All or Nothing

manatee IMG_3784Go big or go home. In or out. Without realizing it most of my life has been guided by these phrases. If I decide that I am going to do something it has to be every day at the same time. Gym every morning. Juicing for lunch. Walk after dinner. If I miss one day, I’ve failed. So I stop.

This is a tough one for me. Consistency equals success.

I remember hearing Wayne Dyer talk about running. For years he ran every single morning. Rain, shine, snow, illness, injury. Everyday. Then one day he couldn’t. He was too sick or injured. He completely struggled with not doing it. Until he didn’t.

I remember thinking, “Wow, that’s so obsessive.” Hello mirror.

I still do it. It shows up a little differently each time, cleverly disguised as  resolve or gumption, but it’s still a 50/50 split.

The problem is with the nothing, go home, out part. That’s the easy part. It seems to take such a long period of cheer leading and hand holding to talk me into the healthy habit and a mere whiff of fresh-baked cookies or a frigid morning or a sore foot or whine, whine, wine (oops, how did that get in there?!) to pull me out.

Then a brief stint in the corner of self-doubt and shame helps me turn things around. This process is exhausting!

After all this craziness I believe a switch has been thrown. Finally I feel ready to tackle this or that. This is the time. I just need to do it every single day for a certain number of days and then…what? Keep doing it every day for the rest of my life? Integrate it into my life as a healthy habit? We saw how well that worked last time.

But, hold on. Maybe it did work last time. Maybe the time between the last 21 day challenge and this one was necessary for me to find those mirrors and hit those bumps and head smack myself a little into returning. Maybe it created enough of a recognition that it’s possible. That I don’t have to create an unrealistic schedule to succeed just to set myself up for failure.

Life happens. All of these things I’ve added in consciously, the writing, yoga nidra, gym or yoga – which by the way I’ve been to the gym 3 times this week and done yoga twice, thank you very much – are supposed to be about supporting my best self. They are supposed to be about loving myself. If I fall back, shouldn’t I just love myself back into action, rather than abuse myself? Yep.

The new challenge program has my deepest desire to show up as my biggest, bestest, most authentic self. That’s all. Now that’s something I can get behind.

That’s the switch. Make the choices that clear the path for ME to show up. When I show up clear and open, I allow others that same opportunity. It’s a win-win. And I like those odds.

[Photo: While playing hooky from blogging yesterday I scampered off to Blue Springs Park to be lulled into a state of waking meditation by the slow, gentle ballet of the beautiful manatees. Best reason to play hooky!]

Foggy Hawk Tawk

Hawk IMG_3544

I thought I was going to the springs. The manatees are usually lolling about in large numbers in January and I love to capture their grace on film. But it was foggy, and I love fog, so I set out on foot through my neighborhood instead.

There’s an area of green space on my way to the duck pond that the deer sometimes frequent. It was too late for that, but the fog that hovered over the tiny creek that bends around a stand of palms looked mystical and poetic. I could imagine whole stories springing from that one little scene.

As I approached the duck pond it was close to deserted. A pair of mallards and a single snowy egret had it all to themselves. Over time a few more ducks, a loon and a red-billed black bird with the most enormous yellow feet showed up.

Pretty standard fare made a little more magical with the fog. I snapped a couple of photos then began to meander back.

“It would be so great to see a hawk” I thought. Just then, seriously, just then, I notice something swoop from one tree to another. It’s a hawk.

Hawks and I have a thing. They show up when I ask them to and even when I don’t. At times the appear because I need them to, but didn’t know I did. They will pose for me as long as I don’t impede their mealtime efforts.

Today I was gifted two. I think they were mother and child because they perched briefly together on the same branch and seldom do birds of prey do that unless there is a lesson in progress.

As I slowly tiptoed around underneath them to get the sun at my back, the mom flew a short distance away. She chose the top of the tennis court fence. The hawklet remained on the branch to pose for me.

The mother began to squawk, shortly after I watched the little one perk up and begin to respond. No one moved, including me, although I kept shooting away. There’s nothing quite so powerful as the call of a bird right in front of you.

Once they finished their conversation I attempted to get closer to mom. I was able to capture her in mid-sentence once or twice before the pair of mallards let out a huge quack right behind me sending mom away.

I turned my attention back to the hawks in time to see mom just clear the top of the branch where her young one had stayed perched, as if to say, “Come on, let’s go.” Together they flew off to continue the lesson with less human involvement.

As I walked home I could hear them across the street, hidden skillfully in a large stand of trees. I smiled in their direction, thanking them for sharing their time with me and delivering the message my soul was longing to hear.

According to Native American medicine, hawk is the Messenger. It is the big picture seer. I have always been a big picture person, preferring to work backwards from the grand vision to fill in the details.  When I am feeling churlish or agitated it is usually because I have lived too long with the minutia. I am mired in bits and pieces that often seem unrelated and messy. Hawk is a reminder to let the details go for a while and look up. The sky is the ultimate big picture, open and full of possibilities. And every now then I get lucky and a hawk soars through it.