(Contest is still on … don’t forget to enter!!). And now, for my New Year’s Day thoughts …
Here is a picture of my lovely yoga teacher, Melanie (of Nova Yoga — check her out!), doing a pose called Crow:
And here is a picture of me doing Crow:
I think those pictures illustrate as well as anything the gap between ideal and reality.
I’m posting them for my New Year’s blog post because I believe that if I say: “There’s no point trying to do yoga because I’ll never be as strong, skillful or graceful as Melanie” — or, for that matter, if I say: “There’s no point writing a novel because I can’t write anything as good as Michael Crummey’s Galore” — then I miss out on the wonderful adventure of life. Fear of trying because we might fail — or we might not be perfect — holds us back so often from challenge and change.
I also post this picture because the first time I saw someone doing Crow pose, my immediate reaction was, “Oh, that’s something I’ll never be able to do — I shouldn’t even try.” But I did, and now I can. True, I can’t do it gracefully, or perfectly, or consistently, or for more than a few seconds. But I can do something I thought I couldn’t do, because I tried. That’s what it’s all about. Not just yoga — life.
I blogged earlier this year about that ubiquitous trend of people seeking out some arbitrary year-long challenge, blogging about it, and then getting a book deal that makes them rich, and half-jokingly said I’d like to do that in 2010. Not the get-rich-book-deal part, but the set-an-arbitrary-challenge part. I’ve thought of and discarded several self-challenge ideas and finally came down to this: why bother? Why bother reading all the Penguin classics or throwing out one piece of clutter a day or anything arbritrary and blog-worthy, when the real challenge is simply living well? Living each day a little better than the one before?
That’s all there is, really. I mean there are big challenges, like trying to write a new book and making it better than my last — challenges that seem huge but in the end, maybe don’t matter that much. And there are challenges that seem tiny but are so much more difficult to put in place day after day — like eating more vegetables or being more patient with my children — that probably matter far more in the long run.
That’s my amazing year-long challenge — to keep doing the things I need to do to live well, a day at a time. Try new things, things I didn’t think I could do.
And my wish for you in 2010 is that you do the same. Whatever your challenge is — whether you want to be leaner, cleaner, greener, or maybe even a little bit meaner in the coming year — don’t let fear of failure, or perfectionism, or procrastination, or anything hold you back from making one small good choice at a time, day by day by day.
If you need inspiration, please refer to the picture above of me doing Crow. When you stop laughing, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go on.