Saturday, November 16, 2013

NaNoBloPoMo (Nov 13): Failing miserably at NaNoBloPoMo...Or am I? The jammed cat theory of NaNoBloPoMo

I remember a few years ago, I signed up for a Yoga Journal challenge to meditate practice yoga daily. An ambitious plan, but I figured if I could do it (along with a hectic work schedule, regular runs and fitness classes), then surely I would become a more zen person, filled with ethereal lightness and zenness. Not to mention that the daily stretching would help ease my tight runners' muscles.

I think I lasted a week.

At first, buoyed by my resolve, it seemed easy to fit it all in. And after three or four days of meditation, it did seem to be getting easier to clear and focus my mind. There was even one exceptional day where I remember sitting cross-legged, listening to the meditation track and aware of everything around and within me, my breath through my nose...Being, and aware of my being, but not thinking. It's an experience I rarely get during meditation, but when I do, I am filled with awe and yes, almost lightness.

But then within a few days, having missed the morning's meditation, I found myself shutting my office door at lunch to meditate. Then rushing home and upstairs to fit in the yoga practice before (or after) a run or other workout.

I remember complaining to a work friend about my inability to fit it all in and commit to the Yoga Journal schedule, and I remember her chuckling and saying, "Then why are you doing this to yourself?"

Her lighthearted but honest comment made me realize two things:

1) if it was stressing me out, then clearly the experience wasn't having the beneficial impact I had hoped it would. Better to practice yoga a few times a week and enjoy it, than be stressed out about trying to be relaxed;
2) the only person who was putting these insane expectations on me was - ME. Like so often in running, I (and many type-A personalities who often, coincidentally, tend to be long-distance runners) set a high bar for myself. But often, life gets in the way. At the end of the day, no one else is going to be disappointed by the fact that I only ran 20ish kilometres at 6:20 this week, or that I only blogged three times instead of 7.

That said, as Marnie McBean writes in her book The Power of More, part of the success of professional athletes is their desire to always push themselves a little more and never settle on contentment.

The trick, says McBean, is to hover between both poles - satisfaction with our successes while at the same time striving for more and the next challenge (something she calls the "jammed cat" theory - since a cat always lands on its feet but a piece of toast will always fall on its jammed side...So a jammed cat will always spin between both sides, in theory).

Anyways, long story short, the same seems to have happened to my wonderful NaNoBloPoMo resolution. I've been struggling ever since I signed on to this challenge (of my own volition, I might add). But it's not like I've cleared out more time in my schedule to write more. It's really no wonder that I can't keep up, what a busy work schedule (which, incidentally, involves daily blogging or blog editing), rigorous fitness class schedule and trips to the mountains with hubby or local hiking on weekends.

But the point is, I'm still here, blogging my little heart away, trying to catch up on four days' worth of posts. Some of them will be short and hastily written, but every so often, one of them may hit a chord with other readers. And after all, the point of this exercise is to write. And write I will!

How's your NaNoBloPoMo going? I want to know!



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