The number one lesson I’ve learned in a lifetime of playing the piano, writing two books, dealing with my wonky thyroid, and pursuing superhero status is that I will be successful if I don’t give up. That doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant and inspiring; sometimes it’s downright overwhelming and annoying. It also doesn’t mean that I remain blindly committed to whatever cockamamie plan I originally cook up — often, mid-course corrections are necessary. What it does mean is that I keep going, trying, chipping away, fighting for what I want. Because quitting something that’s important to me would be the real defeat.
In that spirit, here’s an update on what’s been happening ’round here lately and what I’m planning to do with my fresh, shiny, bright new year.
I can no longer deny it: I love my Kundalini of Sound class with Robin. Seriously. I have imprinted on her like a baby duck. I want to follow her around and sing the Long Time Sun song with her, and practice our breath of fire, and sit on the floor to drink yoga tea while she plays the guitar. I could not be more surprised by this development.
Our class on Tuesday evening had us doing all kinds of wacky sh*t, and I loved it. How wacky? First, we did four exercises that included breath of fire with our tongues sticking out (like this, only with our eyes closed). I felt ridiculous and comfortable at the same time, and no lie, it was kinda hard because it just goes on and on… and pounded our hands on the floor in rhythm with our breath and stretched our quads in a way that made me feel like someone was taking a fillet knife to the muscles. All while breathing with out tongues stuck out! So, yeah… awesome in that ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable’ way. Then, then, we did our meditation chant, and instead of singing like we usually do, we made little antennae with our fingers and whispered the mantra. I can’t describe how mesmerizing it was to be in a room with 20 or so people, whispering mysterious sounding words with my eyes closed and my consciousness floating, like, two inches in front of my body. It was… wawesome (weird+awesome; you read it here first.)
If you’re curious and you can tolerate the groovy, here’s what we chanted:
NANAK HOSI BHEE SUCH
It means, roughly:
True in the Primal Beginning
True throughout the Ages
True Here and Now
Forever shall be True
So, yeah. That happened.
It’s all very mysterious and strange, but you know what? I feel freaking great afterward, and there cannot possibly be anything wrong with pumping lots of oxygen into my body with breath of fire, letting the gong carry away mental toxins, and releasing my brain from its usual monkeyshines with some deep meditation. I’m so in. [more yoga-related adventures here]
Barbells & Bodyweight
At the other end of the spectrum, I’m back at the Craptastic Gym to lift weights twice a week. I’ve been keeping my physical activity to the bare minimum while participating in The Healing Experiment, but it’s time to start de-mushifying my body with some serious barbell work. I’m following the guidelines in 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Raw Strength. I like the program a lot because it specifies exactly how much weight to lift and when, based on 90% of a 1RM. It’s great for someone like me who loves structure, and it removes the stress of trying to decide how much to load on the bar. On Mondays, I start with deadlift and military press, then cashout with dips and knees to elbows; Friday, the work session is back squats and bench press, followed by situps, pushups, and lunges. I’m so happy to be re-building my callouses and communing with the iron. Fingers crossed that muscles start to return soon ’cause while The Healing Experiment is great for my peace of mind, it’s been unkind to muscle tone. [more barbell-related adventure here]
Whole30 Paleo at 40-30-30
How many descriptors can I string together?! The Healing Experiment continues, which means I’m sticking to my “three meals a day, no snacks” protocol, as well as slightly higher carb and slightly lower fat — all while following the Whole30 guidelines for foods that make me healthier. I resisted the higher carb/lower fat idea mightily when I first started my experiment about 8 weeks ago, but I have to admit, now that I’ve adjusted to 40 (fat) – 30 (carb) – 30 (protein), I’m feeling really good. It’s mentally annoying to not snack after dinner, but I’m honestly not hungry; eating before bed was just another habit that I’d fallen into (and enjoyed). I’ve figured out ways to get some lovely carbs in without feeling over-sugared or like I’m eating mountains of green things; at breakfast, I have a dose of butternut squash and at lunch, I rip into a cold grapefruit; other than than, my meals mostly look the same and keep me feeling satisfied.
Meditation & Sleep
I meditate for at least 20 minutes every day, and some days, it’s twice that. I’m getting more adept at keeping my mind from wandering, and it finally feels like part of my routine, instead of something special I have to force myself to do. The truly exciting thing is that I often find myself reflecting on my mediation at other times during the day. Take this morning, for instance. I was running late for the bus. (I’m almost always running late for the bus because I try to pack too much into my pre-corporate overlords time.) There I was, speed walking down the street, brow furrowed, eyes squinty, attitude somewhere south of pleasant… and then I took a deep breath, relaxed my face, and forced myself to bring it down a few notches. I figure if I keep at the meditation, I will eventually get better at automatically re-adjusting. Practice, practice, practice.
I’m also committed to plenty of good sleep and saying ‘no’ to social stuff for the next few months. I’m weary (although starting to bounce back), and the numero uno way to be my best, is to get plenty of rest. Plus, climbing into bed is delicious — this is a great time of year to snuggle under a blanket.
So that’s where I am and what I’m doing. How are you? What are your plans for being the best version of you in 2012?
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