I used to practice yoga at home every morning. Almost every day began with a pot of coffee, followed by quiet time to journal, and then I was on the mat for a 20 minute yoga practice. I used to laugh and say that yoga kept me from killing people. In truth, it kept me more responsive to problems and situations, rather than being reactive. I loved yoga and I was proud of myself for keeping up a regular practice. For me, it was an impactful, yet easy piece of my self-care plan.
Then one rainy day in Jackson, Mississippi, I fell on the way into a meeting. I stepped into a small hole in the pavement that was obscured by the rain and twisted my ankle in just the right way so as to lose my balance and plop right onto the muddy ground. The result was a pretty awful deep ankle bone bruising that made walking difficult for awhile, much less getting into Downward Facing Dog or even a comfortable lotus position. It seemed like it took forever for my ankle to feel normal again. Months went by and I was off the mat. Then another two years would go by before I would return to a regular practice of yoga.
During that time, I would think about yoga a lot. I missed the benefits and felt like I was reactive, falling into negative thinking more quickly than its opposite. My self- talk was mean and unforgiving. “You REALLY need to make time for this if it’s so important to you! Why can’t you just take 20 minutes to get back onto that mat? Why can’t you do this regularly any more? What’s wrong with you???”
It took the cessation of a busy part-time job and the return to working full-time for myself to make my thoughts more positive and my self-care more of a priority. And it took a reflective and forgiving look at my time to incorporate that 20-minute practice back into my day. I’m not at every single day yet and I’m also not yelling at myself if I miss a Saturday morning because of a lengthy list of want or need-to-dos or a Sunday morning because I want to see my granddaughter’s dance competition.
When I get on the mat, I immediately relax and start to breathe. It’s like my mind and body say, “Hello again, Yoga! It’s good to be back!” And then later, I remember that feeling just before I go to bed and set my internal alarm accordingly so I have that extra 20 minutes. I’m much more calm and centered as I go about my day, talking to myself, writing or working with clients. Yes, I still have stressors and there are things I would like to see changed yesterday. Nothing is ever perfect. But it’s working – I’m back to something that matters a lot to me.
Spring often brings a desire to clean house, to start something new and beautiful or to plant a new seed. I’ve thought about this a lot lately as I am moving into this Spring Clean Your Life work with myself and with others. Spring cleaning isn’t just clearing cobwebs from the corners of your living room or laundering your curtains. It’s a fresh, new perspective, practice or commitment. It’s a cleansing of negative self talk – talk that wouldn’t come out of your mouth to your best friend, but often comes into your head when thinking about your own behaviors or what you consider to be failures. It’s a conscious practice of screening pieces of your life, practices of your day and desires of your soul to see if they all fit with what you want out of life and work.
Spring is the time to take a look at all aspects of your work, your home, and your thoughts. New beginnings happen now, as we prepare for flowers to bloom and gentle breezes to blow again. It’s a time when we notice the beauty of our environment and we celebrate rebirth and resurrection.
So let me ask you today – what are you ready to say Hello to?
Agnes waits patiently while I get on the mat.
Laurie Johnson helps small businesses become large businesses, and small nonprofits to become more successful nonprofits. She does this by providing consulting services, training, and individual and group coaching sessions. When work and life aren’t in balance, Laurie helps you get it together and create systems and practices that fulfill all aspects of your life.
A free “Spring Clean Your Life” workshop call is being offered Wednesday, March 2nd at 7pm Central Standard time (8pm EST). Email Laurie to register or go to www.4elementscoaching.com/contact-us to sign up.