The Month | July + August 2017
Why hullo there. And welcome to this new month of 2017 - one official week into the month of August. (Well, now just about three weeks in, but here ya go)
I don't know about you - but this month (to me) is one cozy month. I always seem to relate it to 'going back to class', finding a way to start anew, to take a fresh look around, and really notice things. Notice how I interact with my surroundings, and what my surroundings are saying back to me in return. An invitation to silence myself, or mostly, my monkey mind, and allow the stillness, quiet, and calm to ease itself back into my life. A sense of coming home - though I never really left. I am just allowing myself to see with new eyes. In an old place, an old space, but new all the same to me.
These thoughts kind of sum up my 'free weekend' if you will. This past weekend - I had the wonderful pleasure of not having my studies looming over my head (seeing as we took an exam on Friday). It was The Free Weekend. And boy - did I take advantage of that.
I had my share of sleeping, cooking, reading. Mostly this all just sums up to relaxing. Something I always say I am going to work on - so here I am, actually embracing it.
On Sunday morning - something quite unique occurred. At least, for me. I woke up with the firmest intention of accomplishing A LOT before 10AM. Why 10AM you ask? Well, because I was meeting a friend for brunch - and just wanted to feel accomplished. That's it. I didn't actually want to cut on my sleep and do those chores, I just loved the idea of being accomplished of something before 10AM. And as my cat Demetri was hanging out on my blanket and pillow covered bed - I completely changed my mind. I wanted to just slowly wake up, turn on some savasana music (you can find my ' S A V A S A N A' playlist on my Spotify!) which is the best music for me to wake up too, burn some sage + an Anthro candle, and meditate. And guess what - I just listened to my intuition, and did just that. I mean how couldn't I - it was my 'free weekend' after all!
But I tend to err on the side of the opposite of that. During my meditation - which I doubled it to 20 minutes - I noticed the always present distractions - something that has been more of a theme in my meditations the past couple of weeks - and how I respond to them. I also noticed what was mentioned in the beginning - this idea of 'new eyes' in an old space. Through journaling - the idea of repetition came up - and how it can feel like a repeat but also can take on a whole new experience. And I measured the juxtaposition of that present in my life. And what was my response to that? How can I - at one point - be going through the motions that I have already been present and aware of, and yet, have a completely different experience, let alone mindset about it? And despite it being a situation that is less desirable, I am learning to embrace it. I had my moments of literally throwing a fit when something doesn't go the planned way - so I have been there, and done that. But now, I am realizing, and most importantly, embracing the idea of this is when the real work begins. Not that it wasn't real before. But there is something here, something that I missed the first time around, and an opportunity that I am extremely privileged to have to experience again. And with a wealth of knowledge I learned previously. Which may be the reason why this repetitive experience is also one of a kind. The place where I am coming from is different. And the place where I am going is different too.
Immediately upon reading my day's passage in Meditations from the Mat, there was another realization - how this concept can apply on the yoga mat. And it does in so many ways. One of the most important being the idea of repetition. I have to admit, my favorite classes are those that I KNOW the sequence to. Whether I am taking the class as a student, or leading a group through the asanas as a community, I know what is going to come next, and which cue will line perfectly with the music. The reason I love the familiar is because it offers a unique way to measure progress, pace, and presence in the moment, without having to mule over it. It offers a glimpse into past, present, and future, something that is tough to mentally wrap our minds around in other circumstances. And it also offers a place where we can decide to change the course of the future. In class, when I am teaching, and I notice my class is not responding how I intend in a posture, I adjust the sequence right then and there to serve where my students are, to get them where I want them to grow.
This is in no way to deter from newness of life or a yoga class, as there is much to be learned with first experiences and sequences, but what I am focusing on here is this repetitive idea. An idea I am greatly intrigued by.
And with it being a new month (we are only one week in people) (now three, life moves so fast people!) I have made the intentional plan to set monthly intentions once again. I think the last year I seriously committed to my intentions was 2 0 1 5 - and that was seriously a magical year. Another blog post for another day. But what I loved about my intentional act yearly, as well as monthly, was seeing if my goals were being met, let alone knowing what my goals even were, and finding small ways to work on them month by month. This provided a way to be excited about something, but also working towards something. As of late, I feel that I could use these intentions to propel my progress forward, and find a way in which to measure it as past, present, and future, as repetition can provide in the moment.
With that - here are my intentions for August 2017. What a swell + full month it will be :::
1 | Meditate for 10 minutes a day // This is more lax in that if I don't have time for those 10 minutes - I will make it 5 minutes. I also find it helpful to meditate in the morning, right before I leave for class, because I am more awake after getting ready for the day, and also, this is a wonderful grounding exercise to start my day from. Lastly, I also find it helpful to maintain a mantra, or an intention during my practice. I have been using the mantra 'So Hum' during my meditation, and then reading a daily passage from Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates to carry my practice with me during the rest of my day.
2 | Journaling 1-3X a week // This ties into the meditation practice. In my yoga teacher training, we would always begin our afternoons after lunch with a 20 minute meditation, followed with a session for journaling. We would then meet in groups and discuss our intentions, and how we would weave our thoughts into the theme of a yoga class. So as a yoga instructor, I find it extremely helpful to be committed to a journaling practice. As a normal human being, I also see the major benefits, as it allows me to step back from situations that are bothering me or cause me to be 'too in my head' and helps me see other perspectives of the situation. Or just learn a little bit about myself. All of which these things are good.
3 | Exercise // Surprise, surprise. I have really been slacking in this department, with a new shift in schedule and priorities. Instead of making this a part of my day that makes me more stress, I am utilizing it as a forced break into my afternoon of studying. Today, I am starting the BBG program, mostly because it is convenient, and will fit into the time blocking of my scheduling.
4 | Minimize the refined sugar // I have a mega sweet tooth. I love chocolate and all things dessert. And if I am in a stressful environment i.e. school - I am just going to crave this stuff more. What I have been intentional about it just how much of it I am consuming. So, I have cut my shopping habits of candy and multiple chocolates, and just buy a large bag of those chocolate acai balls and try (key word - TRY) to have the bag last two weeks. We'll see how this goes.
5 | Say no to the margarita // So there's this intention I have already set in mid-July, that let me tell you - is going strong. It follows with this idea of 'cleaner' consumption. I just really wanted to start the new school year clear minded - and that meant (to me at least) of cutting coffee and alcohol. It just seemed right, and it seemed to be a good time. I would be busy enough to not necessarily have time to go out every weekend, and I am definitely on a form of a budget. So when I am out and about with friends, it’s a glass of iced clear water for me.
6 | Minimizing // This can go a lot of different ways, but this month, I am choosing for less distractions + less obsessing. Specifically over how my day is going to play out. i.e. my schedule, which I somehow love to spend just a bit too much time planning, and not enough doing.
7 | The act of NO // More like, the act of knowing where to limit yourself. There have been times when I saw the idea of limits as a bad thing. Like, why should I limit myself, when I can have it all? Over time, I realized this concept came from an idea and a place where I thought I was lacking, and therefore, needed to make it up with obtaining and doing, and being. Now, I realize these thought patterns, and am learning to be more in tune with myself and what my thoughts are actually telling me. And times, specifically, in this period of time, I notice how I need to carve out more quiet time for myself, to just reset, and listen, so that when I respond, to life, others, and myself, I respond from a place full of abundance and love, and those 'limitations' I place on myself aren't so limiting after all.
S E V E N.
That seems like a good number for a good number of things to work on and be more mindful about.
I guess if I would add an eighth - it would be to be more mindful of the month, and post my posts when I say I will. I can see this tying into the seventh intention… more to come as I work on it :)
Anyways, happy weekend. I hope this post may bring more intentional movements and thoughts into your day.