When you feel inspired to make changes It’s natural to want to go big- quit your job with no notice, throw out all your belongings and start fresh, or shave your head ( or maybe a slightly less drastic new do). While there is a time and place for overhauls- in my experience when we try and and change too much too fast in the way we care for ourselves it backfires. There’s proof of it everywhere- jumping into a new relationship after a break up usually ends in a rebound romance, when loosing too much weight too rapidly usually results in gaining it right back. In yoga often it’s moving too quickly and too deeply into a posture that causes injury. When we try and do too much too fast the brain interprets it not so much as change, but instead as danger -and so the body does everything it can to protect and resist against this interpreted destruction. When we instead take small, steady, baby steps we can circumvent the danger reflex, making things a little easier.
When my hubby bought me a cordless drill as my birthday gift back in December, it sparked one of my resolves- to nourish myself more for fuel then for fun, and to source more nourishment as directly as possible- from local farms, my own backyard or the kitchen countertop. My daydream was that on day one I would start collecting the coconuts from my backyard and use my new drill as it was intended- to harvest the coconut water. Instead, the drill sat unopened for a month and I knew that jumping in with two feet wasn’t going to work. There is a multi stage roller coaster of emotion when we make change - the first of which is uninformed optimism. This is when we are just excited about what we want to do and can only see how wonderful implementing this change will be, and have no idea that in actuality it’s going to be much harder than it looks. The thing about uninformed optimism is that unfortunately it doesn’t last too long and then we are stuck wading through the sticky muck of real change. How do we walk through muck? One step at a time. I thought my first step was small enough when I set my sights on just plugging the drill in to charge- letting go of the all at once ideal image. As it turns out, that step was still too big. So instead I decided to start talking and writing about it. For those of you who know me- you know that talking comes easy and for me it’s the lowest hanging fruit. When reaching for fruit (especially a coconut) that is too high, it’s really easy to fall hard.
We can apply this little goes a long way approach not only to our daily self care habits, but also to the way we practice yoga. The moment when a yoga teacher asks you to close your eyes- some days it may feel like a giant leap. Instead a more useful step may be to close the eyes just half way and cast a soft, hazy kind of gaze. When attempting to deepen a posture it may mean moving so slightly ( or internally) that the shift isn’t visible, but still deeply felt. I studied with a wonderful Iyengar teacher years back who often said ( and probably still does) that the long lasting way is the slow way. She also said something like this: metamorphosis is really just a series of small shifts over a period of time, eventually culminating in radical transformation right under you nose. Coming from a woman who was still doing daily headstands at the age of 70- I think she was on to something.
So what is your smallest step, your lowest hanging fruit, your 1 degree shift? When we move even in the tiniest way we change the whole trajectory of where we are headed. By making the most manageable progress to just talk about using my drill - I eased my way forward. I’m happy to report it’s charged, and I have even started using coconut water in morning smoothies for me and my kiddos. I’d love to hear about how you can break down your resolve or intention into a micro-action that really works for you. If you're not sure what that little step is- let's figure it out together! Send me an email or join our Facebook group and let’s break it down. I’d love to hear from you.
If you feel ready to take the first step towards long lasting change, ready to make your health and happiness a greater priority, and ready to learn about what real self care is- then fill out this application for The Daily Sacred; habits for everyday evolution. We will set a time to chat and see if it’s right for you. If this is you, and it turns out to be a good fit, we will spend the next 3 months together building self awareness and stronger boundaries around sleep, diet, exercise, meditation, relationships, and self love based on the wisdom of yoga and ayurveda. This course is online so you don’t have to be local to join this dynamic group of women, together discovering the path that leads home.