Before I lay my head to sleep tonight, I’ll spend 50 minutes in mostly silent guided yoga, the traditional end to Adriene Mishler’s annual 30 Days practice to start the year. I’ve attempted this program each of the last few years, finishing it once or twice, though never on time.
The pandemic has given me the unfettered opportunity to stay on track. While I’d give much not to be spending nearly all of my time in our condo, without these constraints, I’d undoubtedly had failed once again at keeping pace. There would have been work travel at least once. The rain would’ve disrupted a commute a couple of times. I’d have gotten sick with whatever was going around the office after winter break. An impromptu weekend plan would’ve come together and taken a day. I’d have looked up on the last day of this month and realized I was at least a week behind.
Instead, I will close January 2021 with many others: on the mat navigating my thoughts, my body, and my breath. And, I’m grateful.
Despite the wild three Wednesdays to start this new year—Insurrection, Impeachment, Inauguration—I feel like I’ve finally gotten the hang of living in the age of COVID (note: I knocked wood right after typing this not to tempt fate). My toolkit has included: two and a half weeks off from work to close 2020 and start this annum; Headspace (and occasionally other meditation apps); nearly daily journaling; workouts via my trainer (virtually) and Apple Fitness+, a good long walk or run in the park once or twice a week, going to bed and waking up mostly on a schedule, and the Wake-Up/Wind Down podcast by Niall Breslin.
Wake Up/Wind Down—a twice-daily short audio adventure—provided a 31-day mindfulness program that paired nicely with Yoga with Adriene for my morning routine. The program first asked me to capture and consider my values and explore how I sabotage or limit my ability to live those values. The closing two weeks asked me to examine my relationships and how I operate in them, and, finally, to put to paper how I wanted to live out my values in this coming year.
It was a surprisingly powerful approach to the act of resolution-making/goal-setting that pushed me out of my comfort zone as I faced how I deal with conflict (avoidance) and trip myself up (by severely protecting my heart and managing my emotions). I’ve dipped my toes into the water of leading with my heart and giving space for my feelings at the moment more frequently than usual with unexpected outcomes.
A heated conversation with my mom led to me delivering an apology and a reconciliation that felt good and right. Meanwhile, a joking attempt to let my wife know that a tweet was bruising my feelings is still sitting with me a week later.
I’m a work in progress. And I’m proud of myself for progressing in that work in an open, honest, and committed fashion to start my 46th year on this planet.
Here’s what I value right now:
And my goals for the year look like this:
Personal: Commitment to supporting people and causes that work for justice, equality, and inclusivity in society.
Social: A commitment to being thoughtful, open, joyful, empathetic, and giving in all my relationships, including with myself.
Professional: Commitment to being bold, brave, and demanding of excellence of myself and others while being a humane, sincere, and compassionate leader.
There are specific actions I’m taking to achieve these, but those are for me to know and you to see in my deeds.
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