Yellow Leaf (via My aim is true)
It’s officially September. No ocean weekends, roof deck urban sunbathing, or persistent flip-flop wearing can deny it. For many of us, this signifies the bittersweet trailing off of summertime heat – a regretful goodbye to the radiant openness of our bodies that offers us a similarly open state of mind. For others, the transition into September is filled with the excitement of the new – the cooler weather activating our motivation, our work ethic – a shift into focusing and goal setting. So I remind myself at the onset of Fall that this season can be about possibility and freshness, an opportunity to create a new way of thinking, to set new habits, to shift emphasis from something that didn’t serve us to something that holds potential. An opportunity to make our someday into our now.
I begin my Fall by committing to some particular practice for 5 minutes each day. Seriously – 5 minutes. A few years ago, I committed to a 5 minute a day Pranayama practice. I knew that committing to 5 minutes would make it impossible for me to fail. Even when I had a head cold and was in a state of exhaustion I did it. In the process, I fell so in love with my practice that I often continued for a half hour or an hour. But achieving 5 minutes was so reasonable that I was easily able to honor my commitment to myself. It provided a calm and expansive backdrop to my days.
My teacher Dr. Douglas Brooks says, “If you make a mistake, don’t do it again. And then, if you do it again, then don’t do it again.” This is such a generous way of looking at human nature, offering the reminder that every time we begin something again, we are actually beginning it anew. Every recommencement is a new beginning, regardless of associations or familiarity.
So what will you commit yourself to this September? 5 minutes of running, writing, asana, meditation, drawing, stretching, dancing, apartment cleaning, singing? Remember to be kind to yourself. Offer yourself the present of a practice. And don’t beat yourself up for occasionally forgetting about it entirely. But if you do forget, then don’t forget again. And then if you do forget about it again…then don’t do it again…and so on.