Listening to What I Need

There is magic in yoga and meditation. Our bodies speak. As we consume life’s traumas and joys, our body takes those in. And as we move creaky joints and lazy muscles, those lessons and memories gently (and sometimes not so gently) stir to the surface. And in the quiet of a yoga or meditation practice, we can hear the whispers.

When I wrote A 2020 Commitment to Me at the end of last year, I committed to one goal for the new year. I knew that a 30-day practice of yoga would guide me into what I truly wanted and needed for this year. At first, the practices felt mechanical and I got nothing more than a check-the-box satisfaction.

I went to Tennessee for business trip. The first night I practiced my usual practice and then my yoga mat went unrolled for the rest of the week. Business dinners, too much coffee, not enough sleep, restaurant food and mental exhaustion got in the way. By the end of the week I was a wreck.

Saturday I got right back on it. I did my yoga, and I decided to also commit to doing 20 minutes of meditation following every yoga practice. I spent some time Sunday trying to figure out how to squeeze in exercise, yoga and meditation every day. My highest priorities are the yoga and meditation because they impact my sleep, my eating and my mental state the most. I decided they are my first priority. So, they come first thing after I have my morning tea.

Last week I felt so much better, and I slept well every night. I picked up where I left off on the 30-day yoga journey, and completed my 20-minute meditations like clockwork. I was calmer and less reactive. By the end of the workday I felt like running or working out after work. The workouts helped me feel energized and ready for sleep. I noticed that when I had too much caffeine in the morning, I had less energy. This weekend I shifted to green tea which provides a little lift, no crash and a lot of healthy benefits. I feel so much better this morning. And I know that I’m setting priorities on these things because I want and need them to be my best self. I didn’t reach for a goal because I should, or I’m trying to fit into a new lifestyle. I did it for me.

Last year I didn’t run. Ashok wasn’t into running, and I had to come to grips with the reality that she’s not up for it anymore. We worked through that emotionally and physically and our joint exercise became walking. I tried to run a few times, but I honestly didn’t like doing it without her. It was a year of grieving and acceptance that our running days together are over. We ran together for a decade.

Lately, I’ve been feeling the urge to run again. I miss it. I miss the outdoors. I miss the way I feel after a run. I’ve been thinking longingly about the social running that I did in Memphis before I adopted my dog. So, I signed up for a Jeff Galloway training program on my Garmin, joined a local running club and signed up for a target race. A few of my friends are going to run it, too. I ran the first two workouts of my training plan at the end of last week, and it feels so good to be running again.

So I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want for 2020 in this first 30 days of paying attention. I could have just set some goals on January 1, and they would likely be history. But I feel like my goals spoke to me while I was listening in the silence. This is what I heard.

  • I want to start running again. I want to enjoy running. I don’t want to focus on a time goal unless I decide I want to put in that much effort. I want to run in beautiful places, and I want to make some running friends. I may even take a run every now and again at Ashok’s pace which might be super slow with lots of walk breaks. I may look for some trail runs where I can run leisurely and takes lots of pictures.
  • I want to continue a 20-30 minute daily yoga practice followed by a 20-minute meditation. Honestly, for me, this is life-sustaining. It resets everything.
  • I will continue cross-training with the Daily Burn, long walks with my dog and with other things that might interest me. I need the regular exercise, but I’ll let it be a complement to my running training.
  • I want to run outdoors. I canceled my gym membership. I can go to the YMCA and pay a daily fee if I really have to, but I’d like to get back to running in the rain and the cold and whatever else the weather dishes up. It’s part of the deal, and I want to commit to that.
  • I will continue to be consistent with healthy eating, managing my caffeine consumption and staying sugar-free most days. These are also game-changers for me, and I’m worth the effort.

These goals feel transformative even though they have all been part of me for a long time. I want to love being healthy. I know if I feel good, I will start to want other things. I may have more energy for writing. I may decide to find some new hobbies. I may make other positive changes in my life. The most important thing is they are doable, and they feel like me. I’m not forcing myself to change. I’m providing guidelines for me to show up as my best self.

How are your New Year’s goals progressing? Have you thought about setting some new ones after a few weeks of learning?

6 Comments on “Listening to What I Need

  1. Great post and thanks for sharing! I’m doing well with my goals list so far–plan to keep moving forward in 2020! Hope you get back to running as planned–my running program is a large part of my lifestyle. Enjoy!

  2. I was feeling guilty about stalling out at day 9 of my 30 days of yoga, which was about 12 days ago! We are in an actual house with room now, so I will resolve to continue on — I always feel so much better and, as you say, sleep so much better with my yoga fix!

    • I had to let go of the perfection on not missing a day. It’s about consistency. Just keep I’m trying. Let’s catch up soon.

      • I’d love to catch up! We are in Sydney now for a week. Mary Helen and her travel pal, Connie, are arriving this morning. Our time is 17 hours ahead of you so, it’s now around 8:15 in the morning here and it’s 3:15 in the afternoon for you, so maybe we could catch up when it’s mid-day for me and early evening for you.

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