I Totally Meant To Do That
At some point, it just gets exhausting. I mean, seriously, how many times can I start something new only to completely forget about it within ten days? This happens to me nearly every time I get “resolute” about a change in my life. If I actually lived into all these changes I want to make in my life, it would look like this..
I would wake up everyday at 5am to do yoga and then meditate. I would make coffee and take the dog for a walk, after which I would journal and read for the next hour. After a shower, I would dig earnestly into the work I am about that day - meeting with clients, preparing a talk, do some writing, maybe attend a meeting. I would happily make a wholesome, organic dinner for my family and then go to the gym - at least four times a week. I would spend my last waking hour of the day calming my brain by reading or practicing another round of restorative yoga. Oh yeah, I would always get at least seven hours of beautifully uninterrupted sleep.
I know I’m not the only one. This is part of the reason I have a job as a coach. Most of us want to live our daily lives in some variation of the above scenario - focused, peaceful, productive. But then life happens. I have three very amazing, but busy, teenagers. I have a wife with three jobs. I have a very spoiled 2 year old dog. Some people think because I’m a coach, I have my act together, and that all of my days unfold with grace and ease. (That sound you just heard was me choking on my own disappointment). That might be true for some coaches. Confession… I find all this just as hard as you do.
I suppose one thing I have going for me is that I really am not satisfied with how my days often unfold. I am really not ok about how I can let my yoga practice go so long that Downward Facing Dog looks a little too much like Child’s Pose. I hate that I get into a great groove of daily meditation only to let it go for a week for no apparent reason whatsoever. Never mind that I have more than an occasional run-in with a fast food burger or that our kids find themselves on their own for dinner a lot. What is up with that?
Maybe what is up is the reality of living in a larger culture of productivity and over-busyness. Or maybe what is up is just the natural ebb and flow of being human. Or perhaps what is up is a routine neglect of my soul. Maybe. But then again, it is just as likely that what is up is habit, well-traveled neural pathways, and a very misguided concept that I should be able to get it all together, all the time, no matter what.
What I’m learning is that making the changes I want - the changes most of us want - requires tirelessness. Not tirelessness of effort as much as tirelessness of intention. The reason my neural pathways are so well worn in the wrong direction is that I too easily begin my day in the same, habitual way I started yesterday. Which means, of course, I am likely to repeat it - a lovely reality if yesterday was incredible, but if not, why would I want to do it again? So I have begun to dig a new neural pathway by practicing a new habit of setting a daily intention. It sounds a little too easy, doesn’t it? Well, an intention might be easy to set, but that’s only the half of it. Intentions often don’t work because some days it’s just as hard to keep the intention in front of me as it is to stay balanced on my yoga mat.
I need to be surrounded by support to keep my feet underneath me, and I know that moving forward requires both feet on the ground.
So, I took some of my own advice and invited some friends to join me in the practice of committed intention-keeping. I know the power of having some friendly souls consistently remind me of who I am and what kind of life I can create. And I know I am more likely to hear that truth when it is being reflected back to me.
So I’ll keep practicing, with a little help from my friends. Hopefully at the end of the day (and my life) when I reflect back on how it went, I will honestly be able to say:
I totally meant to do that.