If I were disciplined and consistent, this is exactly how every single morning for the rest of my life would go. But I’m not either of those things. And for the majority of my life I have shamed myself for that fact. I want to say because I’m 40, this is never going to change but I firmly believe that change is possible at any age so that’s silly. The fact is, I don’t really enjoy discipline or consistency. I prefer flexibility and spontaneity. It’s taken me a great deal of time to realize and accept that flexibility and spontaneity are every bit as valuable as discipline and consistency. This realization and acceptance has been monumental in my acceptance of self. People who value discipline and consistency over flexibility and spontaneity eventually reach a point where they don’t like me much – if even only in a particular moment. And it used to be very easy for people to make me feel bad about myself so their rigidity and judgment of me used to crush my spirit and flood me with self-doubt and shame. Nope. No thank you. Not anymore.
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I listened to "Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson on repeat for all of my standing poses this morning..."all we can do is keep breathing"...
Still, it’s not as if I possess absolutely NO discipline and NO consistency. I am not a particularly disciplined person though it has taken some discipline to achieve the many things that I have. I am not a particularly consistent person though it has required some consistency to get where I am today. But I’m not one of those people you can say “always” does this or “always” does that. And though for the most part, I can stick to a schedule and a plan, if I feel like chuckin’ that plan for the day because a friend invites me to do something else or because my daughter wants me to snuggle in bed for three more hours in the morning, well, as I’ve said before: life is painfully short. Fun and love win out over discipline and consistency any day.
And yet, there is fun and there is love in discipline and consistency. Well…at least love. It would be loving towards myself to give myself my yoga practice and tea and meditation every single morning. I also believe that the practices of yoga and meditation are not just gifts to ourselves but also to everyone around us and to the universe. When we practice yoga and/or meditation, we are able to calm our own minds and become more rational, healthier people. When we do this, we are helping to produce better, calmer, more rational, healthier relationships and therefore doing our part to create peace in the world. So, this type of discipline contains an enormous amount of love, in fact.
And…as I think about it… though it is important to respond with flexibility and spontenaity to my writing urges, it is the discipline and consistency of carving out time every single day to simply do the writing that helps me make true progress.
The truth is, though I have come to understand and treasure these qualities that very much make me me – I guess I have always wanted to be able to cultivate more discipline and consistency in my life.
This whole Team QueenPrincess endeavor is helping me do just that. I have known for years – seriously, YEARS – that I need to practice yoga, meditate, eat healthy, write and exercise moderately-vigorously most days in order to be a sane, productive person. For years, I have listened to a culture that tells me, “That’s crazy! You can’t have all of those things! When will you work? When will you sleep?” But if I don’t give myself all of these things, my work sucks and I can’t sleep.
When I finally accepted a few weeks ago that I really did have to have this upcoming surgery, I realized I needed some tools to mentally and physically prepare myself for it. Then, it quickly dawned on me that I already have all of those tools. I knew what I needed to cultivate happiness and health in my life because I’ve essentially been studying this for the past fourteen years. The trick is, I needed to APPLY all of these tools. My flexibility allowed me to accept the fact of the surgery. Now, I have to cultivate discipline and consistency.
Everyone on Team QueenPrincess is helping me do this. I feel beholden to you to do the happy practices – especially to my teammates who are doing the happy practices with me! I feel responsible for responding to your messages and posts because they are often so personal and so important and so… such a…a, gift. I have to exercise and meditate and consciously be kind and write every day for this project – for the first few days, I was moving through the project on solid Dragon energy (see earlier post about my totems to fully understand this) -- that is, my spontaneity and flexibility and pure zest for life was practically pulling me along. But, Dragon often does not realize that sleep needs to be had or else Dragon will crash – and frequently does. So, last night, Bear gently took the phone and the computer out of Dragon’s scaly little hands and looked him right in the eye and said, “Dragon, if you don’t sleep, I’m going to eat you.”
Then, this morning, when Wolf’s beady little eyes blinked open at 3:55am and Bear was saying, “aaaw shucks, I only got SEVEN hours of sleep. I need at least three or four more!” Dragon roared “his terrible roar” and said, “get your ass out of bed” then Mermaid was like, “Yes, it’s time to do Yoga and Meditate. I need to streeeeeetch out.” Then Wolf prowled around the house preparing while Mermaid combed her hair, Dragon did jumping jacks and Bear rubbed his eyes. Then, we all settled in together and started with sun salutations…
...and Petit Poulet by Sinead O'Connor on repeat for all of my seated postures..."there isn't any answer to the question. You only learn to live with it."...
I know what I need to do. I just need to do it.
Thank you thank you thank you for doing it with me!
Cook, eat, do your yoga, drink tea, do your happy practices (always) with love,
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...and Arco's "lullaby" for Shavasana. "Cast away your darkest fears. Be released now. Be at peace now."