One day at a time

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Only 30 days

[Image credit: renjith krishnan]

Tomorrow is my final day of the 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge.  It’s also the end of my resolve to avoid sweets, alcohol, caffeine and anything non-vegan.  People have told me I’ll feel amazing afterward, and it’s true.  They’ve also asked if I’m going for 60 — and what I plan to do once the challenge is complete.  I’d like to keep going.  I’ve toned and trimmed some trouble spots.  I’ve improved my strength, balance and determination.  My IBS symptoms are better than ever.  My skin is cooperating.  And I learned I can do anything for 30 days.   However, I may swap out a day or two of Yoga for the gym a couple of times a week.  Maybe add a cup of coffee back into my diet.  For me, it’s become more about living one day at a time, while accepting where my body and mind is on any given day, rather than making more commitments.  So I’ll decide on Monday.

What have you done for only 30 days?

Don’t be afraid of the white space

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Don't be afraid of the white space

[Image credit: anankkml]

In my post New Beginnings, I talk about not wasting the white space on the blank page of each new day.  This past week, however, I was reminded during the editing process at work not to be afraid of the white space.  What does this mean, exactly?  In publishing, it suggests that stuffing as much as we can onto a page is visually overwhelming to the reader.  Similarly, stuffing too much into each day is also physically and mentally overwhelming to the doer.  So how do we balance it out?  By making every word (action) count.  This way, the white space (free time) complements the overall publication/day’s design.  I talk about this often — taking periodic time-outs to rejuvenate.  But I just as easily forget and then find the demands on my time at a record high.  Consequently, it helps to pick a few priorities and work in the rest as time (and white space) allows.

Do you handle the white space by trying to fill it all in?

Losing our footing

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[Image credit: Sujin Jetkasettakorn]

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.  
To not dare is to lose oneself. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Some dares you could lose your footing permanently, like if you jumped from a dangerous height.  But I think Kierkegaard is talking about the risks we take when we step out of our comfort zones.  At first, we may feel like we’re falling, out of sorts or kind of fuzzy around the edges.  But then our vision typically clears and we see that we’re unscathed and, perhaps, better off than before we leapt.  And as I’ve blogged about countless times, if we don’t take the risk — or dare — then we deny a piece of ourselves.  It’s like saying our dreams don’t matter … our goals aren’t worth pursuing.  I read a book once where that happened to the protagonist.  When all was said and done, he ended up with regrets over chances not taken.  I’d rather lose my balance.

Are you willing to lose your footing for a good cause?

Mind over matter

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[Image credit: jscreationzs]

During Monday’s Hot Yoga session, our instructor made a comment similar to one I’ve heard before: that we are shaped by our thoughts.  For example, if we perform a “bad” pose, we are to remove the thought from our minds as it may lead to a repeat during the second set.  I applied her advice and, consequently, it was as if everything bad that happened to me the previous week — hurtful or careless words spoken or received, disappointments or setbacks — was purged with each exhalation, droplet of sweat, contraction of muscles.  My focus and balance were more aligned as I went deeper into each pose and pushed harder.  This concept of mind over matter is true outside of the studio, as well, where oftentimes one failed job or relationship or something as simple as a dud recipe requires a new attitude to avoid making the same mistake twice.  But it’s ultimately up to us to make that choice.

Do you choose to replace the negative with positive instead?

Disappointment: opportunity or drawback

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Setbacks are badges of honor for those who try
to achieve something worthwhile. ~ SGI President Daisaku Ikeda

At one time in our lives, we may find ourselves in a position when we’re 100%-without-a-doubt certain of a particular outcome, only to have our hopes dashed when we discover we’re wrong.  Once we finally wade through the disillusionment, it’s possible we will question the error of our ways.  Going forward, we might second-guess every decision while looking for loopholes.  Some say it helps us, however, when we’re faced with similar situations in the future because we’ve been down that road before.  But in a way, I think we could feel a bit jaded or untrusting (see Regaining your balance).  Although I believe it’s possible to pick up the pieces and look at the world with fresh eyes, again, it may take more than an honest assessment of what makes us tick.  Perhaps it will require a change of scenery to start over.

Do you consider disappointments opportunities or drawbacks?

A stitch in time saves nine

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[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono]

I don’t like cleaning  (big surprise).  Dusting is my least favorite of the tasks; scrubbing down the master bathroom is starting to rank up there, as well as dust vacuuming and washing the floors.  One thing that helps me get through these chores faster, however, is the cursory cleaning I perform each day: wiping down the toilet, towel drying the tiles after each shower, dust mopping, etc.  And then when it comes time to do the more time-consuming stuff, it goes quicker because I’ve kept up throughout the week.  I could do better — the clutter gets a bit high on my counter in the kitchen.  But overall, life is easier when I exert a little preventive-maintenance elbow grease into my days.  As with so many things, perfunctory “checks” — consistent communication with loved ones, regular vehicle servicing, daily exercise and wise food choices — keep the bigger things in balance and running smoothly (or at least help minimize the breakdowns).  In other words, a little extra time at the beginning saves more time in the end.

What is your favorite “stitch in time?”

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