This week we are in prep mode for Costa Rica and our 3rd annual spring yoga retreat. I am prone to over-planning and over-preparing (which I’m still vouching for over the opposite scenario: under-preparedness) but this past week I realized I was running myself ragged. A level of exhaustion I could not ignore.
Every cell in my body told me quite clearly that things are not aligned. Communication from my brain to my body was not clear and I was not firing on all cylinders. My brain wanted me to push through and get more done, but my body’s answer was loud and clear: nope, not going to happen. On Friday my list of things to do was a mile long and instead, I took a two-hour nap.
Can you relate?
And then, on Saturday morning, I woke up feeling like I was already behind on the errands I should have completed by now, the emails I didn’t quite get answered on Friday, the other backlogged tasks that still lurked in the back of my brain somewhere that cast a shadow over the rest of the weekend.
That was my immediate feeling waking up. And I’m only telling you all of that to tell you this: I am in the active process of making a different choice about where to put my energy. And I believe the journey matters. Sharing messy moments as we figure these things out can help each other, or at least I hope so.
And I’ll be honest with you. It’s easier for me to go down the mental path of “I’m not doing X, Y, or Z well enough,” or even, “I’m not good enough,” because that has been a pretty well-traveled path in my neural highway network.
It takes work to think differently.
But it’s the kind of challenge I am up for. It’s what I’m most committed to now. And that starts the same way as with making any commitment that you want to stick with for the long haul, whether that’s a movement-related goal or otherwise.
It has to start from a place of compassion. It has to come from a place of genuine care and curiosity, not from a place of judgment, critique or punishment. I’ve found that’s the only way a new habit will stick.
I got out of bed Saturday and said out loud to myself, “Just one good choice at a time. That’s all you’re in charge of doing right now. Making one good choice.”
That first good choice was putting the clothes that were on the floor into the laundry and pressing “start.”
The next good choice was breaking down a couple cardboard boxes that had been sitting in the laundry room for weeks.
The next good choice was pausing to acknowledge that those small moments were two good choices.
See what I’m getting at here? It’s how we frame the moment – or choose to step back from selecting any frame at all – that can make an entire world of difference.
Fast forward to Saturday evening when I joined a group of women gathering for a casual night of catching up and painting (only one of us is an actual artist but that didn’t stop anyone from rolling up their sleeves and getting creative). The paint technique was pour painting (have you tried this?!?) and the method is this:
Instead of using brushes as the main form of adding paint to the canvas, you pour your paint mixtures into a cup and use the cup to pour the paint onto the canvas. From there, you lift your canvas and move it around at various angles, watching the paint drip slowly in different directions. The more you move the paint around, the more the painting changes.
And if you don’t like how the colors are mixing… just wait 15 seconds. The color palette will literally begin to morph, taking on different tones from moment to moment.
At first, I noticed impatience bubbling up as I tried to make the paint move in the ways I thought it would look best. But the more I tried to control and force it, the further away from my intended outcome I landed.
Conversely, if I just let the process be slow, and I just watched what was unfolding in front of me, I could observe all these different phases of the same painting occur. Some of the nuanced lines, color blends and designs stuck around, while others were more fleeting, only visible until more paint slid overtop.
And okay, painting isn’t the same as doing chores, exactly. But it also kind of is.
Shifting perspectives can happen in an instant and it can happen over time, and it all starts with good choice. “Good” is whatever you intend it to mean. For me, it means a choice backed by compassion and intentionality. A single choice like that at a time is all we’re in charge of making. The rest will come.