, chips away at friendships and networks, constantly disappointing and creating mediocre expectations and strained acceptance of “that’s how she is”.

For the next few days, I will honor my friends, networks, commitments and myself by practicing a new-found awareness of and respect for time.  So no more 11th hour blogging and other transgressions…I need all the support I can get so my friends, countrymen/women lend me your encouragement.  It’ll take all that and then some for me to be successful.  My stomach flips at the thought but I’m ready to dive!

Today’s victory: Today’s victory was very simple.  I kept a promise that involved time, my usual nemesis.  Every time I meet the demands of time and promises without avoidance, it’s a huge win.

Gratitude: I am grateful for how much more free I become with each day.  Every day I grow.  I know that every new day presents a new opportunity for breakthrough.  For that I am utterly grateful.

On the horizon: Doing what comes naturally

Challenge Day 13: Once More, with Passion

As I reach the arch of this month of challenges, I wonder how long will the momentum last.  When will I run out of steam?  Challenging myself to meditate every day is great way to center and refuel and, with today’s challenge, I’m injecting a much needed fuel enhancer into my month.

Today’s challenge: Find passion in all that you do.  Don’t just do it.  Do it with passion.  If you can’t find the passion, don’t do it or find a way to find your passion.  Live each day, moment with a dose of passion, big or small.

Going through the motions is sufficient for an adequate life.  It falls pretty short for the extraordinary, unrecognizable one that I’m aiming for this month.  I’m not going to do my challenges because I said so and don’t want to be disappointed if I don’t make it.  I’m doing these challenges because my life is at stake.  Without them, I’ll end up drowning in the numbing mediocre.

In choosing this month’s challenges, I’m working areas that are quite important to me.  Since my life depends on this, why not put my life’s energy into the rest of the challenge days?  If I cannot do a thing with passion then I won’t challenge myself to it.  Going even further, if something is not worth putting my whole self into it, I won’t do it.  Laundry gets done because clean clothes elevate me.  Writing is an honor I give myself.  The mundane, the extravagant, the minuscule–all of it will be done with passion.  It’s time for me to go with passion or go away.  I’m here to stay and feel and marvel at each moment while I’m at it.  How about you?

Today’s victory: I managed to haul 6 bags of sensitive documents to the Upper East Side Shred-a-thon as promised on Day 8.  My shreddables became a thing of the past when a lovely gentleman dumped the bags into a huge bin that his ProShred truck swallowed.

My knight-in-shredding-armor from ProShred

I watched my documents transform in this nifty monitor.

Papers go bye-bye hi-tech

The paper will be recycled into industrial paper.  New life for my clutter.  That feels good.

Gratitude: I am grateful for my uncanny good luck!

On the horizon: Making room for something new


Church @ CCC w/Pastor A.R. Bernard a few weeks ago provided an abundance of inspiration that I’d like to share:

Lesson: Plant Seeds Now

“He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.”  (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

Don’t wait for ideal conditions.  Only sowers reap. That is the antidote to my chronic procrastination of which I may never be cured.  Whenever the procrastination shows up, I can hold this verse up against it and melt it away.

Lesson: Determination

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.  But he answered her not a word.  And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.   Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.  And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” (Matthew 15:21-28)

When your faith is strong, no adversity, unkind word or gesture will turn you from your plea. No pride. Nothing.  Just faith.  It doesn’t matter what people think.  Doesn’t matter if they push you aside.

Determination and resolution are keys to success.  Successful people are willing to take risks.  Successful people accept failure.  They do not avoid it.  They review and examine failure and adjust to see how they can win.  If you are afraid of failure and, especially, rejection, you will never experience success.

People who are easily offended are not truly successful.  Imagine how distracting the naysayers would be as you climb to your pinnacle if you actually listened.  You wouldn’t make it.

At the end of your life, God would rather see the cluttered pages of your trying rather than the blank pages of your giving up.  Life is a fight for territory.  When you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want will take its place.  What will you let inhabit the territory in your life?

Live by faith.  Take action in the face of no agreement and adversity and claim the success that is your BIRTHRIGHT.

So right here, in front of every-none, I claim YOU.  I claim you exactly as my birthright and yours demands.  And YOU I claim exactly as I dreamed you.  And THAT exactly as I need it.  And EVERYTHING exactly as I hoped, dreamed, prayed for.

That is my birthright.  Success is MY birthright awaiting my claim.

This is not simple, wishy-washy, hopeful positive thinking.  This is my declaration, the promise of a Naija warrior, child of lights, survivor, conqueror.  Count on this.  Mark my words.