I just completed an intensive training the trainer training (got that?) for Yoga Nidra. It was amazing, intense, awesome, beautiful, grueling, revealing and a tremendous gift. Out of this training an unspoken challenge was issued: “Do yoga nidra everyday; it will change your life, you already know this.” And so I am prepared to accept this challenge because it has in fact changed my life. The effects are undeniable. I’m relaxed and I come from a space of peace rather than reaction perched white knuckled on my edge. I am able to be highly productive without stress. It’s magic. And I’ve let it go.
Let’s recap. Back in October I issued myself a 21 day challenge to live a more enchanted life and I identified 5 activities needed to clear the way for this to happen: yoga, yoga nidra, writing, photographing all once daily and the gym a couple times a week. I nailed the challenge then let it all go the next day. Yep. Moment of truth. I could speculate on all the reasons why, but the fact is I just stopped. As much as I wanted it to be a lifestyle change and not a “goal,” it turned into the latter. I achieved it. Done. Slowly one by one I’ve added them all back in. First the writing, then the yoga, etc. And that feels good.
In addition to Yoga Nidra, I have been asked to assist in another yoga teacher training and another 21 consecutive days of yoga has been requested of me.
Then there is a little memoir contest I have decided to enter so it seems writing daily would be a good idea.
On top of all this, I will be heading to India in, ready for this, 21 days and the Swami guiding the tour has asked all of us to commit to a daily yoga and meditation practice so we are prepared for the same once we’re on the other side of the globe.
Here’s the thing; when I did this challenge the first time I basically let go of EVERYTHING else. I went to work, I taught, I did what was asked of me, but 99% of my focus and energy was on the challenge. I was on a little vacation from my life and it was awesome! When I completed the challenge I had to play catch up, putting me in the same situation I was in before: not enough time for all of it. Or, more honestly, maybe a misguided assessment of my priorities.
So this time, and yes I will be doing this again, it feels different. I will add these things in, on top of the work that I currently do, rather than replacing it. I will create priorities out of some aspects of the challenge and allow space for others. I know it’s possible.
Here’s the challenge: yoga nidra and writing daily. Yoga and Gym as often as I can. Which is to say I will do some sort of physical exercise daily, I’m just not going to be militant as to what. As I write this I don’t feel the same sense of urgency or excitement I did before, and I think maybe that’s good. Instead, there’s a quiet determination and a sense of calm confidence. I’ve got this.
A few days after the last challenge when it was clear to me that I had slipped into the to-do list abyss, I was feeling a sense of failure and berating myself for undoing it all. But I didn’t undo anything. I simply stopped doing all of it at once and brought each component back in as I felt the need. All the work I had done was valid. It helped. It was time well spent.
My life is still enchanted, magic happens everyday. I didn’t need to do all those things daily to create an environment for enchantment to arise. I did need to do the challenge to reveal to me that I already had an enchanted life. I only had to recognize it.
I also believe anytime I am moving a little farther down the continuum of self care and self love; honoring the vehicle I have been gifted, it is always a win.
So I will rise to the challenge again with curiosity and an appreciation of the experiences. I’ll post daily as before for those who want to follow along or create their own challenges. Please share your challenges and ideas with me, and we can grow together.
[Photo: Salt Springs, Florida. Deep in the Ocala National Park where pine trees sing like running water.]