Wednesday, February 22, 2017

40 Days to Personal Revolution Week Two thoughts

I missed my 40Days meeting yesterday because I had FOUR MILLION things to do. I've been thinking a lot about the 40 Days program, and I've realized that my main goal is to not actually do the program. My goal is to: go easier on myself.

I don't think I need the accountability that the program provides for most participants. I'm pretty good at creating unattainable goals for myself, and I don't need a book to lay those out for me. But what I'm not so good at is forgiving myself when I fail. Or rather, when I don't attain all my goals. Even calling it a "fail" is too harsh. I'm committed to relaxing and giving in -- to grabbing a nap if it's a possibility; to ordering takeout; to not blogging daily; to letting my child watch a TV show and not feeling like a terrible parent for giving him screen time.

Week Two involved getting out of your comfort zone. What did I do as a challenge? I said something aloud at the group meeting. I also invited someone I don't know well at all to go to the swimming pool with me one afternoon. I feel like I talked to much about absurd things, like female pirates of yore and the mechanical difficulties of semi-permanent structures. But I am large, I contain multitudes. And I forgive myself my eccentricities.

Hugs and tears with an old friend on a school night.
I'm practicing going out in public.

Last night I went to an open mic and sang and played accordion with the disgustingly talented Shannon Lawson. His voice continually blows my mind, and it was most fun to harmonize with him. I forgot how harmony makes me smile all over and how good it is for my soul.

I went to sleep at 1am and woke for the day at 5:30am (babies), having been wakened multiple times in the night. Somehow I managed a babysitter and a  9am yoga class. I was exhausted, and I forgave myself my inability to hold poses. I was easy on myself. It felt good. I felt energized after.

I suppose forgiveness is creating more opportunities for vitality. Maybe this program is what I needed after all.

Also: March 4, Monkey Wrench. Come hear me play with some friends! 8pm start.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Foray into 40 Days to Personal Revolution: Week One

Pretty much every day since I started going to yoga, the teachers have been gently pushing a "40 Days to Personal Revolution" program. It's based on a book by Baron Baptiste, who developed the type of Power Yoga I've apparently been practicing. The 40 day program is a combination of "yoga, nutrition, meditation and inquiry work," as I heard teachers explain after every class.

It started this week, and I waited until the very last minute to sign up because I really, really can't stand small-group-work. The idea of sitting around in a circle, saying my name and something that I'm feeling ... it nauseates me. Friendly teachers suggested the program may be exactly what I need to conquer that fear. I would smile back nervously at them and scurry out of the studio before I got roped in.

Part of my reluctance to sign up -- aside from the group therapy-type situation that sets off my anxiety -- was that I know I'm going to fail. Why sign up for something that I can't possibly do?

I know, I know, never say "can't" and all that. But, honestly, as the program builds up to 60 minutes of meditation and 90 minutes of yoga a day, well, WHO HAS TIME FOR TWO AND A HALF HOURS OF SELF-CARE A DAY?

Then I look at the lovely and care-free 22-year-olds practicing yoga beside me, and I think they have time. Why didn't I practice hours of self-care when I was their age? Sigh.

Somehow I decided to sign up for the program anyway, knowing full well that I will not be able to get up at 5am to meditate because I'm already up at 5 am changing diapers and breastfeeding. Knowing that if I actually block out 2 hours a day to go to yoga (as I did in January), my business will start to fail (as it has as a result -- I mean, WHERE IS MY ALBUM???).

I went to my first group meeting on Tuesday, but I won't tell you anything about it because I committed confidentiality to the group. That also means they can't talk about any crazy stuff I talk about in the group. But don't worry because I already told all of them that small groups make me nervous, so I will probably be quiet most of the time. Also, I am very good about oversharing here, so perhaps I'll just make my blog my therapy.

Here's why I think I signed up:

Therapy: Actual therapy costs a lot of money, and I've always been pretty good at sorting out my own crap -- provided I held myself accountable. This is a significantly less expensive accountability program. When I journal on my own and exercise regularly, I tend to feel better about things. Depression has made doing all of that unattainable. Maybe blogging about it will help.

Distraction: My mom is sick. We may be under nuclear attack at any moment. My family may be forced to hide in someone's attack because the government is now run by Nazis. Can you tell my anxiety runs high? I want to be on the streets protesting, but my anxiety won't let me focus. Maybe I can get a handle on my time management enough to figure out how to do my parents' laundry and join the revolution.

Control: I have control over nothing. I know that. I hate that. Perhaps I'll have control over the next 40 days. (Am I missing the point already? Is the point to let go?)

Presence: This is the theme of Week One. If anything, I need follow-through on my own self-imposed rules. I need to ignore my phone and not feel guilty about not responding right away. I have a no-phones-at-the-dinner-table rule that I only acknowledge when my husband is breaking it. Time to follow through. Being self-employed means always being working. That means I have a flexible schedule and can spend time with my kids during the day. It also means that my work emails, phone calls and texts are always happening. I would like to separate one from the other, so I can be present for both.

I'm finding the 40 Days book a little too Jesus-y for my tastes, but I think it's possible to benefit from the introspective bits without bothering with the religious aspect. Open mind, open heart, right? Does it work in reverse?

On that note, I'm skipping yoga today because I have WORK TO DO. The blog counts.

Part of that work: I'm playing a show on Saturday, February 11. Peter Searcy is joining me. He doesn't spend much time in Louisville these days, so this is a rare chance to catch him playing rare acoustic music. I hope he brings his cello to play on some of my songs. We are playing 9-11, but you can get to the lounge early. Reserve a table to make it easier. There is no cover charge.
Butchertown Grocery's upstairs lounge, now called Lola.

Also, here is a cute photo of my sleeping baby.