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 🙂