They say that it takes 40 days to make a habit. (Who are ‘they’ anyhow? And how do they know??) Anyway, always eager to believe, I decided to take 40 days to work on myself, figure things out and get grounded, so to speak.
About two weeks in, while on a walk, my friend Jen asked me what the hardest part had been so far. My reply was … “none of it.” It all felt so necessary that none of felt hard, I wasn’t wishing for it to speed by, had no interest in just checking the days off on the calendar. I felt as if I was losing myself so deeply in all the needs of everyone around me that I had completely lost sight of what was important to me. As if I had been spreading myself so thin, personally and professionally, that I wasn’t really showing up and being fully present in much of what I spent my days doing.
Do Hard Things
In my last post I wrote about all I needed to do to make a change. I have talked many times over the last several weeks to my classes about how if you want things to be different, you must do different things. This theory resonated with me so hard and inspired the list, knowing that I needed drastic changes if I was going to find myself feeling better on the other side. So, I didn’t drink, not once. I ate mostly clean, because it felt good, and I mindfully made choices to splurge on some sugar or some 'not so good for you' carbs and enjoyed it without feeling like I somehow failed myself. I took walks with so many friends, in my “‘hood” and theirs, as well as quite a few on local the greenways. I went out to restaurants only a few times to a restaurant I spent New Year’s Eve with one of my children and three close friends; we met at the theatre and watched Little Women, and then parted ways. I was in bed, completely sober and feeling the beginnings of a peaceful heart just a few moments after midnight.
It didn’t stop there though, – these were the bigger things:, saying no to birthday invitations, (for people I really, really love) and parties and all of the social things. When I turned on the TV, I would choose carefully, watch one show, or the occasional movie and then I would turn it off. I read A LOT, I listened to classical music, I journaled, I meditated (though admittedly not as much as I had hoped) and I did a lot of yoga.
On my mat, my aim was to be more mindful on my mat again. Just like anything else in life, you can show up to your mat and either be present or not as you move through your shapes. I worked on choosing my classes carefully, I went to other studios, did some ashtanga again, and fell back in love with myself on my mat.
One of the most awesome things that came from that last post was the amount of love and connection I felt from everyone. Whether what I wrote resonated to you on one or many levels, didn’t matter. People took the time to call, text and write me. People as close to me as my sweet mama or my Auntie, a boy who I considered one of my very best friends in HS, students, & friends from far and near. Even just last week a student came up to me and said ‘you are not alone’ with a big squeeze of a hug. We all need more of this, we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we need to be honest about what we are going through and we must have faith in those around us that they will lift us up if we let them.
I hit 40 days last Tuesday and I have only had a little wine one time. I just haven’t missed the alcohol, which seems so odd to me because it was such a part of my social life. I don’t have any plans to not drink going forward, but I think I am just feeling so good and so clear minded that I don’t miss it. I love making hot tea and drinking kombucha and being present. I think at some point the sadness/down feelings were replaced with pride.
The results are remarkable. I sleep hard and wake up early, sometimes before my alarm. I enjoy just sitting by myself and pressing pause on the day. I have made such progress at work with knowing what I want and why I do what I do, and my whole outlook has changed so much that I it has affected my productivity in such powerful ways. I have never loved teaching more, and I feel pretty amazing in my skin.
Inspire yourself. Connect with others. Share your hearts.