The goal was simply to feel good
Life is hectic. I donned my busy schedule like a badge of honor. But in reality, I was unhappy. Living like this left me tired, stressed and unsatisfied with my life. There had to be a better way of living but was it possible to do while working a 9 hour shift, trying to launch a business all while still maintaining a social life? My already full to the brim day to day life really didn’t have room to usher in a new state of being. Yes I meditate, workout, eat right, I was doing the best I could but it wasn’t cutting it. I needed to drop the stress and live life happy AF, no matter what's going on. But how, when my average weekday basically looks like the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. That alarm sounds at 3am, I open my eyes and just stare at the ceiling contemplating my life choices that has led me here to a 5am call time. After my 4th alarm sounds, yes it takes that many to get me out of bed some mornings, I make a mad dash out of bed to get ready and be on my way. I’m putting in work work work work work from 5am - 2pm then it’s the workout, social time and heading home to get ready to do it all over again. Phew, yea, I’m exhausted just reading it, sometimes I can’t believe that’s how I lived. Something had to give, either my schedule or my well being.
I decided to deep dive into ease with the ‘Strala 30-Day Guide To Ease’ program found on page 281 of Strala Yoga by Tara Stiles, rebel yogi, my mentor and friend. This program is designed for you to check in with yourself by adding breathing and/or movement (yoga) meditation four times a day - morning, afternoon, evening and bedtime - for the next 30days. Seems like a big commitment but we aren’t talking hours upon hours for each check in. Sessions range from 10 to 75 minutes with the freedom to reconstruct them based on the way your day is structured. Tara lays it out perfectly in the program intro, “Just remember-it’s all about ease, so don’t stress. If you miss a morning because you woke up late or an afternoon because of a meeting, no big whoop. But if you want to see some amazing shifts in your life, do yourself a huge favor and give yourself 30 days with this practice. Something exciting will happen. There is no limit to what you can achieve-and you can do it with less effort than you might imagine.”
What better way to celebrate my birthday month (September) and National Yoga Month (haaay party over here!) This was a chance for me to explore moving and living with ease, accomplishing more with less effort on and off the mat. It’s wild what I discovered about myself over those 30 days. The main take-aways
The idea of slowing down made me think I wasn’t being productive but being busy didn’t automatically mean I was being productive. When I started to slow down, I realized I was just avoiding dealing with myself. I didn’t want to look at myself honestly. Who wants to facetime with their ugly? But the reality is we all have those ugly bits that we have to deal with at some point. Arriving at this place really made my headspin. It’s hard to honestly look at yourself and see all the things that are wrong with you but if you don’t slow down to take note of them how else can you work on being your best self?
Ease doesn't mean easy or lazy. It's more about working smarter than harder which allows you to do so much more without overexerting yourself. I was able to add more quality activities into my day without turning my life completely upside down. Beginning each morning with movement and breathing meditations was a much gentler way to start the day than endlessly scrolling through facegram, instachat or whatever hot social media platform. I wonder how many miles my thumb has logged doing that over the years, hmm… Anyway, I found that the subway ride was a bit more pleasant and my work anxiety lessened. Moving more often throughout the day boosted my energy instantly. I felt my body slowly unlocking, feeling spacious instead of feeling so closed in and tight.
Self-care is self-preservation. Understanding that it isn’t this pricey indulgent thing. It’s simply looking after your whole self. Self-care is as easy as saying no when something doesn’t really serve you and saying yes to what does and not having guilt or doubt about it. Journaling, bath time, party of one dance breaks… if it sets my soul ablaze I was all about it without hesitation.
Have I kept up with this easier way of living? Abso-freakin-lutely! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect. I still need to be better about getting more sleep and I’m not all “zen-vibes” 24/7 but I am a lot less stressed and the sleep I do get is better quality. The only goal from the start was to simply feel good. The quality of my life has drastically improved. The more I added things into my life that made me feel good, the easier it was to let go of things that didn't. It became a natural crave that was easy to fulfill. Yes I still keep odd hours but the time is mindfully spent now. I didn’t need to go on a sabbatical or a digital detox or a cleanse to change what I didn’t like about myself. I simply needed to slow down and work with what i have right where I am. Reconnecting to my purpose, my way of being was just what I needed to recalibrate my life in order to drop the struggle and embrace the bountiful days ahead with style, grace and overall ease. It blows me away that this lifestyle transformation happened in just 30 days!