Impure

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It has been a week since I completed an 8-day detox. This was not a stay-at-home and mix some lemon and apple cider vinegar cleanse type of thing, this was a go to a place get lulled into relaxation by the beautiful surroundings then get beaten up by treatments kinda deal.

I may be a tad bit dramatic here.

What I did is called panchakarma. It is an Ayurvedic detoxification process. Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga – they kind of grew up together – which focuses on food, the physical body and its relationship to nature. Yoga, is the spiritual practice that is its companion.

You may be confused by that last sentence as yoga certainly seems like a physical exercise and in part it is, but that is just one small aspect of the philosophy. But we’ll get into that at another time.

Panchakarma translates to: pancha = five, karma = actions. There are five actions taken to help the body detoxify, but the actual detoxification is three weeks long (or forever). Here are the cliff notes:

Week One: The week before attending panchakarma I met with the doctor. Based on his assessment of my overall health he prescribed medicated ghee (an organic clarified butter with helpful herbs for my constitution), a powder to mix into hot water and drink before meals, and castor oil to drink at night. For 7 days.

Week Two: Go to the location of the panchakarma and receive the five actions, as well as; participate in breath work, meditation and yoga each morning; eat healthy balancing food provided throughout the day; and attend a lecture each evening.

The five actions in brief:

Abhyanga – a two-person lymphatic massage using a gallon of oil. Two people work on opposite sides of the body, in tandem, to help the lymph move through to carry toxins out of the body. There are other add-ons to the body work that I will share as they happen.

Swedana – Steaming out the impurities either through a canvas steamed dome that is lowered over the massage table or a steam box in which one sits with the head out.

Shirodhara – a continuous warm oil drip onto the third eye. You might see god, it’s that divine.

Vamana or Vierechana – Controlled Elimination. Depending on the individual’s constitution and level of impurities, they are administered herbs to either “gently” vomit or have “controlled” diarrhea.

Basti – enema. Do you want the name and number of this magical retreat yet? There are two types: a 2 ounce oleating enema that mostly gets absorbed into the colon, and the 12-ounce bag (think IV size) that is filled with a personalized prescription of oils and herbs. The results of this one are markedly different from the 2-ounce as you’ve likely already surmised.

Rakta Mokshana – Blood letting. Like leeches. We did not do this one. Apparently the FDA has rules about the health of leeches so we missed out.

Ok, I know that’s six and there are also nasya – medicated oil up the nose, and netra tarpin – eye drops. Just know we got the full package, plus some extras, minus the leeches.

Week Three: During week two diet and lifestyle practices have been discussed and then prescribed for home. In addition, some herbs or supplements may be recommended. And in all honesty, this third week is really a suggested way to continue eating and living for the next three months. Or forever. I am doing the vegan thing until May. At least. To the best of my ability. [Please note: chocolate, wine and coffee are all vegan.]

By now you may be wondering, Why? Why would you do this and why are you sharing this masochistic torture with me?

Because the results are amazing.

It is a complete reset. When I showed up at the center’s front door, I was stressed beyond my capacity to deal with it in a healthy manner, instead I was on the fuck it diet – eating whatever I wanted – and drinking way too much wine. I let go of all my helpful practices and even gave up riding my beloved bike, Ruby Blue. I was just too busy being overwhelmed and important to take care of myself. I was on auto-destruct but powering through.

I had to disrupt all my habits.

I had committed to the panchakarma six months before going. A couple of friends from California were going to do it and invited me join, so I say yes. One of my best yesses, I’d say.

The first few days of panchakarma I was still stuck in my head, anxious without an impossible list of tasks to complete, but by mid-week I had relaxed into the rhythm and surrendered to the schedule. I could feel the stress turning to vapor and leaving my body (it left in other ways too, but I don’t want to spoil it), I could feel my mind beginning to clear and my muscles and righteousness beginning to relax.

By the time I left, I had a clarity and focus I have not had in years. My body felt lighter and more open. I could breathe fully and smile easily. My skin was glowing.

Why would I want to give that up? Why would I ever want to go back to the old uptight pressure cooker I was? I wouldn’t. I don’t. I am doing all I can to maintain my peace and continue to heal body and mind.

What will follow the next few days is my day-by-day account of what I went through. It’s written in real time, as I was experiencing it, so it has all the snark that comes along with a sarcastic, stressed, overweight, toxic, middle-aged woman being asked to get naked so her body can be sanded, slathered and sweated for her own good.

Regardless of what that crazy bitch has to say, this clearer, calmer version of her, highly recommends the process and the amazing therapists and doctor of the Mind Body Wellness Center in Flagler Beach, Florida.

 

Nature Nurtures

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Sitting outside on my patio staring at all things green. Too much swirling around in my head right now to focus on one subject to expound on.

How America got the whole food thing wrong somehow. When I travel I notice how no one is really obese, some overweight of course, but not confined to motorized scooters because they’re too big to move. I know this is a combination of things but mostly it’s the food industry and the culture – that both positive and negatively impact individuals. We’re so sick here. It’s so avoidable.

My potential kitchen remodel and all the tiny little decisions that go into it. And the less than tiny amount of money that is attached to each choice. And how necessary every little piece is.

Receiving my new composter. So excited to have it, too tired to try to figure out how to put it together and start using it. But there are bags of vegetable bits waiting in my refrigerator from juicing that need a new home.

Wondering when it will rain again.

Writing about my twin gay great uncles. One was an opera singer who fled to New York and married three different women. His brother lingered a little longer in Pennsylvania before heading off to Europe to work for Fortuny, the fashion house itself, but not before being introduced (by his brother) to the completely out and daring world of circuit parties in NYC. “There were all these men, just men, it was amazing.”

Plus a million more thoughts about my cat and dogs, yoga teacher training, smart people, my mother’s car and all her stuff, acid reflux, lizards drinking water, recycling, stone pathways, gossip, birds…

When the all the thoughts are competing for space and jockeying for position the only thing I want to do, the only thing I can do, is sit and stare at nature. Just sit. And stare.

It’s a form of meditation that’s highly portable and super simple, and that’s what I need right now.

Cluttered Mind

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The whole idea of cleansing is a mental one. Amassing stuff, weight, debt – all stemming from the same root cause by the way – happens first in the  mind. We feel a sense of lack on some level so we eat, purchase, expend undue stress and energy.

Your mind created it. It can fix it.

If clarity is what you’re seeking a dedicated meditation practice is all you need. Really.

But if your mind is so occupied with thoughts about work, the kids, aging parents, cleaning, cooking, laundry, car trouble, illness, I forgot to exercise again, etc. how are you expected to quiet your mind enough to meditate?

If losing weight and getting healthier is your focus, simply changing how you eat, what you eat and moving more should take care of that.

But if you are stressed and your body is constantly “on” in flight or flight – and believe me it probably is – the weight will be stubborn. It’s quite comfortable right where it is. Giving up often seems like the only clear option.

If creating more physical space by decluttering and purging your stuff is your goal, that’s simple enough. Go through your things and get rid of whatever you no longer need or want.

But what if you uncover some attachments to weird things. An old handkerchief becomes a memory of a long passed grandmother, the broken chair was the one your dad always sat in. How are you going to release anything at that rate? And what if your partner, kids or other housemates just keep bringing more stuff home?

The reason behind the purge has to be solid; it has to be enough to keep you going. You know you will feel lighter and more open to possibility if you have less stuff, more time, and get healthy. That clear picture of the results – the space – has to become crystal clear to keep you moving forward.

Start slow but steady and determined. Habits will try to remind you how everything was just fine the way it was.

This is ultimately a mental cleanse; the clearing out of old habits and they will fight back.

I highly recommend meditation, yoga, walking, juicing. They’re all powerful tools for clarity.

We have 12 full months to turn this ship around. Just take one step today. Just agree with yourself that you are going to create space for clarity and magic then let the ‘hows’ unfold.

Still chomping to get started or whining a little?

If you did a little internal groan at meditation might I recommend Yoga Nidra? It is a meditation practice that is guided. You are laying down and simply listening. Doing this practice everyday or even twice a day for a month, or less, will change everything. Well, it will change your perspective of everything.

If yoga or walking prompted an eyeroll, just do some research on your local studios first, find a truly gentle class and start there. The big secret: Yoga is less about physical flexibility and strength (although that naturally comes) and more about mental flexibility and clarity. Or go for a walk. In regular old street clothes and some comfortable shoes. Take your phone – not to talk, try to be completely present to everything around you – to take photos of magic. You’re bound to see a beautiful flower, a bird, a sunrise. Capture it, it’ll get you back out there tomorrow.

fullsizerender-20If juicing sounds like yesterday’s hot thing or pure quackery, give it another chance. It takes a little more work. First you need a juicer and lots and lots of raw veggies and a few not too-sweet fruits. Or do you? There are some high quality cold pressed juices out there. I’m a big fan of Suja. I’m a bigger fan of juicing myself. Smoothies are great too, but with juicing you get a shot of nutrients right to the blood stream without the time it takes to digest the fiber of eating a whole bunch of kale or a carrot. If you don’t have a juicer, start with the store bought variety or make yourself a healthy smoothie in your blender. Just get some more high-quality raw veggies in that amazing body of yours.

“What about all my stuff?” you may be thinking. Take that one step at a time as well. We’ll be talking in great detail about physical objects and clutter. For now take a look around your home and determine where to start. For most it will be inside something. My own home neatly hides tons of mysterious secret stuff: drawers, closets, desks. Maybe start somewhere simple and mostly neglected. Or maybe you’ll choose to start with a category of things like clothes. There are as many techniques out there as there is stuff, we’ll go over a few that seem to be gaining some traction in the coming weeks. For now, just observe. Notice how things make you feel.

None of this has to be started today. Or ever. Remember your goal? Your reason? It’s yours, it’s personal. If any of these things can help you get on your way to more clarity give them a shot.

There will not be just one answer, one solution. It takes a village of ideas and practices working together – along with a support system – to feel safe enough to drill down and begin to create a shift.

With clarity comes enchantment, freedom and purpose.

Wait, purpose, what?

 

 

21 Day Challenge – Day 7 – Skulduggery Afoot

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One week in and here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. I am still really good at tricking myself into and out of what is good for me. Like professional grade status.
  2. I’m getting smarter and quicker at catching the skullduggery and doing the right thing more often than not.
  3. I have not lost one ounce but I have gained a ton of energy. Before committing to the “work-out” I was fuzzy, forgetful, tired, whiney, angry and frustrated. Now I’m just occasionally and strategically forgetful.
  4. I don’t like being pushed. And apparently I “bargain” with my trainer. Whatever.
  5. And, I actually like raising my heart rate and sweating.

While all of this seems like good news – and it is – what I am lacking is routine or ritual. I need structure. I fight structure. Do you see the problem? I exhaust myself.

A year or so ago I went through some of my old journals, and there are millions. I was expecting to find witty remarks, deep thoughts and profound insights. You know, the stuff that would comprise the movie they make about me in 100 years after they unearth these tomes of brilliance. What I found between profundities were pages and pages, years and years of planning my day. Get up at 5, 6, 5:45, work out, eat breakfast and on and on.

How depressing. Not so much that I was planning, but that I never really worked the plan.

In almost every case, everything I wanted to accomplish during the day had to be finished by 11 AM, my high point of creativity and energy during the day, so I was progressively getting up earlier and earlier. What did I expect to do with myself after 11? Have lunch with friends, skulk around independent bookstores, chat up shop owners and do gooders, come home cook a gourmet meal and share my day with my husband?

Sounds pretty amazing, actually, perhaps I should revisit those journals.

But I digress.

So now what? Plan again? Start over? Wing it? It’s the act of planning that feels solid to me. I have always been this way. I am the idea person, I’m going to lay it all out and then YOU go implement it.

There appears to be a learning opportunity for me. Can I be the implementer? I know I will fight it. For the past 8 years I have had my own businesses and my time is my own. Schedules just happen organically.

I think if I have a short list of things I plan to accomplish during the day – whenever – I will get them done.

No. That feels like a cop-out. I feel like there is a huge opportunity for me to break through this resistance to what is good for me.

I need the structure. I need to create non-negotiables. I just do these things because they are what I do. I brush my teeth every day, shower, make my bed. Why not pranayama, meditation and an hour of movement? Why not indeed.

There. Now onto the schedule.

You should know that in my head I’m already coming up with reasons why this won’t work.

 

21 Day Challenge – Day 4 – Every Breath You Take

437Today I feel strong. As I walk to the front of my mat in yoga class I feel steady and sure. I have my breath.

Prana. Chi. Life force.

So little is taught about breathing. I guess since it just sort of happens we don’t really pay much attention to it. Until we can’t breathe “normally” anymore. Unless we grew up with asthma or allergies. But mostly it’s just there.

If we do pay attention to the breath we can change every system in the body. We can balance the mind, stoke digestive fires, cleanse the blood and overall awaken the physical form.

There was an Ayurveda study done in India on obese subjects. One group was placed on a diet specifically for their individual constitution. The other group was given pranayama – a specific breath to be done a requisite number of times – 30 minutes before each meal.

The group that deliberately breathed lost significant amounts of weight.

A personal friend of mine has been experimenting with the same phenomenon. He has been practicing various forms of pranayama throughout the day – occasionally switching it up to see what difference it makes. He continues to eat and imbibe as always, his activity level has remained the same, and he has lost weight. He also reports an overall sense of well-being.

The breath he uses is different than the one used in the study. The amount of time he breathes consciously differs as well. But the results are very similar.

Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga. It’s easily overlooked outside of the classroom. It’s often forgotten inside the classroom. And it’s practically non-existent in daily life as a practice.

Prana is life force, like Chi in Chinese medicine, it works with the breath, but it is not the breath. Prana is in every living thing. We receive prana from the food we eat, the sun, the air and certainly from breathing. Throughout most days we are leaking prana, giving it away to negative thoughts, anger, jealously. We are squandering Life Force. Losing. Life. Force.

All one has to do to get it back is breathe. Consciously.

Here is the breath used in the Ayurveda study. Try it. Twice a day. 5 minutes each time. Start there. Not for weight loss – although that may be a happy side effect – but for Life.

Naadhi Shodhana – alternate nostril breathing.

Vishnu mudra rightMake a fist with the right hand. Extend the thumb and last two fingers. The thumb and fingers rest lightly on the nose, just above the nostrils so very little pressure or movement is needed to close each side.

 

Take a deep breath in through the nose. Close the right nostril with the thumb.

Exhale through the left nostril. Inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril.

Exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril.

Continue with this process for 5 minutes. Finish by exhaling through the right nostril. Place both hands in the lap, close the eyes briefly – maybe meditate for five minutes – then return to your normal routine.

Other ways to increase life force:

– Eat a mostly organic, plant based diet

– Exercise with intention and presence

– Be present. Thoughts of the future or past are normal, but too much time spent in either place robs you of precious life force than can be used right now.

– Cultivate compassion. Anger, jealously, regret, hate all deplete prana. When you catch yourself enveloped in any of these strong emotions, breathe.

Just breathe. Consciously. Often. Inhale gratitude. Exhale love.

 

21 Day Body Love Challenge – She’s a Brainiac, Brainiac

Brain Cells and Deep Space

My brain is in love with itself. Yours probably is too. We can have a grand old time making up things to think about. Boredom? Never, we keep each other entertained, but we can also get into trouble.

My brain is brilliant; it tells me so all the time. My elementary school teachers told my parents so too, but they used phrases like, “so much potential,” “if only she’d focus,” “if she applied herself,” “if she’d just stop talking.” They were thinking Mensa, probably.

I am fascinated with the inner workings of the brain. Not enough to become a neurobiologist or some high falutin doctor, but enough to pay attention to how people are. It’s so interesting to me that people make the same decisions over and over again even though they know those choices are harmful to them. Smoking, drugs, over-eating, playing in traffic, watching the news.  Me too. Why do we do it?

What makes some people more successful than others? It’s in the brain, I’m sure of it, I just don’t know where or what it looks like. Maybe it looks like a stern father or a disappointed mother. Maybe it’s just wide open space that the brain can roll around in like a child rolling down a hill on a spring day.

How different must Hitler’s brain look from Einstein’s? Does it even?

There is a place where science and yoga intersect on the topic of the brain. Quantum physics tells us nerves that wire together fire together. Meaning if we repeat the same behavior often enough, we will continue to repeat it. We have created a neuro-pathway that is wired to do that same thing again and again. We’ve taught it.

In yoga they are called samskaras. Deep grooves held in the sub-conscious that prompt us to keep repeating the same behavior. Good or bad. Sometimes we don’t even know why we’re doing that silly thing we always do. This is why.

The good news is we can fix it. We simply have to create new grooves, new pathways with the good habits we’d like to foster. Simple, right? Simple, yes. Easy, no.

My brain has had full arguments with itself over whether or not I should have the oh-so-tiny piece of chocolate. I’m not sure which one is in charge of the mouth, but that’s the one that usually wins. If I want to change that, I need to train my brain to go for water, over and over again. The mouth controlling part of my brain is on the floor snorting with laughter right now. See what I’m up against?!

When I try to meditate, the bratty part of my brain – the one with all that potential – sits behind a table and holds up score cards. Usually they are failing marks. When I try to concentrate on one task, focus, really focus, the other part can be found semi-crumpled whining, “Come ooooonnn.” I usually go.

Full disclosure: As soon as I typed the word ‘go’ in that last paragraph, my head snapped to look outside to see what was going on. Nothing, by the way. Nothing was going on.

Creating a good habit seems more difficult than the bad ones because we usually view it as a corrective behavior. If we reframe it as just something new, the brain is likely to be pleased and pick up the new habit more easily.

So, I think I’ll go grab a big glass of water. Still laughing.  Oh, big beautiful brain, how I love thee.

“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” – Robert Frost

 

Lovable

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About a week ago I was up at my ashram for a yoga teacher reunion. It was little more than 24 hours, arriving at noon on Tuesday and leaving around the same time Wednesday, in which we reconnected with each other, did some yoga and made a couple new friends.

The treat in going to the ashram is being in the presence of Yogi Amrit Desai. Wednesday morning, after yoga, we had that opportunity. During trainings, and even between trainings, Gurudev – our term of endearment for him – leads philosophical, spiritual talks called darshan. He shares his thoughts about many things in the yoga world and reminds us of a few universal truths, but most of his talks circle back to consciousness. This morning was no different. This is the reason I am here.

Today he is talking about how we feel we need to do things, be something and act in certain ways to be lovable. He was giving examples and making us nod in agreement and laugh at ourselves. I would drift in and out of engagement as usual, doodling in the margins of my journal, writing the big ideas down, then I heard it.

When we hear the same word over and over again, especially in our own language, in our own accent, it sometimes loses power, or at the very least, impact. He was saying lovable repeatedly. Only in his Indian accent he was pronouncing it love-able.

This completely reframed things for me. Lovable – Love-uh-bull – sounds to me like I have to add things to me to make myself presentable to another to be loved. I have to primp and preen, be smart, make money, have nice things, not be myself. I have to behave. To be loved.

Love-able makes me feel as if I have to strip away pretense, wash my face, take off my nail polish and open my raw authentic self up in order to love another.

One sounds desperate and seeking, the other scary and exciting.

Maybe I’m the only one who sees it this way, but I don’t think so. It tracks with what we’ve been told: In order to love another you must first love yourself. In order to love yourself, you have to accept yourself AS YOU ARE and that is knowing who you are underneath it all.

Acceptance of self = Self love = Lovable. Able to love.

[Photo: Young orphaned buck that was cared for across the street from the ashram. He now comes over to visit and receive love.]

Look What I Can Do

me on ringsIt appears the treadmill is a good teacher and the second best place for aha moments – the first being “the chamber of insight” or as you may know it, the shower.

Walking has always been a head-clearer for me. If I’m walking in my neighborhood I don’t wear headphones, I like the sounds of birds, children, cars and the wind. When I’m at the gym, I’m definitely plugged in. And the music is loud. It propels me forward, because lets face it, the History channel, reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Fox News just don’t really inspire me to break a sweat.

As my heart rate is rising and The Black Eyed Peas are encouraging me to pump it pump it, my mind is free to wander. Have you ever thought about how amazing that is? How we are able to do one thing, think another, look at something that has nothing to do with the first two and be aware that we are witnessing all of it? Pretty special, we are.

The most recent treadmill insight came as a nice energetic head slap. Don’t you just love it when you think you are a certain way, you are sure of it, you know yourself, then the tiniest thing flips everything upside down? You begin to question everything you believe to be true about yourself. Or at least I do.

I honestly believed that I no longer cared what others thought of me. Right? We all have that inner diva who still wants attention on some level. I noticed that as I was pumping away on the treadmill I couldn’t help but let my eyes wander to the heavy sweater next to me. At what speed was his treadmill set? Was I faster? Did he notice? Look, I’m faster. And I’ve been on here longer.

Out of left field. I wanted him – a random, middle-aged, slightly chubby man – to be impressed by my speed. Ignoring the fact that there were at least 10 people actually running that were way more impressive. I have no idea what this guy even looks like. I don’t know his story. I didn’t care. Did he notice and was he impressed?

Wow.

Of course I let that realization ping all over my frenetic mind coming up with all sorts of conclusions and ridiculous speculation. Who was I now, if not the strong, confident woman who didn’t care what others thought? But the fact remained that, of course I care what people think of me. It’s the human condition. If we don’t care what they think we look like, we want them to think we are smart or funny or have some other unique skill or trait that makes us completely unique.

The way we dress, talk, spend our money and our time all tell others something about us. This does not necessarily make us narcissistic, but human. How we look, what we say and how we say it is how we find each other. It’s how we relate.

The less we get caught up in the story we’re trying to convey to the world, the more likely we are to find those whose energy is a match for our own. Trying hard to convince others we are a certain way covers our authenticity and creates false impressions. The more we relax with who we are, the more peace we have. The more our true selves and authentic uniqueness can shine.

Dropping the masks and facades takes time. Lots of time and lots of practice.

For me, the realization was helpful. In truth, they all are, some are just harder to swallow. It showed me there is much work to be done. Continuing to let go through practices like yoga nidra, yoga and meditation. Continuing to be aware of these realizations and allowing space for them.

And apparently continuing to use the treadmill. At any speed.

Rising Again

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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.]