I don’t know how to do anything halfway. I only have two speeds: On. Off.
It’s either eating lunch from the McDonald’s drive thru on a daily basis…
…or I’m a hardcore vegan.
I’m either living like a sloth, and getting no exercise whatsoever…
..or I’m in the gym three times a week with my trainer, kickboxing and getting arms that are Michelle Obama-buff.
No shades of gray. I’m thick or I’m thin. I’m on or I’m off. I’m writing feverishly or I’m completely blocked.
I started blogging with no real goal in mind. It was a way to keep my mind (and my writing muscles) sharp during a time when work was slow. But it slowly snowballed into something else.
And then, it became a full time job.
I posted a thousand-word plus post every. single. day. I interviewed folks, researched stats, shot flicks, edited video.
Did I mention I can never do anything halfway?
Few weeks back, I started taking my Blackberry to bed with me so I could be sure to check my stats and read any new comments before I drifted off to sleep. Once, I woke up in the middle of the night. And I checked my Blackberry for comments before I went back to sleep.
And suddenly… I hated blogging. It became a chore. And I started to curse the computer as I dragged it across my lap to write a new post.
I hated it when my stats didn’t go through the roof after posting a story I labored over. (Particularly proud of my I hate talking food post. I interviewed the creative director who animated the Pop Tarts commercials! Just for you dear readers! Eh. Y’all weren’t so into it.)
Started taking this real personal. And lost my focus.
This has happened to me a lot in my life. I leap into something headfirst, lose myself in it and then start to drown. I want to break the cycle. And I think I’m on my way. And it starts with folding my body into ungodly poses for 90 minutes a few times a week.
Yoga is the most intense workout I’ve ever experienced. Don’t know if I’m losing weight. And I don’t know if anything is firming is up. (Though God, I hope so).
But I do know that yoga is quieting my mind in a way nothing else ever has.
Last week, my first day sitting cross-legged on the mat, waiting for the instructor to begin, I wanted to giggle. It was so quiet. Then I realized that I wasn’t used to stillness. Quiet. Being alone with my thoughts. Who knew that being quiet could be so scary? Am I the only one? How often do you all sit in quietness and empty your mind? I know that I never do it. Unless I’m not feeling well or I’m asleep. And even then, I usually vegetate with the television on and I always fall asleep with the television on.
Stillness and quiet are new to me.
I won’t bore you with talk of all the various yoga poses. But they kicked. my. ass.
The most common pause was something called Downward Facing Dog. Looks like this:
Try it, dear readers. I’d like to know how long you can hold this pose. I can do it for about twenty seconds. And then I’m collapsing to the floor on my belly in a heap. The teacher was kind enough to ignore that I was the only one in class who couldn’t hold the pose very long.
Right now, as I type this, muscles I didn’t know I had are burning in pain.
But holding the poses quieted my mind. Stopped the racing work-work-work thoughts in my head.
And it’s changed my focus on blogging too…
I’m still here. And I love what we have. I’m going to keep lacing you with my writing pointers and my random thoughts on life and work. There’s a new edict up in here though. I post when I want to. When I need to. Not because I have to. And I’m forbidding myself from constant stat-checking. I’ll always read and appreciate all the love from our commenters. (And much love to my lurkers who don’t comment but never miss a post and tell me so in person or in direct emails)
But I won’t be a slave to a line graph.
Taking things slow is not the same as not doing anything at all. I’m 35 and just figuring this out. Go figure.
I noticed something interesting in yoga. All the poses that involve moving forward are very difficult for me. I can’t do this:
But all the poses that involved a strong back are easy for me. I can do this:
My yoga instructor looked at me when I was having trouble doing a forward pose and said, “Most strong-back folks are not so good with forward poses. We’ll get you there.”
I feel like I am always moving forward at the speed of light. Both in my thoughts and in actions. Yoga is the one place where I have a hard time moving forward. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something.
Whatever it is, I’m listening.
Dear readers, I have several questions for you. Have you tried yoga? Do you like it? Do you ever sit still and quiet and try to empty your mind? What do you do to relieve anxiety? And can I hear from my fellow Type-A personalities who can’t stop going-going-going… How do you slow it d-o-w-n. And how long can you stay in Downward Facing Dog?!?!
I’d love to hear from you…