Monday, October 10, 2011

Enjoy the Disconnect

I'm back! 24 hours of social media silence...that I voluntarily extended to 48 hours. (I did check my email on my phone once yesterday, but that's it.)

And I was right...I SURVIVED! And, it felt great!

I was greeted by 59 emails, none of which were all that important. I think I deleted at least 15 without even opening them, looked at another 10 more, responded to two or three, left the rest sitting in my inbox.

I only had ONE notification on facebook! (There were others that FB decided not to "notify" me about-- I think it was trying to help me in my quest-- but only the number "1" appeared in that little red box.)

Nothing brings you down to Earth faster and reminds you of your truly insignificant place in the universe than signing back on to Facebook after 48 hours and seeing that no one really missed you while you were gone.  I think it's a good thing to remember-- I need to live my life to live it and enjoy it, not to post about it on Facebook and see what other people think of it.  I think too many of us live with our noses glued to our laptops/smartphones waiting for someone to notice us. A short two days showed me that I'm getting dangerously close to being one of those people.

There are a million things to do other than sitting at the computer and scrolling on your smartphone! I did a bunch of them this weekend, and it felt great! I woke up and meditated with the most intoxicating breeze on Saturday morning.  Then, I went to an amazing yoga workshop on arm balances, and I did things I didn't know were possible-- it was exciting and felt great! (Pictures to follow...we'll focus on some specific poses in weeks to come) I cleaned the kitchen and went through the mail.  I had dinner with the Husband's grandma on Saturday night, and we got to spend Sunday with my grandparents-- mass, breakfast, wedding pictures, chatting-- my spirit was happy when I left! Spent the evening in my backyard raking leaves and enjoying the weather last night.  Then I fell asleep next to my Husband cheering for his Packers. Perfect.

And I know myself. There were at least 10 times that I saw my laptop sitting in the living room and thought, "I'll just check my facebook while I wait for him to come downstairs," or "I can check twitter while my tea is brewing."  Those are the times that "just checking facebook" would have extended into an hour of nothingness. Look at everything I did instead!

I ENJOYED BEING DISCONNECTED, and I was a little sad to break the silence today  I think that too many of us use social media to brag about our own lives, or compare what we know/do/say/think to that of others to make ourselves feel better about our own position.  That is all about ego.

My challenge, and what I challenge all of you with as well, is to stop. To disconnect from that ego-stroking and time wasting.  Because every moment of time we are wasting is a bit of our lives that we are wasting.  And comparing ourselves to others never truly honors the people that we are-- all it does is highlight inadequacies, either in ourselves or in others.  Challenge yourself, as I am challenging myself, to be happy with my life (and myself!) as it is, and to enjoy every moment!

"If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time, not tomorrow or next year." 
~Thomas Dreier~


Friday, October 7, 2011

My 24 Hour Challenge

So, a recent small but meaningful argument with the husband regarding Facebook, as well as a total procrastination breakdown when I need to be my most efficient, has got me really thinking about how technology has taken over our lives.  Do we need to check our email/facebook at every stop light?  What will happen if we don't?

I then started to think about the proverbial "epidemic" of attention disorders and learning disabilities that are plaguing our society. Is it any wonder? We do not know how to just be. If there isn't something pressing our attention, we need a laptop, iPad, smart phone, computer, or game console at our disposal now to fill the void, even if said void is a mere minute.

I noticed the effects of ignoring this pull towards constant stimulation when we gave up TV over a year ago. At first I felt as if I was detoxing from a drug. I was cranky, having mood swings, and I didn't know what to do with myself.  However, now, I do not want TV back. We watch movies together, or watch the occasional Hulu show, but even then we feel like we've wasted time.  I like living my life, not watching someone else's on TV.

Multi-tasking has become the new vogue character trait, and it has come at the expense of actually being able to focus on anything.  I often get frustrated because my mind wanders during my yoga practice or when I actually try to sit and meditate.


But, is it any wonder? I have not trained my mind to be still or to focus on one thing at a time.  If my mind is not juggling more than one idea and task, it does not know what to do with itself.  We need to stop and train our minds to settle.

It is in that spirit that I have chosen to undertake a 24 hour challenge-- tomorrow, Saturday, October 8 2011-- I will not utilize email, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, etc. I will carry my phone with me for telephone emergency purposes only. That's it.

I already have a plethora of plans that involve everything but sitting and wasting time trolling social media outlets.  Yoga workshops, time with family, husband fun.  I am going to spend tomorrow enjoying my life and the people in it.

I'll check back in on Sunday. But, you know what? I bet I'll survive. Would you? Could you? Challenge yourself!!

Have a great Saturday, everyone!  ~Namaste~

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bringing Our Yoga Off the Mat: @Work (Part 2)

I try to bring my yoga spirit off my mat and to work-- in my one short month of blogging, this is already my second post about it!  I need peace and serenity when working with 85 pre-pubescent 7th graders. They're CRAZY!  (Sometimes I wish I could have peace and serenity pumped through my veins directly via IV!)

But alas, we need things to help us find that peace in the work place.  I find it in the moments I take to breath and say a prayer in my mind. Sometimes I find it in the smiles on my students' faces when they understand something new-- or their laughter! I don't even care if they're laughing at me (which they do...a lot), their laughter is a gentle reminder of pure peace. It makes me happy.

How do you find it? Are you sitting hunched over a computer all day, destroying your wrists, shoulders, and back? How can you straighten out? Are you in a cubicle surrounded by the sounds, sights, and sometimes smells of others wanting to escape...or scream...or both? How do you drown out those distractions for even three short minutes to regroup?  Sometimes I wish it was as simple as biting into a peppermint patty...but I don't think it is.

The answer is THE LITTLE THINGS!! The small prayer, the smile...or maybe it's the two minutes you take to close your eyes and rub your temples-- the five minutes you take to focus on your breathing and nothing else-- the one minute you take to stand up in your cubicle...and stretch for the sky!

In the spirit of helping you find little things to pave the path to bringing yoga into your workplace, check out Yoga Journal's Office Yoga series.  They are on day 2, but it's not too late to sign up. It will provide you with a simple yoga pose that is office (and non-yogi) friendly, like today's tadasana (Mountain Pose). It will also provide you with a tip at the bottom to help de-stress your work life.

 Courtesy of Yoga Journal © 2011,

The best part about this is that EVERYONE can benefit, even if you don't consider yourself a "yogi."  Check it out, and sign up-- it could keep you sane!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yay for Yoga Aid!

First- congratulations to Kim who SUCCEEDED IN HER 30 DAY CHALLENGE!! She made all 26 practices, and I am amazed by her. WAY TO GO, KIM!

Yoga Aid was yesterday, and it was excellent! I had one of my best friends on one side of my mat, and my husband on the other, and I made it through the entirety of an intense two hour practice.

Mary didn't just stick to traditional A's and B's for sun salutations; she threw in some change-up and kept us moving. I felt (surprisingly!) great for the entire two hours, and was even able to try some new things and hit some sequences I've never gotten before!  (flow --> crow --> head stand --> tripod --> crow --> flow) I was riding my excited train until we went home.

On top of that, I raised almost $350 for Headstand. Thank you to everyone who helped me surpass my fundraising goal and for all your thoughts and prayers. It felt great to challenge myself and know that in working to make myself a better person, I was helping students do the same thing!  Check out my fundraising page to see how you and others came together for such a great cause (and there's still time to donate if you can spare a few dollars!).

But of course, the high wore off last night and the soreness and pain set in. "Life" came back full force this morning, and I was faced with all the stress that that entails.  My challenge is to keep the spirit of what I did yesterday with me this week-- keep that feeling of good, that peace, at the front of my mind.

As my sister-in-law reminded me this morning, I need to eliminate the negativity in my life.  While I know that I can't get rid of it, I can choose how I respond to it.  I can choose to see the good in any situation, or work to increase the positive rather than focus on the negative.  So, while she was trying to be snarky and hilarious by throwing my own "blog lessons" in my face when I choose to be a curmudgeon, she was absolutely right!

Think about the things that stress you out-- the things that seem to "erase" the good feelings you have, make you forget about the positives.  How can you "flip it and reverse it" so that those negatives don't have power over your mood or your spirit anymore? Think about it...