Thursday, September 1, 2011

30-Day Whatever

Last month I signed up for Amy Ippoliti's 30 Day Yoga Challenge via Facebook.  I'm a huge fan of Amy's -- she's funny and she kicks ass -- and I particularly love how entrepreneurial she is, always coming up with some new deal.  Did you know she invented the Anusara immersion?  So, since I fell in love with Amy at Wanderlust, it was only natural that I follow her on FB and basically do everything possible to emulate her, be just like her. Like sign up for the Challenge.  

Except I only lasted about a week.

Amy's 30 Day Challenge for August was to spend 15 minutes a day reading something yoga-related.  Could be anything: magazine, books.  I got on the bandwagon late, so began the Challenge about 1 1/4 hours behind.  And my fuzzy anemic brain + a perhaps poor choice of reading material didn't work in my favor, either.     

David Frawley's Yoga & Ayurveda has been hanging out in my Pending pile for at least 18 months, since I set aside in favor of something juicier.  The thing about the Pending pile is that often a book winds up there because it didn't hook me.  "Pending" basically means I'll give it another try, but if I'm being realistic, it probably means Will Read When All Other Good Books Vanish.  And -- another one of my rules -- a  book never gets shelved UNLESS it's been read, which means if I don't like you, you could linger in a pile on the floor forevs.  Nevertheless, on Day 14, I feel like the book gave me a huge gift, maybe its only gift, when I read this:
Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences that developed together and repeatedly influenced each other throughout history... Yoga is first and foremost a science of Self-realization. Its concern is spiritual practice... Yoga provides the key to all spiritual development, which in the Vedic sense is gaining knowledge of our true nature beyond time, space, death and suffering.  Ayurveda is primarily a science of Self-healing aimed at relieving the diseases of body and mind... Traditionally, in India, yoga dealt with the spiritual side of life...  Ayurveda, on the other hand, dealt with the physical.
Allow me to reiterate: Yoga is the spiritual practice.  Ayurveda is the physical. This is something I know about yoga after 8 1/2 years of practice, but something that snuck up on me, really.  I went into it, like a lot of people do, for a physical practice, resistant to the notion that it was a spiritual practice.  And it got me anyway!  Reading it in Frawley, though, made a lightbulb go on, that's still on.  I've been thinking about it ever since.  

Even though I got that lightbulb out of it, I was disappointed that I couldn't manage to complete a reading Challenge.  But here's the deal: it's hard for me to take on a Challenge that involves reading, since I already have so much reading on my list.  As I sit here writing this, you should know that around me are the latest New Yorker (thanks, Martine) in which I'm reading an article about Timothy Ferris, the second volume of The Hunger Games (thanks, Eunice) which if I'm not careful I will finish before leaving for work today, and at least three open webpages that I am reading as part of my morning routine.  

Truth is, though, that it's apparently extremely hard for me to do *anything* for 30 days straight, if we leave aside the purely biological.  

The 30 Day Yoga Challenge for September hasn't been posted yet, so I don't know what Amy proposes for the month.  But I'm thinking I need my own 30 Day Challenge, something that I commit to doing every single day, starting today.  Consistency is something I really wanted to work on this year -- it's in my resolutions, and on a yellow 3 x 5 index card on my desk to remind me.  Question is: what?  What should I do for 30 days?

There are some simple health-related practices I could take on, like ensuring that I take my thyroid, iron and Vitamin D every single day.  It's remarkably easy for me to forget things like that and then suffer as a consequence.  Or I could vow to sleep 7 hours a night for 30 days, but that seems well-nigh impossible, unless my supply of Ambien expands.  But those are boring, and not really challenging in a way that, uh, challenges me.

I think for 30 days I might try something truly radical.  I think for 30 days, starting this second, I am not going to criticize or correct.  When Joe reads this, he is going to laugh his ass off!  This is probably the single-hardest challenge I can come up with, since that red pencil is so much a part of my nature, calling out the it's/its errors, bitching about incivility, constantly schooling everybody about the rules.  I do it to myself, too, if that's any consolation at all, listening intently at all times to the very loud voice within that likes to point out and dwell on my own flaws and errors.

Done, for a month.  

With one caveat: at work, my job really is quality control, so I am responsible for catching and correcting errors.  I hereby solemnly swear that I will do so nicely.

Help me with this, will you?  This is going to be super-hard, way harder than reading about yoga for 15 minutes a day, but I think the end-result is going to  be really great. I may come out of this more positive than before, more able to see the good, less intent on fixing what I think is wrong.  Or I could bail after 2 days.  Which, if I'm being consistent, I won't criticize.  


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