Christmas 2017 I started my Hero’s Journey; a year long challenge of doing one or two hours of yoga a day.
You can follow this project for 365 days on this page and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.
day 1 Christmas Day 2017
20.30 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1 (solar 1 hour, 15 minutes)
First time in five years or so that I practiced this. Exciting.
day 2 Boxing Day, Tuesday December 26
21.00 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1 (solar 1 hour, 15 minutes)
Tough practice. Maybe the wine bit me in the ass, but I was horribly unfocused. Starting tomorrow, I m gonna do yoga first thing. Read why in this powerful blog post Before the Rain. No it wasn’t just the wine.
BEFORE THE RAIN
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Today a Dutch television presenter died, unexpectedly. He was only 48. And suddenly I remembered another powerful reason why I decided to commit to yoga.
To this Hero’s Journey of doing one year of yoga, one hour a day minimum.
Because working, or more specifically writing, has been eating me alive. This has been hard to swallow because I consider myself blessed. Other writers suffer from writer blocks, or insecurity, but I just get up in the morning and go.
There’s nothing I’d rather do, there’s nothing that comes more naturally, and there’s nothing that makes me feel more alive and in flow.
Yet, there is one very important aspect of writing which makes it a straining activity; it makes you feel awful.
Because creativity by definition, stirs things up. It doesn’t calm things down. I imagine writing is a bit like giving a show on stage; afterwards the star feels drained and dreadful. Or amazing and hyped up. But never calm, nourished and fulfilled.
Restlessness and creativity go hand in hand.
And a writer? He stays with the piece. There is no “after the show”. There’s always something that’s not quite right yet.
And if he’s posted it to a blog, then this act of immediately putting it out there in the world gives it both an extra kick, but also an extra desire to keep editing.
You won’t believe how many mistakes I discover in the first hours after I ve already put the post out there.
It just keeps pulling me in.
And sometimes I even write (because I feel the desire/ inspiration) a second blog, newsletter, sales page. The stream of ideas is endless. I even resent calling them “ideas”. They’re way too demanding for that! They insist on being written.
Now I m on this yoga challenge, and I know that although I will be able to cross off my mandatory daily hour of yoga, there is one decision I have not made yet.
And I think I kind of knew I had to do this – but I was resisting it; to do yoga FIRST. To not even allow for the computer to be on until my yoga has been done. Not because the quality of the yoga is better. Nor because yoga “deserves” my first and best energy. But because creativity and writing definitely cannot be trusted with it. There are so many writers who advise to write in the morning, before anything else.
But I don’t need to do that.
I m pretty sure I ve reached the stage, that when ideas want out, I ll get them out. At 2 am with my eyes closed, if I have to. And I don’t necessarily need to “slow down” either, in the sense that I have any desire to change the way I write.
Like I said; I feel blessed.
Please, keep the blessings coming, amen.
But what I need to do, want to do, and starting tomorrow WILL do, is prioritize on yoga to do it first thing in the morning so that I build my foundation before the destabilizing blow of creativity. I always sleep really well, and wake up refreshed. I m going to consolidate that. To integrate the peace and quiet of the night, and hold on to it for a few more hours. And then unleash all the stories that are inside of me.
I don’t know why the television presenter died. From what I understood it had most likely something to do with his heart. Exactly the area where I feel most vulnerable. Last summer, I even suffered from a racing heart beat at night. Mild anxiety attacks too. I slowed down a bit, and forbid myself to go behind the computer at night. It’s 11 pm now… I m cheating again.
But I think the best way to avoid stress, anxiety, and ultimately early death (as far as this would be lifestyle related) is to delay going full throttle in the morning.
To give my body and mind a few extra hours to stabilize.
I m going to train myself, like an athlete, to grow stronger and more resilient. Because we all know when Noah built the arc.
Before the rain.
day 3 Wednesday December 27
21.30 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 2 (lunar 1 hour)
NOT THAT EASY
I still endorse the idea.
I do still believe that doing my daily yoga first thing in the morning – instead of writing, working, really whatever I feel like – is the best way stay more grounded before creativity derails me. And it would avoid getting stuck behind the computer for too long to do my yoga practice before I go out the door.
And then having to do it when I m back.
At a time when I really was looking forward to coming home and getting behind my desk to get the real shit done, more shit done, or let inspiration move me once more and get another piece of writing out.
Because whatever the day looked like – either writing a.m. or like today just reposting some things and then out all day with a friend – I never feel like yoga later on in the day either.
I would simply always, as a given, prefer to get back behind my desk to work.
And yet every morning I think I m struck with some unique idea or situation which i will be able to solve or lock-in, working for one latte macchiato. But instead I end up working for as long as my agenda allows me.
So recapping yet another day where I had to do yoga at nighttime because my whole plan went AWOL – I see three things that I misjudge every time.
1. I keep thinking that the idea or the little piece of work I feel inclined to do in the morning will only take me forty-five minutes. Instead of an infinite amount of time which will only be defined by my next appointment out the door.
2. I keep forgetting that there is no such thing as one idea or piece of work. Ideas will keep coming.
3. I also keep forgetting that in the afternoon, and especially if I ve been out the door, I will have more ideas, or more finetuning, or more things I d rather do immediately because otherwise I have to write them down and do them later.
But I can’t afford to forget those three things tomorrow. That is the first day where I have multiple appointments and I also have to work preparing classes. I have far less hours to throw at following my creative flow, than I ve had the past few days. So in a way tomorrow is the first day the challenge is really a challenge. Where I can’t postpone my practice to the evening, like I have done so far.
It has to be done either in the morning, or in the late afternoon.
Tomorrow I need to have my shit together.
day 4 Thursday December 28
21.15 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 2 (lunar 1 hour)
THE PIECES ARE MOVING
Today was heaven. It was exactly the opposite of yesterday because I had zero time for writing and a ton of obligations. I prepared classes, taught yoga, and I worked on the land for three hours. I got a sunburn on my cheeks and my whole body was toast. Not from the sun but from working hard. I feared it would affect my class tonight.
But then it didn’t.
And I can only accredit that to the mandatory hour of yoga for this Hero’s Journey challenge. I did the practice at the studio, before class, and although it was quite a messy practice, I could feel Shiva Rea’s soothing voice work it’s way into my tormented spine.
All the pain disappeared.
When my students came I was just as excited about the upcoming class as they were, and it went really well.
But aside from the yoga miraculously taking away the pain in my body there was something else that sparked my energy. Something else that made this day memorable. And it had to do with my current obsession with Star Wars episode 8, and the developing romance between Kylo Ren and Rey.
For the yoga playlist for tonight’s class, I took their (Kylo Ren’s and Rey’s) official playlists on Spotify. And although I used few of the songs, it gave me clues on what I did want, and I was extremely pleased with the result. Especially with the choice to alternate between male and female vocals.
Now the reason this interest in their story line has gotten a chance to spin out of control, is because YouTube is filled with videos on the subject of “Reylo”; their names combined, like Brangelina. And it was in one of these hours I spent browsing Reylo videos (“studying” would be more accurate) that I learned they had playlists.
Anyway, with my new habit of spending every minute of free-time watching their romance-explained videos, and also investing hours on creating the playlist, I was getting emotionally invested.
And I could feel the restlessness inside of me, but during that hour of yoga I realized something was shifting.
I was stepping out of the role of the mistress.
I was still very much in love with Mr.Big, and I didn’t desire him to leave his wife anymore today than yesterday, a month ago, or last year. I feel like I am Mr.Big’s dark guardian angel – I could never wish for something that he values, to fall apart.
I m on his side.
So it wasn’t that I wanted to change or end what we had.
And yet, the feelings I had mistaken for restlessness, were in reality the first signs of a transformation.
I no longer fully identified with being a mistress.
I was becoming a warrior, like Rey. An archetype that I ve been trying to get my hands on, and trying to live by, since August, but failed. And maybe I failed because I knew it would mean shedding my mistress skin.
But I registered the restlessness during yoga, and I felt excited.
The journey had begun.
day 5 Friday December 29
This is the first time I m logging my practice before doing it!
But I look forward to keeping the computer off, when I m finished.
22.15 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 2 (lunar 1 hour)
day 6 missed
day 7 Sunday December 31
New Year’s Eve
13.00 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1+ 2 (group class 1 H 45 minutes)
20.00 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1+ 2 (2 H practice, at new years eve)
Missed yesterday’s practice because I unexpectedly went to see Star Wars VIII The Last Jedi for the second time!! That movie is the whole reason this project even exists, so hell yes I ll go.
And it was awesome.
And it gave me so much insight into WHY I am on this challenge. It wasn’t because the Jedi use the force, and that brought me back in touch into wanting to get access to my force. Do my own yoga to gain control over my mind. I thought that was it – because I had already been toying with the thought of going on some major challenge after Star Wars VII The Force Awakens,
So I simply thought that this was the little nudge I needed for daily yoga; to see that new Star Wars movie a few days before Christmas.
But yesterday’s rerun made me realize I had ulterior motives. And that the reason I had lost weight in doing one week of yoga. And the reason it was going so – well- easy. The reason I barely needed any sleep. It didn’t have anything to do with Luke Skywalker or Rey the girl Jedi. It was only because I had fallen in love with Kylo Ren.
I had fallen in love with a movie star, but even more with the character, and that was the reason I loved doing yoga. They were like these XL day dream sessions.
And today I made up for missing yesterday’s practice, by doing two; A long class, and my the 2 H practice that I had initially planned for yesterday.
day 8 Monday January 1
New Year’s Day
16.15 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1+ 2 (2 H practice)
I TOTALLY LOVE THIS MAN WHAT A GREAT PRACTICE!
Are you Dutch? I wrote my blog post here, about the most amazing New Year’s day ever. Although not the way I thought it would be..
day 9 Tuesday January 2
21.30 Yoga Sanctuary Shiva Rea cd 1 (1,25 H practice)
I had a meager day, with a pretty bleak evening. I didn’t have anything fun or social planned for today, and had a slow start which I compensated for with a productive day. No daylight or daytime yoga though. Again.
Did some nighttime grocery shopping and then did my practice. Instead of the regular two hours I cut it to just one cd.
The reason the evening felt bleak was that Max has not been well all day, and he’s so thin and fragile I worry about him and especially about the choice about having to let him go this year. He vomited this afternoon. I gave him a painkiller around nine and hope he’ll start feeling better.
He still joins me in bed, but doesn’t bother to come to the couch or sleep in the window anymore. He sits on a little box or lies in his nest made from a duvet, both in the hallway next to my small pink desk which I use for journaling.
His world has become very small.
As has mine.
next practice set for
day 10 Wednesday January 3 – double 2 hour practice
You can follow this project for 365 days on this page and I ll post all lessons learned along the way on my Facebook and Twitter.