So – if you haven’t checked out yesterday’s post, this might be a good time.
This is the season for giving. This is a season in which we typically think less about ourselves, and use our time to think of others and give to others. But we can also use this time to deepen our relationships with ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually. And we will have more to offer others, in so many ways, if we will enrich our own experiences through working steadily toward some goal.
By now you have picked one thing to work on so you can finish strong for the year regarding a goal you have for yourself. Maybe you have picked a new goal, maybe a goal you set for yourself earlier in the year. You may be working towards passing a test to get into school, learning a language, getting in better shape, or learning about the stock market. It doesn’t matter. All the suggestions here would be good options. You can do it.
You have your goal. You have written it down. You have told at least one person, and have asked them to cheer you on.
You want to schedule, in your date book, specific time each day to work toward your goal. Regular, steady effort is recommended more than single long sessions once a week. You will learn most things more deeply in 20 minutes a day each day, than in 4 hour sessions for 4 Saturdays. This is true even for learning to draw. If you have chosen something that requires hours and hours each day – be sure you actually have that time. I mean, this may not be the right season for that type of exploration, so be honest with yourself about what is realistic for you and your schedule.
So far, we don’t have momentum built up, so these first few days we must create some heat (tapas – http://coldwaterhaven.com/2011/09/07/building-a-fire-within/) and some real momentum around our activity. My suggestion – stop right now and do something toward your goal. If you are cooking for the month, get a quick recipe or make the grocery list for tonight. If you are attempting to lose weight or doing something else you can’t do right this minute… take a second to set a firm resolve. But just about what you are doing today. Schedule, act. let go.
Today I can do one thing, and that is all I need to do.
Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. Don’t think about the rest of the month.
As usual, once we make a firm commitment to do something, there will be some challenge. A co-worker shows up with fudge; you catch cold when the goal is about exercising; we realize we have set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Today is the “safe to change it” day…It is the only ne you will get. If you really did set unrealistic goals, you should reconsider, and choose something more realistic along the same lines. If you just don’t want to do the work today – too bad. I know you can do one simple thing today. Schedule something, make a choice to use today for your benefit. Eat to get something helpful to your body. Take a moment to acknowledge that you do want to care for yourself and this is the way we are doing that today.
I, personally, set the goal for 108 Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations). Today is not the day I will do that. Today I am just going to do as many as feel comfortable with. In fact, I will stop here and do them.
I did eleven (11). I could do more, but this was where it felt like my heart rate was really up and I wanted to stop. I am getting over a cold right now. So, I am interested in caring for my body more than meeting some goal. However, working each day, without pushing too hard will get me somewhere without my working so hard that I burn out and give up before the end of the month. I don’t want to burn out. I want to have some joy with what I am doing.
A recent blog post of mine was about letting go (http://coldwaterhaven.com/2011/11/10/let-go-of-results/). Once we have started on a path toward any goal, we can let go of the results and just stay with the work. Trust the process. There is nothing like actually doing yoga asana (poses) to work on this. You cannot simply just push through all those sun salutations. The mind opens up when you do repeated motion, so you will become really bored or really distracted by thoughts. Your mind will do this unless you have an intention to remain aware of the body and use the process to help the mind be more stable. Staying mentally aware of each movement in the process takes real effort and provides real rewards. I am not just working on “getting” something. I am not only trying to make some goal of 108 sun salutations. I am attempting to open myself up to what the mind can do with that time, with that process, and with that activity. What is it like to do 108 sun salutations as a regular daily practice? What is it like mentally, physically, spiritually?
Whatever you have chosen to work on this month can provide you with an opportunity to just go through the motions, or you can use the motions to become more awake, more aware. You can use any activity to wake up your inner resolve and intention, and hone in on some real inner strength. This process has rewards beyond what you think they are. You don’t merely get a new look, or a new picture of yourself. You get some real gifts that may even matter more. Don’t you wonder what they will be?