Spring into Change and Challenge Your Perspective

3 Apr


Hello and please allow me to reintroduce myself. I feel I’ve failed you in not delivering a more constant stream of posts. Now I am back and hopefully, it’s for good. It’s officially springtime…actually, spring began on March 20, 2013, the date of the vernal equinox. I’m going to get a little philosophical here before I get down to business, but even when it doesn’t feel like it outside, springtime has always been an important state of mind. Ever since I was a little kid, the disintegration of winter served as such a powerful sign of hope. In the Judeo-Christian faiths, we celebrate important miracles and remember that as humans we are deeply connected not only to the earth but, possibly, to something beyond it.

Through my yoga practice, I feel my beliefs in this life force have strengthened and, although sometimes it’s a great struggle, have helped to open my mind and body to change. For me, the month of March marked a time period during which I took time off from work to reconnect to the things I love, to travel and reflect. During these last few months, I’ve been consumed with one professional endeavor after another. It gets to be really draining. Which is why, when I was presented with the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia, I jumped on it. The trip was a drain on my savings, but it was well worth every cent. Traveling, especially to far off places is a challenge as much as it is a blessing. But challenges are good, right? I want to avoid sounding terribly cliché, but I truly believe that taking time away from anything in your life that has become easy or part of a routine is a good thing.

In yoga we always talk about inversions about being a physical way to change your perspective. I don’t have the sources for you right now, but studies have been done (or so asserts my favorite yoga teacher) that holding a head or handstand can actually lift your mood because it changes your perspective. Handstands are challenging. But why? Because they demand all your focus and energy. When you travel or embark on a new activity you are challenged. The doldrums of your routine evaporate and the brain is totally transfixed and consumed. You are transported to a new place and time where everything feels…and, is, possible.

In celebration of spring, I invite all of my readers to try something challenging. You will likely find that a good challenge will get you going in the gym and may provide fire to improve your performance during your regular workout routine. If you’re stuck, here are some ways I’ve thought of recommending challenges for people in my life who seem very afraid to take them (p.s. I don’t give out larger life advice here, I just try to inspire you physically and boost your sense of adventure… don’t expect any business tips from me):

  • Sign up for a race – so many people I know seem to be terrified of participating in a competitive running or other athletic event and I have no idea why. When you have a goal in mind, you’ll be tempted to push yourself harder in anticipation of the big event and the payoff will seem even sweeter.
  • Get outside – check out Map My Hike and hit the trials. Do I even need to enumerate the benefits of getting some sunlight?  http://www.mapmyhike.com/
  • Stop saying you don’t have the skills – one friend I have finds a reason not to attend any new fitness classes ever because she insists she is simply “not good at (insert activity name here)”
  • Take a class – after sitting for the bar exam, I felt totally bereft and couldn’t quite figure out what to do with my aching mind. I skimmed my town’s community school catalogue and found an amazingly cheap bi-weekly Chinese class was being offered for three months…sure, I still can’t speak lick of Mandarin but it was…you guessed it…a challenge.
  • Volunteer – seriously, you must have some skill you could teach a child at your local Boys and Girls club. Or, maybe you could sort cans once a weekend at a food pantry. I hate the word charity as it implies an activity that is only done by the most benevolent people. Volunteering is something I believe we all have a civic duty to undertake. Humans helping other humans is empowering. After all we are all inexorably linked to one another and it’s important to remember.
  • Start planning your next escape – even if you don’t have the cash to get away this minute, making a plan to do so can give you something to look forward to. If you’ve got the time and resources, why not get out of your comfort zone (within reason) and see a part of the world you’ve never seen before.

So, what are you waiting for? What will you do this spring?

I hope it’s something you enjoy.

I leave you with a photograph from my trip to Lalibela, an ancient site of Christian pilgrimage and a place that moved me deeply…both spiritually and physically as I scaled the rocky climb down into its churches and up again into the mountains above.


: )

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