The 1 Thing I Am Good At

Yesterday I completed Day 750 on 750words.com

Milestone, I think. No badge for that, but still, the symmetry pleases me.

The one thing I am good at is sticking to things. If I commit to it, I do it.  It’s the one thing my friends and students always say they wish they could do, too.

So lately I have been wondering what to offer at my studio in January. What can I offer that my students might want to learn? What can I teach them that I myself know how to do? Inversions? Arm balances? Hells no. I suck at those.

The big thing they always tell you in yoga teacher training is: Teach What You Know. So it’s unlikely that I will be teaching handstands in the middle of the room any time soon.

But when they tell you “teach what you know” they don’t clarify a few essential things, like: teach only those postures which you yourself have mastered? Or do they mean, only teach those postures that you know how to TEACH?

For example, I can’t do a handstand in the middle of the room, but if I have a super strong student who is kicking up freestyle and almost nailing it but not quite, I could go over and give that person some tips, or advise them to work at the wall a little longer so as not to injure themselves.

But should I just say, “No handstands in this room, please. That is not something I can allow you to do because I, myself do not practice handstand?”

Who knows.

But all that aside, what I do know how to do is practice consistently. My favorite Yoga Sutra goes something like this: A practice that is truly grounded is done incessantly, with reverence, for a long time.

I am good at “incessantly.” I am good at “for a long time.” (I am working on “with reverence.”)

Like 750 words. I have not missed a day for 750 days. That’s 25 months. That’s over 2 years.

I stayed with Holosync for 456 days, which was 15 months, well over a year.

I have been journaling in paper journals since I was 23 years old. Not every day, but consistently enough for me to have amassed an alarming quantity of notebooks in the basement. That’s 37 years of journaling.

I have completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training at Kripalu, a 500 hour yoga teacher at Kripalu, and just recently another 500 hour yoga teacher training at Pranakriya.

This year I completed National Novel Writing Month by writing over fifty thousand words in twenty-eight days.

I have completed the Clean Program, not once, but twice, going 21 days without sugar, alcohol, flour, caffeine and other assorted inflammatory foods.

I have gone on long yoga streaks of not missing a day of practice for hundreds of days. So I think have some street cred when it comes to doing things for a long time. I am good at making commitments and sticking to them. Most people cannot seem to do this, but if they could, they would gain a lot of self-confidence and self-satisfaction from which they could build a life where their projects moved from the “maybe some day” realm into the “I am making this happen” realm.

So what I am thinking of doing is offering to help my students do this for themselves. Because there are tricks to it, and certain mind games that I play to keep these streak things going, and I so I think I will hatch a scheme where I offer to help my students do this through a yoga practice and other little tricky things.

Because most people aren’t lazy or undisciplined, they just self-sabotage. They start too big, or they start too unrealistically. Little baby steps and accountability are what is needed.

13 Things You Should Get Rid of in 2012

I have started thinking about New Year’s Resolutions lately. Not that I am going to make any, but I am thinking about things that I would like to do, or see happen in the coming 12 months. Mostly I think of adding things to my life when I think of changing it, but sometimes it’s more interesting to think about getting rid of things.

I think I have managed to get rid of most of the following 13 things from my life for the most part, but it’s always good to be reminded of what does not serve. I really think that that these things Have. Got. To. Go.

1. The extra 13 pounds you gained during the holidays (and before). Fewer cookies, more cardio.

2. Grouchy people.  Get rid of them. If you are married to them or they are your children or your relatives you are going to have a hard time with this one.  One thing I do with grouchy, negative people is laugh at them.  Yeah.  A grump pretty much hates not being taken seriously and will avoid you or move out of your vicinity if you make light of their situation.

3.  Get rid of dirt, grime, filth.  Clean your space. Throw stuff out. Get a dumpster if that’s what it will take. Do this. It’s important to your mental health.

4. Get rid of your fear of hard work, fear of success, fear of failure, and of all the other scary (non-existent) monsters under the bed. Stop procrastinating.

5. Get rid of the idea that you are going to live forever, or that you are probably going to die at a very old age and that you still have a lot of time left to get your act together.  You don’t.  The days are long, but the years are short.  Make things happen.  Now.  Don’t defer doing what you always wanted to do.

6. Get rid of the idea that only big things count.  Everything counts, and just like Mother Teresa said, we can’t do great things, only small things with great love.  Get rid of the idea that there are “small things that don’t count.”  The smallest little act of kindness or consideration counts.

7. Get rid of the need to be thanked or appreciated for anything.  People don’t write thank-you notes any more.  (When was the last time you wrote one?) So don’t work for the nod. Do your job, or whatever you do, because you want to do it and derive pleasure from just doing it.  Nobody is going to give you a trophy just because you played, or tried your best.  Life isn’t Little League.  Stop expecting praise.

8. Get rid of laziness.  Start by never admitting that you feel lazy even when you do.  Never say the word lazy.  Banish it from your vocabulary.  Don’t call anyone else lazy either.  Lazy does not exist anymore.  Get rid of the whole idea of it.

9. Get rid of bored, too.  Once you’re past age 3, there is no excuse for bored. Once you realize that you are going to die some day, there is no more “bored.” Never be bored.  Bored is just a form of lazy and we kicked that one to the curb in number 8.

10. Get rid of all your slovenly health habits.  Really people, floss.  I’m serious about this. Brushing your teeth doesn’t count.  Brushing your teeth doesn’t do a damn thing except make your mouth feel pretty.  There’s still garbage dumps worth of crap between each tooth.  Floss.

11. Get rid of other bad habits, too. Like eating on the run, or in front of the TV or computer.  Eat as much as you want, just don’t do anything else while you’re doing it and then just watch as those 13 pounds we talked about in number 1 disappear.

12. Get rid of anger.  Stop getting angry. It doesn’t help you or the person you’re angry with.  Ever.  Instead, develop your non-violent communication skills. There is a book that will help with this.  Get it, and start learning how to think in terms of identifying your needs and trying to get them met with the help of others.  And if you can’t?  Give up on them.  Seriously.  Take my word for this.

13. Get rid of complaining.  Complaining makes you a living breathing crap magnet.  Don’t complain anymore and walk away (actually, run) from chronic complainers.  If they don’t have an audience they’ll stop.  They really will. You can even try making a game of this. This book tells you how.

And finally (this one is just for me), Get rid of your need to hand out unsolicited advice or  tell people what they should get rid of on your blog.

It’s annoying.

Excitements

This is the juicy time, the time of the blank calendar, the time of endless possibilities, the time to state, in no uncertain terms, what I want.

I’m a resolution maker, but this year I am changing the word “resolution” to “excitement.”  I am not asking, “What do I want in the coming year?” but rather, “What would make me exited in the coming year?”

So, here it is:

1. The Book (aka “The Manual”)  A lot of people say that they have a book in them, and I am one of them.  I have bits and scraps and pieces that need to be assembled into something that has a beginning, a middle and an end.  But my “excitement” is to FINISH IT.  It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be DONE.  This is my main excitement for 2010.

2. The Body. I am so excited about taking my physical body to its peak of health and vitality, strength, endurance and flexibility.  I am starting this new year with a detox (in February) and I’m looking forward to ramping up my strength and endurance and taking it to a whole new level this year.

3. Yoga.  Personal Sadhana: I have absolutely fallen in love with Pranakriya Yoga.  This year I will continue to train with Yoganand and practice and grow my sadhana.  I also love Ashtanga and my morning practice with Christine & Co. and I will continue to get up early and breathe and grow and evolve in that practice.

The Studio: I want to keep growing the community of the studio with not only classes but other events: films, workshops, casual get-togethers.  The Lounge is a complete blessing and I want to exploit it more.  I would also love to see more people come and at least try a class.

Those are my excitements for 2010.  What are you exited about?  What are you going to rock this year?

Boldness in the New Year?

I’ve been reading my journal from this past year and you know what?  I never do what I say I’m going to do, or what I really want to do.

Now, I realize I’m saying this hot on the heels of yesterday’s “Hurray for Me I Did a Year of Holosync Without a Miss!” braggadocio post, so some of you will be going, “Oh yeah, right.”

But really, I am a chickenshit.  It’s easy to sit in a chair and space out for an hour a day, it really is.  What’s hard (at least for me) is to do something public, something that others can point to and laugh, and be all, “Oh god, she’s so pathetic.  Doesn’t she realize that when she does that she looks like a complete moron?”

But that’s the thing I really have to do; that’s what I need to do.  I need to do the thing that has a high probability for public humiliation just to prove to myself that I will not die.

I am in year-end summary mode, which will quickly segue into New Year’s Resolution mode, and I want to know:

Does anyone make any resolutions that don’t involve weight loss?  Is anyone planning a big, bold move for 2010 and would like to share what it is in the comments?  Would anyone like to form a support group for people who are going for something big and scary and potentially humiliating in the new year and would like to have a cheering section of others doing the same thing?

I’d really like to hear what people are thinking about in the “resolution department” for the coming year.  I could use some  inspiration.

What are you thinking of doing in 2010?

Water Resistant

I have made the “Drink More Water” resolution every New Year’s Eve for at least the past 20 years. No lie.

I go on week-long streaks of water-drinking, then revert back to “camel” mode where I don’t drink much of anything (except my morning coffee) for months on end.

Even though Tim wrote it explicitly on my training schedule that I was to drink LOTS OF WATER on the 2 days prior to the Half Marathon, did I?

No.

Did I carry a heavy camelback filled with water on the trail?  Yes I did.

Did I drink that heavy camelback filled with water on the trail?  Welll..,sorta. I drank some of it.

So yesterday, and today, I am trying to replenish fluids by drinking massive amounts of water because I felt terrible yesterday and it was all because I was dehydrated.

I have to find a way to make water drinking more palatable and a permanent habit.

Suggestions?  Anybody been “water-resistant” and overcome it?