The show must go on

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The show must go on


[Image credit: digitalart]

Speaking of setbacks (see “keep on keeping on”), my next brick wall included three auras—those squiggly lights and shapes that 20 percent of migraine sufferers experience—in one day. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been plagued with nine of these buggers. And then, the post-aura headaches zap my energy, taking my productivity hostage and dumping me on the sofa like a sack of potatoes. I did contact my specialist and plan to get in to his office for a consultation. In the meantime, I push through the work days, albeit slower than normal. And I show up to yoga practice, sometimes unable to complete a posture because of the stabbing pain in my head. For me, returning to the hot room—whether it’s following a few days’ absence or difficult day or even on a decent day—is like pushing a reset button on my attitude so I can continue to be a contributing member of the show.

How do *you* keep on keeping on?

Slow, lasting change

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Slow_lasting change

[Image credit: patrisyu]

There are many types of change we cannot control in our lives; e.g., we lose a loved one or get laid off from our jobs. These are sometimes sudden and unexpected changes. But the kind of change that is slow and lasting, in my opinion, is the kind that oftentimes requires baby steps before coming to fruition—like when we make changes to our eating habits, in relationships or careers—change that requires planning and deliberation if we desire a lifelong makeover. The other day in yoga, the instructor shared how Bikram yoga is more than fitness; it’s also about mental, emotional and spiritual transformation. This is the kind of change that takes place when we practice at life daily, even when we have a “bad” practice—a setback of any kind. As long as we continue to put one foot in front of the other, change is bound to happen. The kind of change that lasts.

What type of slow change has been lasting in your life?

The right thing

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The right thing

This can be a tough concept in whatever capacity we find ourselves—parent, wife, boyfriend, employee, neighbor—the person whose reflection we meet in the mirror every morning. I don’t know that the execution is the hardest part, but rather coming to the realization and acceptance that both are one in the same. I’ve recently learned that I lean toward passive-aggressive behavior. Although a surprise to me, I can see it originating in my childhood. I am a people pleaser and I never want to disappoint, but somewhere along the line I started to believe I don’t deserve to have my wants or needs met. So I have historically adopted a “martyr-like” mentality and stuffed my real feelings. Obviously, this is counterproductive and little gets resolved except more feelings of inadequacy, bitterness and self-doubt on my part. However, little by little I’m beginning to speak up for myself and do the right thing.

What is one thing in your life that’s been both the hardest and the right thing?

Take the 30-day challenge

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30-day challenge

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

I feel inspired. How can I not when it’s just days into a brand new year of possibilities? The studio where I practice Bikram yoga began a new challenge on Jan. 2. Our team leader has been passing along quotes and videos to encourage and inspire. One three-minute video* talks about trying something new for 30 days. The speaker suggests making small, sustainable changes in order to succeed. Last year, I had planned to write a book in 30 days but went about it all wrong and it didn’t happen. But if I apply small, sustainable changes in 2014, I only need to write 1,667 words daily for 30 days. What have you always meant to do or wanted to do but haven’t? Give up sweets or caffeine? Practice yoga? Ride your bike to work? Whatever it is, remember that the next 30 days will pass whether we like it or not. So I’m going to write a book.

What are you going to do for 30 days?


The littlest of blessings

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At the beginning of 2013, I pulled out a jar from the cupboard and placed it in plain view. The plan was for my family to jot down things we’re grateful for throughout the year and add these slips of paper to the jar. On New Year’s Eve, we’re supposed to read the notes and reflect on all of the blessings we received. Not unlike a clean slate on Jan. 1, an empty jar leaves so much room for possibilities. Glancing at the jar as I write this, I’m disappointed to see only a few pieces of paper scattered across the bottom. Although I know I’ve forgotten to write down some of the “good” things over the past 11 months, overall it’s been a challenging year. Consequently, the few slips of paper we’ll review at the end of December are that much more precious. And it makes me determined to recognize even the littlest of blessings I receive in 2014.

Has it been a “good” year for you?

A commitment to start

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A commitment to start

[Image credit: Idea go]

With a little more than a month remaining until 2014, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. Professionally speaking, I had one goal: to write a book. The most concise writing advice I’ve ever read is: start small, join a writing class and/or writer’s group and try to write every day. So I am, I did and I do. But life is a roller coaster and, for the writer, writing is an extension of that life. Which means the best laid plans are oftentimes crammed with detours. For example, mid-year my family ran into a snag. My daughter and I became estranged and didn’t speak for a month. We were stuck, like the proverbial writer’s block. However, applying that same (writing) advice to our situation, I started out small. I relied on friends and family for support. And now she and I try to communicate daily. Although we cannot avoid life’s roadblocks, we can make a commitment to start wherever we are.

What are you committed to start?

Someday is Today

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Someday chart

I talk about Someday. A lot. It’s the place I fantasize about, strive for, count on, pin my future hopes to and hang out in my imagination. One night my daughter texted me the above image with the words, “Saw this and thought of you.” Except for running a marathon Someday, everything else has been me at least once. Cue in the words of Dr. Seuss: “Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” He doesn’t say, Someday is your day. I may not be living the full reality of my dreams. Yet. But Today is the day to start making things happen. Because Today is the only thing I have to work with. And if I don’t put some sweat equity into it now, when Someday arrives, I may be left behind. Wait, I never … Do you want to plan for retirement? Change your career? Return to school? Fill in the blank? Today is your day.

What are you waiting for?

Maybe it’s about the story

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more about the story
We’re told that in life, it’s about the journey, not the destination. The same is true when it comes to yoga: it’s not about the final expression—it’s all about the process. I remember attending college and preparing hours for an exam that was cumulative of an entire semester. But, ultimately, it was about showing up and applying myself every day. So even though living happily-ever-after may be the ideal, perhaps it’s more about the mechanics and plot twists, character-development, triumphs, conflicts and self-realization along the way. Because if we skip right to the ending, we’ll miss out on all the middle stuff—that which builds us if we don’t let it break us first. And the truth is, although we can write in a happy ending to our life’s story, it’s not guaranteed.  However, if we live one page at a time, one chapter at a time, we’ll be better prepared for Someday when it arrives.

Do you focus more on the story, or on the ending?

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Releasing the want

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Releasing the want

[Image credit: David Castillo Dominici]

I was talking to a friend the other day about something I wanted with my whole heart. My friend questioned if wanting that something had done anything for me. Admittedly, I wasn’t getting what I wanted, which made me frustrated. Or rather, I allowed the lack of obtaining what I wanted to keep me from true satisfaction. Plus, I should be happy with what I already have … right? So my friend suggested I release the want by letting it go and living without it. I could always go back to it later in time. But, for the moment, I should live unencumbered by want. Because wanting did not produce manifestation except for more want. And emotional suffering. Instead of wanting peace or more money or a better [fill in the blank], perhaps ultimate happiness is discovered by working toward bettering ourselves and accepting the fruits of our labor. Maybe then we’ll want what we have.

Do you want what you don’t have, or have what you want?

Midlife what?!


Midlife what

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

While chatting with another writer the other day, I mentioned my ever-present feeling of restlessness and suggested I was having a midlife crisis. She prefaced her response with the words, “I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but …” After talking to several people, she concluded that, as writers, we constantly strive for more—for change, for adventure. Because we spend a large quantity of our time observing the world around us, this causes us to feel as if we’re missing out on something bigger than our little lives. And it becomes challenging to go about our daily routines because our inherent longing prevents us from truly living in the present—unable to release the past in our personal lives and constantly focused on our future dreams … our Someday. Well that’s encouraging. Not. But at least it’s not a midlife crisis. Just something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life.

Do you feel restless, like you’re missing out on something?

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