Saturday, March 12, 2011

Defeat the Beast

So, the 365 Days of Practice are going well. I need to update February, and I did miss one day in March so far. I'm pretty proud that my reaction was, "Whatever, I'll deal and get back on it tomorrow." That's a great reaction for me, because I like to stick with things I start and tend to be really hard on myself when I "fail", which is a pointless reaction because it's not failing if I miss a day and it's not the end of the world. Perhaps I had a better reaction because I knew I'd be getting back on the horse the next day. Perhaps it's because I missed practice because I had a fabulous time having a long dinner and evening of conversation with an old friend, which was way more important than that day's practice.

On the other hand, I think the regular practice is making me have a change in attitude about my physical body. I think I am having some sort of split between my body and brain, but in a necessary way. The other day I was thinking about my natural tendency to be lazy, to want to sit around and do nothing, to indulge my food whims. Then I thought about how good I felt at TribalCon, dancing and working and being on my feet (and sometimes other body parts) for hours, eating for pleasure and because I needed it. Sore but not totally wiped out, ready to start again the next day, ready to dance for fun at night.

I thought about how different are our modern needs nutritionally, physically and mentally compared to how our bodies have evolved to survive. Then this short phrase popped into my mind: my body wants to eat, spawn* and die. It wants to do what it has to to keep moving, pass on my genetic material as long and as much as it can, and that's about it. My body is capable of a lot physically, but it wants to do the minimum to get the work done.

The outcome of this thought process was this: I need to be a lot harder on my body. I'm not saying to hate myself or hurt myself or punish myself. I need to tell my body to suck it up, that we're dealing with modern times and my modern brain and it isn't going to get what it wants. My brain needs to have some control or my body is going to go to hell. The result of indulging all the laziness and sloth is pain, atrophy, ill health and frustration. Sure, I want to nurture my body, pamper it and treat it well, but nurturing cannot slide into excuses. Nurturing is an "also", not an "instead of." I need to get my brain more on board, too. I know what I should do, I know how I should eat and how much exercise I need and my brain needs to drop the excuses and learn to love the work. When I'm active and pushing myself and learning my brain feels better too.

So, things I am working on:

* Cooking healthier foods and acknowledging that enjoyment of food is necessary but that it is also fuel, and not every meal needs to be a huge production or an indulgent treat. When food is special, make it special so that the whole experience is set apart. Also, eat more raw veggies.

* Making sure my practice sessions are at least 30 minutes

* Getting up earlier so I can practice in the morning so I know it is taken care of for the day. Also, that way I can practice again later if I want, or do other physical things: gardening, walking, classes. This is the tough one, especially the days I work late. It's going to be gradual, so it might not happen soon but I'm working on it.

* Deepening my practices by approaching them on many levels. Not just doing the moves, but focusing on breathing, expression, tension, emotion, intention, control, speed, etc.

* Make downtime special. Don't have downtime because I get sucked into messing around online for hours. Acknowledge when it is happening so that it feels intentional and valid, not "wasted" time. It's okay to spend an afternoon sitting on the couch reading or blogging or whatever, but make it happen, not let it happen. And don't forget to make sure it happens, or else I'll burn out.

* I don't address any of the "spawning" things here because I'm childfree. Yep, sometimes my body says "Gogogo!" and my brains says, "Are you sure you're not making a mistake?", but it's not in the cards for me. The only thing I regret about my decision is for my parents sake, but at least my brother has kids.

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