41. Pearls from the Mat

I spent an hour last night in a 90 degree room, sweat pouring down my face and arms, into my eyes and ears. Hot yoga is a strange obsession but it’s mine.

The instructor was a youngish girl, with muscular legs and an old-timey mermaid tattoo on the small of her back. She gave us all a pep talk at the beginning of class, and it reminded me why I love this practice.

Two statements, One question:
We get what we deserve in life.
Successful people believe they deserve success.
Are we doing everything we can to get those things we deserve?

I know her words were primarily to motivate us during the 923759 vinyasas and low boat poses she had us do – because yes, we deserve those six-pack abs! yes, we deserve that amazing body!

But for me, it was a reminder to push. To find my edge and go beyond it. Because while everyone’s version of success may be different, we’re all entitled to it.

We just have to work for it.
(Video: Briohny Smyth and this video will forever be my yoga inspiration)

41. Pearls from the Mat

40. Lost and Found

It’s July 15th. Over half-way through 2015, and I can’t help but reflect on words I came across today in a slim navy notebook wedged between books next to my bed:
 
“2015 feels good, like slipping into new shoes that feel broken in somehow. like crisp morning air when you’re dressed appropriately and can appreciate it. this is going to be my year. this is my year.”

 

 

don’t forget it.

40. Lost and Found

35. On quitting

I circle back around to residency and flirt with being a doctor the same way you do an ex-boyfriend. When things are good you could care less. But the moment you hit a rough patch of bad blind dates and lonely nights in with Netflix, you wonder what could have been if you had stayed. One day you’ll see him having brunch with someone new, laughing and enjoying each other’s company; a glimpse of what once was. What could have been.

It’s easy to forget the downsides when you want to overlook them. When there are dollar signs and prestige at the end of the rainbow.

Many of my friends will be entering their last year of residency soon, well on their way to being full-fledged doctors. I cannot imagine the things they have learned or the pains it took to learn them, but I am jealous of them just the same. It’s the sister life I could have had, staring me in the face.

Around this time two years ago (two!)  I remember googling the words, “quitting residency.” I wanted someone to tell me that it would be ok. I wanted a role model with a success story that I could hold up to my family, friends, and myself.

I never found one.

Not one I identified with, anyway. I was no Michael Crichton or William Carlos Williams. I didn’t have any interest in business school or equity research.  I had done that thing so many poets and motivational speakers urge people to do – I had forged my own path. And it was/is terrifying.

So…I’m doing the work. To become my own success story.

It’s still a work in progress. It’s not at all glamorous. And I have a new definition of success. I don’t know where I’ll end up or how many times I’ll get it wrong before I get it right. But I will own every decision I make.

Because we should all be writing our own stories.

35. On quitting

25. what i think about when i think about running


 
Lately, I’ve been kicking around the idea of running a marathon.

I’ve been following zenhabits for a while, and he writes frequently about self-improvement and making changes stick. The importance of creating reminders, setting goals, and holding yourself accountable.

I know this one thing – running a marathon – won’t magically transform me into some hyper-productive person who enjoys waking up with the sun.

But for someone who’s always felt like a quitter, I want to follow-through on something that requires commitment, even when the thrill of a new hobby fades away. I guess I want to prove to myself that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other when my legs feel like jello and the sweat has plastered my hair to my neck and I want to quit. Part of me knows that I can do this; the other part of me excuses herself by asking, “What is the point?”

Well, the point is pushing yourself to show how far you can go. The point is seeing your shadow running in front of you, and knowing that “running like a girl” is meant to be a compliment. The point is proving yourself right.

 
 
 

I haven’t made up my mind about the marathon, but I started running again and it feels good.

 
 

(Photo: Wilacre Park from the first three-miler)

25. what i think about when i think about running

22. Comparison is the thief of joy

Yesterday marked 21 posts.

As a profoundly undisciplined individual, this is a big freaking deal for me. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. Well, I took more than 21 days, and some posts were less than substantial, but I’m here. On the other side of 21.

And yet.

And yet, it only takes a look at a list of winners to make me feel thissmall. 

Up until five minutes ago, I was feeling pretty great. I had woken up early and finished two online courses, sent out a long over-due email, gave and received love. And yet. In comparison to these amazing strangers, I felt like none of it mattered.

I realize we are all running our own race. The only person I should be trying to beat is myself. Yet, this is so hard for me remember when another accomplished person is a mirror, reflecting all the things I am not.

So, this is what I propose:

To surround myself with people I love. To live a life that makes sense to me. To continue to grow in ways that stretch me and scare me. To be better today than I was yesterday. To be happy for another’s success without making it about me. To know that a lot of things are not about me. To know success comes in many different forms, and resentment cannot coexist with joy.
Small accomplishments are still accomplishments.
And Happy Hump Day.

(Photo by Matt Blease, illustrator-extraordinaire)

22. Comparison is the thief of joy

16. Better


We all want to be the best version of ourselves. Richer, thinner, kinder, pursuing our passions. I don’t know what your best self looks like but I know how hard it can seem to get from where you are to where you want to be.

Something that’s helped me from getting overwhelmed and falling into a shame spiral:

Do one thing today that gets you closer to your goals.

It’s blaringly obvious and almost idiotic in its simplicity but it’s true. It’s so easy to get bogged down by the enormity of writing a book or losing thirty pounds, that it can seem impossible. But one thing? One thing is so doable, even for me.

What that looks like for me, lately:
– move my body (for my the sake of my mood and my inner thighs)

– write (here)

– practice kindness

– read (better)

Be better today than you were yesterday. Even if it’s in the smallest of ways.

16. Better

13. Unlucky 

Riots in Baltimore

An earthquake in Nepal

I don’t know how the world keeps spinning.

I don’t want to say that these things should put our lives in perspective. That we should count our blessings we weren’t born black or on a hillside overshadowed by Everest.  Let’s not cheapen what’s happened by trying to relate it to our own lives.

I’m not an expert on civil rights or disaster relief; I have nothing new or unique to add to the conversation. But I did read two things about the riots in Baltimore that have helped me see it’s about more than burning cars. And this, regarding Nepal and lessons learned in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

I don’t believe anymore that things happen for a reason. Freddie Gray should not have been injured and left to die in police custody. Six thousand (and counting) Nepalese men women and children should not have died trapped under rubble. Where are their reasons?

Bad things happen. But I don’t want to stop there. I don’t want to accept that. But I also don’t want to post a link soliciting for donations to either cause. Because while we can put our money where our mouth is, money can’t change minds.

All I know is, black lives matter, poor lives matter. All lives matter.

13. Unlucky