Monday, January 20, 2014

40 Days to Personal Revolution: When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Now that I am 13 days in to my 40-day program, I can see why we are working on Laws 3&4 in week two... because things are getting a little bit uncomfortable and this thing definitely takes commitment!

As I've gone through the week, I've tried to keep in mind this paragraph from Law 4: Commit to Growth
Are you experiencing cravings? instead of reaching out, just stay with them. Is anxiety rising? Stay. Are fear and anger out of control? Stay. Are your muscles quaking, are you running out of steam? Stay anyway. Are your hips screaming in pigeon pose? okay, but stay. We are the only ones who know and hear our internal dialogues, and we are the only ones who can make the choice to stay and unfold. Almost always, there is a breakthrough waiting for you right over the horizon.
So how am I doing?  Well, the program essentially has four components:
  1. Journaling (through weekly "excavation questions")
  2. Twice daily meditation practice
  3. Daily yoga
  4. Diet changes
I've got the journaling thing down, but that only needs to be done once per week (or maybe a couple times, if you don't do it all in one sitting).  Here is a look at how I'm faring with the rest of it (which require attention every single day!):

Yoga:  So far I am doing great with my yoga attendance. I did 8 yoga classes in the first week (taking one day completely off and doubling up twice).  BUT just a day or two into the second week I was feeling absolutely exhausted.  I decided not to double up at all this week and again completely took Sunday off.  My wrists were hurting earlier in the week (probably because I wasn't using proper form all of the time, but also because I spent a lot of time working on my hand stands) and in general I was feeling pretty exhausted.  I took yesterday off and am feeling much better today, so I'm ready to get back to class tonight, but I must admit that I was surprised that even for myself (someone who already was working out 5-7 days/week often times with much more vigorous activity than yoga), daily yoga is definitely a challenge!

Meditation:  Woof... this is also a challenge.  Working from home certainly helps, I'm rarely running late in the morning, so my first daily session is not much of a struggle for me.  I basically get out of bed, use the washroom, and immediately do my meditation.  The evening.. that is another story.  I'm tired, maybe cranky, I'd rather hang out with Nick, or maybe I just want to watch a new episode of Grey's Anatomy.... there could be 1,000 excuses not to meditate on any given night, but that is really all they are: excuses.  So far Wed / Thurs / Friday I did get in two sessions of meditation, Saturday I did just one, Sunday I didn't do any!!! (GASP!) and today I'm back on track...  so we'll see how it all goes, but this one is a bit of a chore for me.

As far as the duration, last week we did 5 minute sessions and that was absolutely a piece of cake. This week is 10 minutes and I'm meeting it with mixed feelings.  I spend a good chunk of time acknowledging that my mind has wandered and bringing it back to the present moment... and then finding that my mind has wandered again, and bringing it back... and again and again. It is certainly a practice and I am definitely a novice...  but it is a work in progress.

Diet:  This week the goals for the diet are to incorporate more whole foods into your diet. The goal is for what you eat to look as close as possible to what it looked like when it came from it's source: whole fruits and veggies, whole grains, unprocessed lean cuts of meat....  The first day I was a little overwhelmed thinking about all the places I could / should change what I eat, but thankfully Katy talked me down on Wednesday night and suggested to the group that we simply commit to making one or two substitutions in our diet for the week, like substituting cheese for a piece of whole fruit.

Her advice reminded me of what it said in the book: to listen to your body and slowly make small sustainable changes - change begets change and I need to be careful not to over do it and then sabotage the whole thing for myself... so this week I focused just on two things: reducing the amount of processed cereal grains I eat (mainly bread but also cereal which I like to eat on the weekends), and reducing the amount of processed dairy (yogurt and cheese) that I eat. There is definitely room for improvement in my diet, but I must admit that I have eaten a TON more fruits and veggies this week than last week, so I think so far this is a success.... (except for yesterday when I ate pizza for lunch and chicken wings and a sampler of fried appetizers for dinner!)

All in all things are going well, it has been a challenge, but one that I think is really good and productive for me. I absolutely love my yoga studio and I love to go there every day and see all the other transformers in the studio, so that definitely helps me to stay on track.  Now that I'm into this, I also see why it is important to go to the little meetings we have on Wednesday evenings, because this is a lot of work and the camaraderie that comes with doing it in a group is definitely a motivator.
Starting Friday I will be on the road (first on a birthday ski trip and then to Boston for work) for almost an entire week, so things are about to get tricky, but so far I'm pretty happy with how well I've stuck to the program and I'm ready to head to my next yoga class.. which starts in 25 minutes!  

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