Behavior Modification


Behavior Modification

and being thrust back into reality

When I was in the yoga ashram, I realized there is a lot about my life that I want to/need to change/improve/grow. I made a list. For a while, the list felt like the reason I was there. The list went something like:

1) 20 minute meditation, 2 times a day

2) run at least a mile every morning

3) notice and appreciate your food, chew slower, take your time

4) don't require fullness or emotional support from every meal

5) eat less meat

6) go to Sanga every week

7) Study more zen shit

8) bike everywhere

9) stop trying to “fix” everyone and just “hold space” for them

10) write everyday

11) quit your job and enjoy your life

Well, it’s been about 2 months. Here’s how I’m doing:

1) I have been meditating...more…than…before. I have been putting it off a lot. I really love doing it, and I know it helps...everything, but man it’s hard to just make myself sit down and do it. I would say I average about 40 minutes a week, not day.

2) In the morning, I’ve went on one walk, and zero runs. In all fairness, I sprained my calf about 3 days back from the yoga training, so I welcomed that excuse to not run. It’s 90 percent healed now, and I have been adding some half mile runs to my day, and a few 1 mile runs after workouts, but not in the mornings, before my day, like I had hoped for.

3) I haven’t noticed or appreciated my food at all. I have noticed I forgot to appreciate my food while I was eating it, but that didn’t slow me down, it just added a little shame to my food.

4)The portions at the yoga ashram were much smaller than I would give myself. I’m gonna go ahead say I haven’t done this yet.  I’ve done quite the opposite. I am now, fully aware that I can stop earlier, and eat more bland foods, and not be ultra excited about every meal, but I am not yet able to apply that to my daily food choices.

5) I have had less meat. I’ve only had meat maybe 6 or 7 times since I have been back. I’ve done eggs, Greek yogurt, and cheese some, but I am significantly more vegetarian than before. I’ve been doing a lot of beans, nuts, and seeds. Outside of farting, I’m pretty happy with this.

6) I started going to the San Francisco Zen Center. It is lovely. Well, I went to the introduction session and then 2 zazen sits, and 2 dharma talks, but stuff keeps coming up on Saturday mornings.

7) I did! I do! I read a few more Audiobooks. I always feel better when I study zen. It grounds me. It’s interesting.

8) I started this the first month with a bang! I was biking everywhere, and then one day about a month ago, I was really tired and got really mad at a hill, and walked my bike. I decided I would run to work, and knock out my goal of running more. I liked the idea, but I haven’t done it yet, and I stopped biking to work as a result.

9) <<Sigh>> <<Heavy Sigh>> This is so hard. Trying to decide or quantify how successful I have been at this is also hard. This one is going to take some time. I think I could grow in the not-trying-to-fix MYSELF area first. I have built some awareness there, I know that.

10) Not everyday. But today! <<smiley face>>

11) …..

umm….this is my blog for next week.

(Fuckin’...cliff hanger mic drop, Chelsea! Nice!)

The take home is that nearly all these feel like failures, to be honest.  When I picture the arbitrary ideal life I dreamt when I wrote these, my real life just doesn’t look like that, and it’s easy to call that a failure. Being mean to yourself about how slow your progress is, doesn’t help. Actually, it usually stops your momentum. And keeping the ever so slow momentum in the direction you want to go is always more important than speed.