Goal Gardening, Busy Blanket, and Other Metaphors

I wrote a post a few months ago, while in training, about the transformative process of setting long-term goals for myself two years ago. Since then, I’ve graduated from Styles Yoga, and I now teach a class of my own every Saturday morning. It still feels a little strange to say that I teach yoga. Me? Teach yoga? At 200 hours, it almost seems like I’m suddenly an astronomer because I can tell you the phases of the moon. There are so many additional areas of study and training to consider. The learning never ends.

I’ve noticed, lately, that my practice feels equal parts familiar-good and familiar-eh. There’s an exploratory nature in the poses now, even the simplest ones, where I can sense so many places to check, adjust, relax, turn just a few degrees, etc. The eh part is that I feel a little uninspired as the new graduate glow wears off. It seems like a bit of a paradox–I’m more conscious than ever of how much there is to discover, yet I feel a little adrift. I’ve been practicing a lot less than I was in training, and my personal practice often becomes side-tracked by wondering how to present a pose the next time I teach, and then worrying about the next time I teach, because, am I really a good teacher? Wait, forget good, am I okay? Is my voice ridiculous? Are my sequences boring? Do I seem like a yoga teacher AT ALL? Downward (dog) spiral. Then, I teach again, and it’s fun. My students are sweet, and things are just fine even if I lose track of which side we’re on. My training served me well in knowing what can come next after the moment I lose my place. I love my studio and the early morning sunlight as 75 minutes flies by. I feel full of thankfulness that my life led me to this point. I tsk-tsk at myself for worrying. A few days later, I worry again. This cycle is comical, and pretty representative of my inner monologue about, well, everything.

I tend to soothe my overwrought temperament in two ways, one more successful than the other.

  1. Goal Gardening: Dear Reader, I don’t know if you’ve planted a garden before, but seeds grow at all different speeds. Some greens come up in 3-4 weeks, and other plants take 2-3 months before you’ve got a watermelon or a carrot. I like to have a mix of short-term and long-term goals in my life, whether it’s changing a habit or achieving something. I journal a lot, and I try to take notice of patterns, wishes, and negative consequences. These are the seeds for goal gardening. “I’m drinking too much coffee, let’s taper that down a bit,” might take 2-3 weeks, whereas, “I want to go on a yoga retreat vacation someday and put cucumbers on my eyes,” requires thinking about how to save money over a year or two. Having a blend of goals with staggered timing allows me to occasionally get a boost of confidence and reward to keep me going for the long haul.
  2. Busy Blanket: Staying constantly busy without necessarily making life any richer or more meaningful. Unlike my handy goal garden metaphor, where each plant is uniquely delicious, the busy blanket is a security blanket of always having something to do, whether or not the doing leads to anything good. When I’m under the busy blanket, everything is wrong. Whatever I come across, I should be worried about, and I start troubleshooting worst case scenarios instead of living with intention and confidence. The busy blanket is when I Google “how to reorganize my life” for 3 hours, buying self help books on Amazon, instead of doing the laundry, working out, and/or cleaning my car (you know, the things that would actually make me feel better?).

In the interest of getting a goal started to grow my personal practice, gain some insight, and hopefully some motivation/inspiration, I’ve decided to attend a yoga class every day for 30 days. The Capital Region is full of great teachers, and I’m going to throw my own one-woman, monthlong Wanderlust. Here goes…