I Think I’m Done

On July 1st I started writing my book here in short blog posts.

This was “Step 1” in the strategy to overcome my resistance to putting my work out there. The plan was to  use my blogging streak to chunk out the book. And you know what?  I think I’m done. Today when I sat down to write this post, there was no more content left to write.

I still have the Acknowledgements, and a Resources page and some structural tweaks, but the content is done. Two weeks ahead of schedule.

Tomorrow’s blog entry will be the 150th day in a row of this blogging streak which started on February 18th, Ash Wednesday.

As the string of days-without-a-miss has gotten longer, I’ve been getting excited about it. I’ve even wondered if I could last a full 365.

But tomorrow I’m going to bring this streak to an end.

Done.

So what happens to this blog now?

I don’t really know.

I’m thinking maybe a twice weekly posting schedule? Maybe just Mondays and Fridays? I could talk about Stage 2 of this process of self-publishing a book as I go through it.

Because this project won’t be “DONE,” done, until there is a bound copy of this thing for sale on Amazon.

(Remember Project Rule Number 2, right? The Goal: What will count as done?)

I could possibly go back to the, “What I Had For Lunch” kind of post where I talk mostly about my personal life and my lens on it.

I don’t know…

I’ve  gotten a few more readers since I started streaking every day here. It’s really cool, and so gratifying. Maybe you guys could tell me what you’d like to read here?

Personal life stories of a small town yoga teacher? Or how-to kinds of stuff about the few things I know how to do?

I’d really like to know.

Anyway, thanks so much for giving me a little audience to write to. This streak has been a fun ride for me.

Namaste.

Why Streak?

Why do anything, really?  Why go to work? Why have another beer? Why take a vacation? Why take a nap?

“Why?” is a great question because the answer to “Why?” will reveal what you believe.

Simon Sinek has a great YouTube and an equally wonderful book called Start With Why that I highly recommend. Check it out and start channeling your inner 5 year-old. Start noticing everything you do and ask, Why?

So, why streak?

Why commit to doing something every day, without a miss, for as long as you can?

Streaks boost your self-esteem. As your streak grows, you’ll become justifiably proud of yourself. A long streak is a testament to having persisted even when you didn’t feel like it. You have proven that you have self-command. You have overcome lethargy and laziness to honor a higher vision of yourself.

Streaks make you trustworthy. The easiest promises to break are the ones you make to yourself: “Who will know if I don’t meditate today?  These little no-stakes streak-promises test your word. Can you keep your word, even if it’s just to yourself and doesn’t affect anyone else? If you can, you know you can  trust yourself and therefore, others can trust you, too.

Streaks are mirrors.  They reveal you to yourself. How do you act when the going gets hard? What happens when you’re tempted to cheat? Do you make excuses or fudge the rules? Do you soldier on? As your streak gets longer and longer, you’ll start to see yourself and your tendencies pretty clearly. This is the beginning of self-knowledge. You’ll see where you’re strong and where you need work.

Streaks give you a solid place to stand. Even if you feel like a failure in every other area of your life, when you’re tending a long streak you can point to it and know that at least here, you’re solid. You know without question that in terms of honoring this commitment, you’re a person in good standing. You feel in integrity.  You can point to your 52-days-of-meditation-without-a-miss, for example, and say, “This is who I am. I am a person who can meditate 52 days in a row without a miss.”

Tomorrow: Writing Your Personal Manifesto

Streakers Do It Every Day

Okay boys and girls, quiz time.

What is a streak?

A: A streak is the distance you can run naked in a public place before you’re arrested.

Or,

B: A streak is the length of time you can do something before you miss.

Answer: Both.

I have never actually streaked in the “A” definition, though my roommate in college did; and like you I’ve giggled through TV highlights of random men jiggling their junk across major league playing fields.

I’m not really into public exhibitionism, but I love to streak in the “B” definition.

I like to set up personalized games for myself where I try to do something for as many days-in-a-row as I can.

To see if I can.

To test my persistence and stamina.

To see if I can keep a promise to myself.

It’s nothing more than a habit-building game. You pick a thing, you set the rules, and then you see how long you can last. It’s like when you were a kid and tried to see how long you could hold your breath under water.

Or how long you could jump rope without missing.

Or shoot foul shots.

You make-up the streak thing and you set the rules about what counts and what doesn’t. Every day? Or a certain number of days? For how long each time?

Here are My Rules for Streaking

1. It has to be something positive, something I add to my life, not subtract: “Take up meditation”, rather than “Give up sugar.”

2. It’s not a streak for me until I get to Day 10. Before Day 10 it’s more like a “healthy trend,” but on day 10, I’ve got some traction, and a streak is now underway.

3. I have to understand that it’s going to end. It’s not infinitely sustainable. If it does last more than a few years, it’s no longer a streak, it’s a practice, and I’ll talk about that later.

The definition of a streak is that it will end. Streaks end because streaks are games. But the most important moment in the life of a streak is the day it dies. You do not want to rush the end, but be prepared for some soul-searching when it does:

Are you disappointed? Then start over.

Are you relieved? It wasn’t your thing. Pick something else and start a new streak.

How to Pick a Thing to Streak

One of the best things to streak are body practices or a meditation practice. They are part of this system anyway, so why not make meditation, or yoga, or walking, your streak thing? Two birds, one stone-ish.

Another thing you could do is think of something you’ve been putting off or procrastinating about, and pick a baby step and do it every day.

One home cooked meal from scratch a week.

30 minutes of de-cluttering every day.

Take a calendar and mark every day you succeed. That’t the Jerry Seinfeld “Don’t Break The Chain” approach. He put big Xs on his calendar for every day he practiced his stand-up routine. After a while the Xs locked arms in solidarity on his calendar and hell if he was going to create a breach!

Tomorrow: Why to Streak.

I Hear You

I used to be uncomfortable whenever there was a lull in a conversation. I used to jump in and fill it with ANYTHING rather than just let any silence be there.

I am noticing that I am a lot more comfortable with silence now.

I am learning how powerful it is.

When someone stops talking and I don’t jump right in with a response, but instead just let there be a gap of nothing for awhile, weird shit happens.

Either the other person gets really quiet and seems to listen to the startling echo of what they just said.

OR:

They rush right in and stuff the uncomfortable gap with a wad of verbal padding.

I used to be a verbal padder. Now I am becoming more of an echo appreciator.

Today I found myself telling a friend about this blog, and how I have been  blogging since Ash Wednesday and have kept it going, daily, up to this point, and today is my 100th consecutive post.

As I was talking, he was eating, and seemed more absorbed in his food than my narrative. I got the feeling my story was tiresome to him, but I felt powerless to stop it now that I had started it. I needed it to end, yet I prattled on, wondering why I had even started down this path.

I wanted so desperately to stop, mid-sentence, and  let the whole narrative die, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

When I finally finished, I wanted some silence to happen. But it didn’t.

Instead, he jumped right in, changed the subject, and flew off in another direction.

Some conversations could really benefit from air traffic control.

 

Name It!

Yesterday on Facebook I posted that now that it is May, it’s time for a new Challenge. Someone commented: “Just name it.”

And I was thinking about this. I think I am being asked to say something like: “Yoga 5 days a week. No excuses!”

Maybe they want me to set up a Facebook accountability tool, like I did for my “Intro to Meditation” class a few months ago. (I challenged that group to meditate for 10 minutes a day for a month and they are still at it, months later.)

Maybe I could issue a dietary challenge: NO SUGAR IN MAY. But that might be too much, not to mention cruel.

Today on my way up to Wegmans I was listening to this Robert Greene interview again.  Greene wrote a great book called Mastery, and he was talking about people who say they don’t know what they want to do with their lives. He said you need to figure out what incentivizes you What do YOU want? And it can’t be about making money.

This is totally in line with my “Amp Your Vibe” process of having people list all the things they love and hate and then picking something off that list (the love list) and creating a streak around it.

For example, maybe you would like to write a novel, or dig a perennial garden, or travel to Bali, or learn the ukelele.

Maybe you want to play a respectable game of golf, or beat someone in chess, or learn to surf.

Maybe you want to do a tremendously difficult hike, like the Appalachian Trail, or grow prize winning roses, or get to your ideal weight.

Maybe a headstand or a handstand is on your list, or understanding the stock market enough to make some wise investments.

Maybe you want to learn to code and build an app, or a website. Maybe you dream of writing a popular blog.

YOU name it. Name your thing, then break it down into a 30 day start, commit, and go.

What could you do in the next 30 days that would bring you closer to your dream?

Here’s what I am going to do in May: I want to win the NaNo Badge on 750words.com. That will entail writing 50K words in a month. I also want to do a handstand some day, ideally by the end of the summer, so to that end I am committed to doing handstand prep poses during the “open practice’ sessions during May at the studio.

I don’t want to “Name it.” I want you to. Then I want to hold you to your highest vision of yourself. I would love to support you in whatever you want to do. If you need an accountability partner, I’ll do it. You want some words of encouragement from time to time, or some information? I’ll do it.

I want you to name it and claim it.

This is your one wild and precious life.

Getting Tired of This Detox Life

So it is 3 weeks today of this austerity diet and I am getting tired. Literally tired. I want one cup of coffee. That’s all. One cup of coffee in the morning.

But then last night, I also wanted one glass of wine. One glass of wine. In the evening. Is that so bad? But I know what that will lead to. I do. It will lead to gelato, and gin and tonics on the deck, and beer, and then I will be back to my old ways.

But I ask myself: what is so bad about those old ways? And my answer is: crummy sleep, a black tongue, some flab around the middle.

And I think I just talked myself out of wanting my coffee in the morning.

But this is what I wonder: could I just have the coffee and not the other stuff? Just the coffee? Make that my only bad habit? Stay away from alcohol and sweet things? Could I adjust my streak? Let the coffee streak die, but keep the alcohol and sugar streak going a bit longer?

I don’t know. I think Gretchen Rubin is right about abstaining. Sometimes abstaining is easier than moderating.

Is coffee my gateway drug? I really don’t think so. I think alcohol is my gateway drug.

Alcohol leads me into sweets and other food temptations, like cheese and chips and other kinds of happy hour food, and it lowers my resistance to sugar. For some reason I always want something sweet when I am drinking wine. I don’t seek sugar as much if at all when I am drinking gin. But I do when I drink beer.

I think alcohol is the stupidest drug of all. I wish cannabis would hurry up and be legalized already. It is such a better high, though there IS the problem of munchies, which is not to be discounted.

So did I just talk myself out of breaking my streak? I think so. What I have been thinking is that I will break it when we go to Sanibel at the end of May.

I don’t really think I can last that long, but I am going to try. I am at least going to keep going until the end of April. These austerities are my own little “April Challenge.”