Sunday, November 27, 2011

Who needs a new year to set goals?!?

I don't know if it's just me,  but something about the cooler weather and impending holidays has always stirred my inner desires to "do something"...and I don't mean shop.  Although I am a New Year's Resolution maker, some of my most defining moments and goal setting/accomplishments have happened in the fall or winter.  When I first started running it was during the week of Thanksgiving many, many moons ago.  When I broke out of my comfort zone and left for a 4 day Green Tortoise adventure to Death Valley (not knowing a single soul...and on what one might consider a "hippie bus") is was in late October.  And, when I started attending the Ashram is was in the rainy month of November.

Here's a look at the bus (it's a bit newer than the one I was on but had the same layout):

So, I guess it should come a no surprise that I am getting "the itch" to do some goal setting, even though New Years is still a month away.  Of course, I do have a major life changing event coming wedding on Christmas I won't be hoping on some bus headed for Baja California for 15 days in December (I will however, be spending 20 days in beautiful North Lake Tahoe) but I will be focused on a few new (or not so new) goals.

Because I believe in accountability, I'm posting my goals here.  I'm hoping it will also help to have a place to refer back to should I lose sight of my intensions.  I am of the mindset that by writing down my goals I am more likely to achieve them.  It works for me...and honestly, I find that life can get busy and my mind cluttered, which means if I don't write my goals down there is a good chance I will forget some of the details.  I am also still working on the way I set my goals.  I know they should be specific and measurable...which is another reason to write them out.  Sure, it's easy to remember to "exercise more" but not so easy to remember "exercise a minimum of 25 hours per month" (at least for me).

So, here we go:

Goal 1: Complete the Insanity 60 Day Workout Program.

Goal 2: Meditate a minimum of 10 minutes per day at least 3 times per week (nail mat optional).

Goal 3: Declutter, sell, and/or give away all of the worldly possessions we will be unable to take with us after retirement Dec 2012. (I'll have to write a post about this whole thing soon but basically we are going to be fulltime RVers, traveling the country in about a year).

Goal 3: Find a source for publishing my dad's short stories...even if it's through self-publishing.

This last goal is near and dear to my heart.  It's part of my healing process.  My father, who was killed in a car accident 2 years ago, was a difficult person to figure out.  It was only after his death, when I found a journal and notes he had written, that I even began to understand some of his actions and thoughts.  And, of course, in retrospect, had he shared those thoughts and feelings with me and my sister our entire relationship would have been different...better...more forgiving.  I think he was an amazing writer but found that his self-esteem was so shattered that he never believed in himself or his capabilities.  I guess I want to somehow prove to him that he was talented.  Perhaps my intensions are a little self-serving as well because, you see, I am a lot like him.  So, perhaps if I can do this for him I will also be proving to myself that I am worthy.  Does that make me selfish?  This one is deep...and it is a terrifying goal.  Shoot, give me exercise and diet over this any day!!

What are your thoughts on goals?  Do you find yourself more 'successful' or motivated at different times of the year?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seeing thru the blur of sweat...

As I've eluded to in one of my earliest posts, I used to mediate a lot and it became one of those things that really changed my life for the better.  So, I suppose it's odd that I no longer practice it.  I don't know how or why this happens...we find something we really enjoy, something that changes us, stirs some emotion or desire, provides that spark...and lo and behold, it somehow finds it's way to the back burner until it disappears all together.

I've contemplated, over these past few years, about taking up mediation again.  I even bought a meditation nail mat, which is supposed to enhance your practice, allowing for a deeper state of relaxation and thus, longer periods of self-reflection.  At the height of my mediation practice, I attended several activities at the Siddha Yoga Ashram in Oakland including meditation, Shri Guru Gita and some Temple Chants.  These were amazing at helping me to get focused, relaxed, and connected to something other than all of the garbage that usually occupied my thoughts.  And I'll admit, just thinking about their Amrit Cafe makes my mouth water.

I didn't know a single person at the Ashram...and I stopped going before I ever got to know any one.  I suppose it's kind of like that, at places where people are being introspective and the only "talking" is really chanting.  It was outside of my comfort-zone which also included driving 45 minutes to myself.  Yet, the rewards were so worth it.

What does this have to do with today?  Well, I was privy to a great Got Daily Deal special for our local hot yoga studio.  As most of you know, attending yoga at a studio is usually very expensive ($100 + per month) so when I saw a one month unlimited coupon for $20 I was all over it!  Having been to my 4th vinyasa flow class so far I can tell you that hot yoga, for me, is a lot like mediating, except with a lot of sweat.

Honesty, when I attended my first class I knew it would be warm...but I had no clue that when they said hot they meant HOT.  Like 100 degrees hot.  As in, "Wow, even the floor is hot!  I gotta get on my mat before my feet burn" hot.  It's been several years since I did yoga in the real sense of the word, meaning, not while distractedly watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills while trying to stay balanced in Crane Pose, so I don't recall any prior yoga classes having this kind of impact on me.  As a matter of fact, I am sure I've never felt the need to break down in tears in the middle of class like I did last Wednesday.

As emotional as these classes have been, and as happy as I feel in my life right, I know that the meditative aspect has been able to stir some 'issues' that I have yet to address.  They may not be the huge issues I had at certain points in my life, but there are still some lingering around.

Which leads me back to the thought, why did I stop?  Pretty soon my $20 deal will expire and I am in no position to pay the regular fees to continue at the studio (thanks economy, job loss and 3 pay cuts).  And although I did manage to get a Groupon for a 3 month membership at my local Gold's Gym (for only $49~score), I know that their yoga classes will not stir the types of feelings that I got in that 102 degree, humid room, with Krishna Das chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" softly in the background, as I struggled in side plank with rivulets of sweat running down my arms.  Which leads me to believe that it is time to dust off the nail mat, download some Mantra Radio, and start reconnecting again.

I purchased my Nail Mat at Marshalls for $10!! =)

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