Closer to Fine


The last time I sent a post out into the inter-ether, it was about commitment and dedication. I wrote about setting three 30-day challenges for myself, little cornerstone habits that would help anchor me in a slightly chaotic moment of my life.

I set out to write every day, practice yoga every day, and sing every day. For 30 days.

Well, if success is technically measured by achieving precisely what you set out to do, the last 30 days have been an utter failure. I didn’t do it. Not even a little bit. I have abandoned my morning pages, my yoga practice has been sporadic, and I’ve learned maybe one new tune in the past month.

And in the wake of this complete lack of follow-through, of this falling short of any bar I set for myself whatsoever, of basically not even trying within two days of setting those commitments, I feel…totally fine.

I feel fine?

Yeah, seems strange to me too. I’m not one to let myself off the hook without a one-two wallop of guilt and insecurity.

So I’ve been pondering on it, this fineness. And I’ve come up with a random collection of musings related to my absolute contentment with such a big #fail:

1. Did you ever think about how all the rules we have in life, all the best practices, all the top tips from pros, all of it, is just stuff that other people made up? Not made up without any factual basis, but made up in the sense that it’s all created as a way to describe human behavior, to make sense of the way the world around us functions. Nothing more. How much, for example, of needing “fulfillment” “happiness” or “purpose” is created by us having words and concepts that describe those ideas? And to what extent are those ideas really just another name for living in the present moment?

2. So if all of the above is true, then there is zero obligation on you, me, or anybody else to buy into any idea that doesn’t serve us. It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson, and I think I may continue to relearn it for many years to come: The only person keeping score is me. My yoga practice doesn’t care how often I show up. Neither does my journal, or my sheet music, or my keyboard. The only one keeping score is me. And if that keeping score feels unsatisfying (and of course it does, because we all know keeping score is one of the worst things you can do in a relationship- so why would you do it in your relationship with yourself? And by “you” I mean me), then it’s only me who is responsible for changing it, and it’s only me who cares if I let the tabulating go.

3. I did a yoga photo shoot during the course of this month. I’m talking 5:30am down at the beach near Coney Island photo shoot. 40 degree weather, barefoot among the rocks kind photo shoot. And what I found, freezing, in the barely breaking dawn, was that my practice showed up for me. I had the focus, the breath, and even the flexibility I needed. Singing, writing, these are my practices. They’re all the same. What I lack is not the discipline to work on these loves of mine, it’s only the faith that the work I am doing is enough. That was such a huge moment. It’s also, ironically, something I say in almost every class I teach. Speaking of relearning the same lesson, in a hundred different ways…

4. I have spent years cultivating a life that has the ability to be different every day. I can do a lot of my work from anywhere in the world, my schedule is constantly changing, and I travel frequently. It’s what I wanted, and upon examination, it’s still exactly what I want. So why, now, try to be something else? Getting what you wanted doesn’t mean you chose the wrong thing, or that you didn’t aim high enough, or even that you have to move on and now want something else. That’s the part that makes my jaw hang open.

5. At the end of this month, I realized I had picked up a new habit. I started a food journal, and I have kept it every single day for nearly two months. I don’t know why that’s the habit that stuck. I can only trust that some inner voice was guiding me toward the routine that I needed, rather than the routines I wanted. I probably won’t keep it forever. That doesn’t seem to be how I work. And the only thing that says about me is that I’m open to continual exploration, and interested in adding more techniques to my toolbox of life. Which is oh so very fine.