Eleanor Roosevelt said that we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, so I say we might as well do! You see, this absolutely applies to our efforts to create the MOJO Life: the happy, healthy lifestyle of our dreams. It’s damn hard to do the little things every single day that it takes to build the ideal lifestyles we hold in our hearts: it takes a lot of effort and will to sustain forward progress. Oftentimes, our brains tell us it might be easier to just wallow in our old crappy habits; after all, they’ve become so fitted to our form over time. Yet, we all know by now that those old habits always leave us feeling disappointed, or worse. So, when confronted with the choice to do or don’t do, yes, in a sense we are damned either way we go. Fortunately, we also know in our heart of hearts that when we do manage to do even a little bit of our happiness practices, we’re always left feeling, well, happier. The damnation of doing, therefore, has a leg up because it leads to salvation! Glory hallelujah!
We know this. Why, then, is this so hard for us to keep in mind consistently? Well, it takes quite a bit of work inside our cerebral powerhouses to actually produce a single thought. Yes, even those occasional impulsive outbursts, even those moments of vacuous nothingness eat up a lot of energy. In fact, our brains use more energy than any organ in the body, utilizing about 20% of our total (thanks, Scientific American). Most of this energy is devoted to just keeping our brain's cells functioning.
That's a lot of energy to wrangle. Indeed, as B.K.S. Iyengar says, "The brain is the hardest part of the body to adjust." Well, I most certainly could use a brain adjustment. It's been exceedingly difficult to get it going at full steam these days. I guess this thought train departed from Disappointment Station, wherein we turned our heads for just a second, and somebody toppled our "Perfect Schedule/Routine/Organization/Motivation" tower. You see, we always strive to maintain a well-rounded lifestyle where we manage to get in yoga, surfing, swimming, running, hiking, gardening, waking early, working, cleaning, and general life organization on a regular basis. Then we had a visitor for a week and somehow instantly obliterated any trace of that routine, reverting back to our caveman brains. We let our diet go to crap, we stayed up late so we couldn’t get up early, we let our Miracle Morning go to crap, and we just barely held on by a thread to our work organization. Sheesh.
I started to succumb to dismay at how easily we're sidetracked from our "yoga-fied life" ideals. Like Mr. Iyengar says, "Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice." So I guess this means we're still in that process of transforming our lives into the elevated ideals which we seek; we just need to keep practicing. Thank you, Captain Obvious. I'm cognizant of the fact that we will always be working to improve our quality of life. I already know what we want to be doing, and where we're headed. The disappointment comes when I feel we've backtracked, or when I start to become fixated on reaching some mythical finish line. In this particular instance, I'd say we're definitely in backtrack territory.
So, when this happens we always take a step back to regroup and remember that it only takes baby steps to start moving forward on the path again. This struggle to keep the MOJO Life going is real and constant, so don’t worry if you’ve fallen off the wagon about a thousand times. We have, too. In fact, we’ve dealt with backtracks so many times that we’ve got our own 3 step system for getting going in the right direction again:
1.) Just Do It
When faced with the choice to do something to build more happiness and health in our lives or not to do it, the answer is always DO IT. Now, we might not always choose to acknowledge that answer, and instead shove our fingers in our ears while we go drink margaritas, eat ice cream, and stay up late (pretty impressive to do, by the way, with your fingers in your ears). That’s fine. Nevertheless, when we’re ready to listen again, the answer remains: DO IT.
2.) Follow Captain Obvious
Captain Obvious is always dancing around in his silly cape and tights, pointing and screaming about those simple, easy steps we could take every day to build a happier, healthier lifestyle for ourselves. It can be really annoying. But, he’s right and we should follow him. He’s never trying to get us to dramatically change our ways. He’s always just reminding us of the baby steps, the easy things we could do to keep our practice consistent and sustained so we can find some real transformation for ourselves. He’s a good guy. Follow Captain Obvious.
3.) Progress Is Perfection
It’s so easy at times to become dismayed at not being perfect, not having the perfect pose, not eating the perfect foods, not having perfect finances, or not living our lives as perfectly as we'd like. I've been so anxious to be where I want to be now, rather than being where I am now. Mr. Iyengar again (it's an Iyengar kind of day, I guess), puts it so well, "Let the goal be to reach Perfection, but be content with a little progress toward perfection every day." Perhaps we can let ourselves delight in the fact that a little progress toward perfection every day is quite perfect in and of itself.
Finally, our Free Video of the Week is our Surya Namaskar A, or Sun Salutations, practice. *Uh-oh, this free video of the week expired! Enjoy this MOJO Yoga Preview of our Sun Salutations Surya | Namaskar A practice, or try the full practice for free in your first 30 days, along with over 100 hours of high quality yoga and movement practices to help you get your mojo working anywhere, anytime.
Mentioned in The MOJO Show:
Freedom Fast Lane Podcast