A blog about dealing with the frustrations of modern life, an emotional yoga class and tackling my task list in order to clear my head.
Impatience: the great obstacle to success
When it comes to personal development, impatience is my biggest hurdle. If I don’t see results quickly, I give up.
Impatience is my excuse for quitting my gym membership, not persevering with meditation and becoming frustrated with self-help books, among many other things. I have approached all of the above with great optimism, only to throw in the towel a few months later (or weeks in some cases), when I don’t feel fitter, wealthier or more productive.
I either don’t enjoy or don’t trust in these strategies enough to give them time to work. So, I sabotage my chances and move onto the next fad.
There are a few activities and rituals I enjoy sufficiently to maintain a longer commitment. Reading, writing (this blog is six years old!) and two walks every day with the dog for example. I’ve had a subscription to a local fitness group JCW Fitness for 18 months. Most Saturdays you’ll see me bouncing along to dance anthems in Jane’s Dance Fit & Tone class and I occasionally treat myself to a restorative Pilates session.
Looking after my body
Last week I went to my first Vinyasa Flow Yoga class, to prepare for a Yoga Retreat at the end of the month. The class is advertised as a combination of mindfulness, relaxation, physical strength and flexibility. The last two should have been a clue.
I introduced myself to Melanie the teacher and explained this was my first Flow Yoga class. She said it was an advanced class, but not to worry: I should go at my own pace and try not to pay too much attention to what was going on around me.
It was difficult not to notice. There were headstands and contortions usually only seen at the circus.
I was blown away. Not only by the dedication of the other students but also by my own ability. I had no idea I could do a shoulder stand, or that I was strong enough through my Pilates practice to maintain a plank for so long without shaking.
After an hour of intense, strenuous practice, we rested in Savasana pose. Melanie guided us through a short meditation and told us to let all negative or comparative thoughts melt away. And I started crying. Big fat tears and a chin wobble. I cried all the way home, threw myself into Mr Maven’s arms and blubbed like a baby. You know the kind of crying where you’re trying to explain yourself but there’s too much snot and you can’t catch your breath.
How to explain my outburst. It wasn’t sadness, it may have been euphoria, with a side helping of hormones. Yoga had demanded so much of my overweight, unfit body, and my body had risen to the challenge.
Mr Maven may think I’m having a breakdown. I think it’s the opposite. I’m trying to put myself back together again.
Looking after my mind (by sorting out my admin)
On Saturday, the kids were at a football match all day with Mr Maven, leaving me with a free afternoon. I saw an email about a workshop called ‘Unf**k Your Life’. Grabs your attention doesn’t it? Taking it as a sign, I bought a ticket. (It wasn’t gifted and this is not an ad.)
The workshop was run by Nat Rich, who has built a personal growth and development business, helping individuals, as well as training corporate teams, organise and declutter their minds, starting with their admin.
Nat (pictured above) is a strong believer in the law of attraction, but the workshop was full of practical advice on how to filter your emails, remember your passwords, unravel your finances, relationships, plan your day and much more.
I don’t want to give too much away here as this stuff is Nat’s intellectual property. We started by making lists of all the tasks we’ve been mentally pushing away. For me, that included the big scary stuff, like unravelling the mess I’ve made of my emails (I have multiple accounts), as well as the little things – like phone the friend I haven’t spoken to for a while.
I had 58 tasks on my lists in total. My digital to-do list was by far the longest.
The problem with modern life is that everything is connected. For example, I had lost a password for a bank account. The bank had sent a recovery email to an email address I don’t use anymore. So I called them for help and they asked for my memorable word – which, guess what, I had forgotten. Around and around I go in circles, like a frustrated motorist trying to find the exit. And it’s INFURIATING!
Nat had some great advice for tackling our lists. Do the stuff you hate first and think of every tick on that list as an act of self-love.
She also showed us websites and apps to delete old newsletter subscriptions, empty our email folders of unread or spammy messages and an amazing secure vault for all of our passwords.
After that Nat gave us time to tackle some of the tough stuff. I cracked on with sorting out my email folders, set up screen time for both my kids, deleted apps I don’t use, I even did my expenses. It felt so good.
Six hours wasn’t enough. I was just getting started.
So what’s next?
As I said in January, this is a year of evolution. I’m taking small steps to improve my mental and physical wellbeing. I am tackling my attitude next, with audiobooks and a short course on the law of attraction. By thinking more positive thoughts, practising affirmations and writing in my journal, I will attract the things I want.
At the end of the month, I’m going on a Yoga retreat, travelling alone to Portugal and sharing a room with a stranger. I am counting the days.
I’m interested to hear from you if you’ve read any great law of attraction, or personal development books recently. What are you doing to feel good this year? Please let me know in the comments.
Much love, Vx[Disclosure, nothing to declare. All bought and paid for.]