New Year’s Rulin’s, Revisited

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It has been almost seven months since I set down my New Year’s resolutions, and I thought I might have a look and see how reality compares to the goals I set for myself.

1. Get my ass on the yoga mat every. single. day.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t “do” anything there, it is the place for me to be for a certain amount of time every day.  Also, go back to yoga class at least once a week.

No.  I haven’t done that. I’ve consistently chosen to do other things besides get on my mat every day.  But I haven’t given up; I’ll be a yogi til I die.  Daily home practice is something I run hot and cold on.  I always feel better when I’m doing it, but getting there can be difficult.

On the brighter side, I have gone back to class weekly.  I went a couple times to a Gentle class, but found myself frustrated with the asana sequence and with the instructor.  I really tried to stay with my irritation and see why I felt that way, but ultimately, it was a red flag that I never experienced before and I decided it wasn’t the right class for me.  After that, I went back to the studio and teacher I first learned with, and I am so happy there; it was most definitely the right move.

I am a flexible yogi (my brain, not my body, ha ha), but I also firmly believe that you can’t reap the benefits by doing just any hippy-dippy thing you want.  You need to anchor yourself through the teachings to the Universe.  It’s a discipline, we don’t get to just make it up as we go along.  I deplore my laziness when it comes to both study and practice, but the beautiful thing about yoga is that it meets you wherever you are, out in that field beyond right and wrong.

2. Be more contemplative.  Find the quiet under the hurricane more often.
3. Pay attention. To the moment, to the sky, to my companions, to myself.

Yes.  I’ve actually surprised myself with the depths I’ve gotten to with these two rulin”s.  With the help of the writings of Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron, and the Buddha himself, I have experimented with witnessing the risings of thought and emotion, being totally present in the moment, watching my breath, and I’ve even had a couple of fleeting moments when I believe I truly felt the connected-ness of all things (which feels kinda crazy, honestly).

The epitome of how far I’ve walked this path is how I approach my monthly IV treatment at the hospital.  I’ve gotten them for a year and a half now, and when I started, I had a lot of fear.  There was a time when I would start to cry the minute the IV therapy nurse walked in the door.  I feared the needle, the pain, and I carried the memory of that first horrible allergic reaction I had.   But each time, it’s gotten easier to be present in that moment, to stay with fear and physical pain all the way through.  Thinking about it today, I realized that yesterday, I watched the whole time the nurse was putting the IV in, and when the first stick blew the vein out and my blood spurted out all over, I was *fine*.  I really was fine.

The freedom that being willing to stay in the moment and not escape into thoughts or daydreams is really amazing.

4.Get up and walk the dog in the morning. No waiting until lunchtime.

Yes.  We go between 10-11, depending on what I want to do.  I generally drink coffee, practice complete stillness for a few minutes (not quite meditation), maybe listen to an Eckhart Tolle book for a bit, eat breakfast, take a few pics with Instagram and check Facebook.  For a minute there, I played Candy Crush, but I’m getting bored with that.  It’s not exactly the dawn walk I had envisioned, but it’s the best I can do for now.

5. Spend as much time as I can at the shelter with the dogs and cats.

Yes, then no.  Between not feeling physically up to it and not being able to get a ride there, I haven’t been there as much as I’d like for the last two months.  Hopefully, things will come together and allow me to do it more often.

6. Continue working on setting aside Sam in order to really listen to others.
7. Work harder on giving people the benefit of the doubt. I might be wrong about their motivations, but at least I will be kind.

These two are hard to say.  Maybe I haven’t focused on them as much as I could.  I have been pretty self-focused lately, but I think these two will come out of paying close attention to myself.

8. Do creative work every day, but without expectation.

Yes, but not in the way I expected.  Which means, I guess, that I followed this one to the letter!  I’ve worked toward letting go of attachments, and the attachment to the identity of artist has undergone a shift.  Creatively speaking, I do what I want, when I want.  Much of it is on Facebook, much of it scribbles in a notebook that I don’t show anyone.  Some of it is not creative work at all, strictly speaking, and merges more with the whole paying attention thing.  If you pay enough attention, anything you do becomes creative work.  I’m ecstatic to have a Samsung Galaxy tablet named Andromeda now, so that I can take pictures again. I was really missing doing that.

I’ve done less work on Puddle Dive than I wanted to, but I have written poems, thoughts, quotes and recently posted pictures on Facebook.  The fleeting quality of work posted on Facebook appeals to me: here today, gone tomorrow.   Bob and I call it the ‘memory hole’.  Embracing the ephemeral qualities of life is part of my work right now.  But I have posted a dozen or so blogs in seven months and I’ve flashed (fiction) almost every week; I’m happy with that.

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