The Buddy System

About a month ago I had the unique experience and wonderful experience of having two simultaneous house guests visit me for a week. These are dear friends who know me well and who I haven’t seen for some time. And for those who have wondered what it’s like to visit friends in NYC one thing must be known- living quarters are very, very cramped. One learns a lot when they are directly in the space of another person’s life. These friends who have known me in various stages of my own life saw everything: the bad, the good, the ugly, and the beautiful. My every action in daily life was shared with someone else.

It was wonderful having a buddy to live life with. I was always thinking, cool! Things are a lot more fun to do with a friend- ALL THE TIME! However, it was also like having a mirror held up at me at all times. It made me question, what am I doing? Am I being conscious and considerate in all my actions?

Having someone be a part of your daily life is an interesting experience. It made me question how do I normally live life without a buddy to hold me accountable? I’ll admit, I was sad when these friends left. But the reality is is that we don’t live our daily lives with built in buddies. So, how do we live our lives with care, consciousness, and accountability?

Of course, the answer is practice. For me, my personal relationship with yoga and piano is a direct reflection of how I interact with the rest of the world. I once asked one of my roommates from grad school (a great pianist), if she ever disliked practicing and she said, “No way, I love practicing. Practicing piano is like being with my best friend.” I wish I could say the same for my own experience with piano in the past. However, as I get older and more experienced I am starting to enjoy my time with both piano and time on the mat. I am learning that as I cultivate my relationships with my passions I am cultivating my relationship with the rest of the world.

The End of the Challenge

the-end-of-a-yoga-flow

First take of another piano track for the yoga album 🙂

William Fitzsimmons

I love this song. He has a beautiful, chill voice yet it’s paired with some great beats. Introspective yet inspiring for movement. An excellent launching pad for the perfect yoga song.

Day 17 Feel the Burn

It’s day 17. I gotta be honest, the 30 day challenge has been harder than I thought. For the most part I’ve done at least one thing on my checklist of 7 tasks for each day. But I noticed that I go through cycles of consistency and inconsistency. For example I’ll do something for 5 days in a row and then 5 days off while picking up another task for another 5 days. Overall, I have been doing things on the challenge but not as consistently as I’d like? Who knew that 30 days is such a long time to do a couple things consistently? Here are a couple of the things that I’ve learned so far:

Set the bar high but not too high: For the 30 day challenge I should have just focused on one task instead of 5. After playing for a friend who hasn’t seen me play for a long time she said, “Wow! I can tell those extra lesson in grad school paid off!” In reality, I didn’t get better at practicing/playing piano until I found a level of repertoire that felt comfortable and accessible and this happened only AFTER I left school and felt comfortable playing pieces that weren’t considered the “appropriate” pieces for a grad student to be playing. Playing repertoire on a more accessible level I was able to master the piece with success. Once this has been accomplished I can use this as an important stepping stone to get to the next level.

Expect for the unexpected: Sometimes life happens and there’s not much one can do about it. There is a sutra that talks about the purifying effects of pain. Tapas means to “burn or create heat.” In Pantanjali’s explanation anything burned out will become purified, “Acceptance of pain keeps the mind steady and strong because, although it is easy to give pain to others, it is hard to accept without returning it”.  This kind of self discipline is practiced exclusively in our daily lives as we relate to other people. Throughout this challenge I’ve learned that connection with others is just as important as connection with ourselves. And if this means that I didn’t do item a) or b) because I had a meaningful connection with another human being then that is ok too.

Time management: Do things that are important to you. Sometimes it may be inconvenient for me to carve out time in the day to do a yoga practice or do a “gratitude walk” but I know that once I do these things I am so much happier for it. It can be a hassle but at the end of the day it’s worth it.

How has your 30 day challenge been? What have you learned?

Love and peace 🙂

Day 4 “SBTRKT” Pharoahs

Day 4 feels great. Already so many exciting things have happened. Gratitude walks are going well, been taking my vitamins, doing yoga, all of it. I find that there is resistance to do certain things but when I complete everything on my list I feel enormously satisfied. Check out the jam and musical inspiration for Day 4.

“Sunrise” Day 1

“Sunrise” Day 1

First take of “Sunrise”, Track 1 of the new yoga project!

30 Day Challenge: It’s on like Donkey Kong

I have been flirting/threatening/meaning to do a 30 day challenge for some time now. 30 day (or more traditionally 40 day) intervals are often used in meditation and yoga as an opportunity to learn new habits and skills. There has also been some scientific evidence supporting cell regeneration and brain neurons resetting after practicing a certain skill for this amount of time. I’ve tried several 30 day challenges and the farthest I ever got was Day 5. Pretty lame… I like to think of myself as a reasonably disciplined and self motivated person so why is it so hard for me to commit to the 30 day challenge? A little while ago ago I set a date of June 6th to fulfill a various set of goals and I realized I wasn’t doing a great job (um… cardio twice a week? Try twice a month). This blog is a lot about experimentation and exploration and I’ve finally decided to put it out there in the open. A lot of these things I do already but don’t do consistently. Here goes!

The Challenge

Drink hot lemon water: According to Ayurvedic practices drinking lemon water is good for the digestive tract, is a great way to start the day, detox, and helps the skin stay clear.

Do some light cardio: I read in another blog about gratitude jogs. Some light cardio helps get the heart rate up, helps find some reflection in life goals, and is an opportunity to be thankful for good things in your life. I have been really wanting to get cardio back into my physical regimen so I’ve decided to implement this into the 30 day challenge.

Do yoga EVERYDAY: Bad yogi, I know. Even if it’s for 15 minutes doing yoga still gives my mind and my body an opportunity to sync and to grow. I find that yoga is the first thing to go in hectic weeks so I’m putting this one on the list for sure.

Finish and complete recording/mix: I have a project that I’ve been working on for awhile now. But in typical “me” fashion this gets put on the side as gigs and other opportunities come up. I am going to make a committed effort to completing this project by June 6th.

Listen to music: One would be surprised at how little I actually do this. However, as a musician this is something that adds to my quality of life and will make me a better player.

Take my vitamins: Yup, need to do that.

Document my challenge: As a way to hold myself accountable for this challenge I will be documenting my progress via blog or youtube. Stay tuned!

Do you have something that you’ve been meaning to make a habit or something that you want to improve on? Join me! It’s more fun to to have company and I’d love to hear what your 30 day challenge is 🙂

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