Journaling = Yoga

With 3 days left in my #30daysofwriting challenge, I’ve officially finished my old journal and have begun writing in my new one. While it was a little sad to pack up the old one and put it into storage (I have a big Rubbermaid bin full of many, many old journals that this one will now reside in), I made sure to fill those last few pages with as much reflection and positivity as I could fit, and I’m excited to see what will fill the pages of my new one.

Fanne's been reading and writing a lot this month as well

Fanne’s been reading and writing a lot this month as well

In addition to writing this month, I’ve been doing a lot of reading as well. I’m a virtual member of a book club that my good friend Kim started (which btw is called, “That’s What She Read”, amazing, right?), and I’ve also been working on finishing up some required reading for my yoga teacher training.

In one of my yoga books I was reading about the Niyamas, a list of 5 personal actions and attitudes that yoga encourages us to cultivate. When I got to the 4th one, svadhyaya, self-study, I realized that it fits in perfectly with my challenge this month. For me, journaling has always been a way to reflect on myself and my life. It’s a way to clear my head when monkey mind kicks in, a safe place to express my thoughts and feelings, and one of the best methods I’ve found to figure s**t out.

So, basically what I’m saying is that journaling = yoga. Looks like I was a yogi long before I even knew what that meant…

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 Addendum: Yoga school schooled me this week and if we’re really getting technical about it, journaling isn’t actually considered svadhyaya because it’s focused on the ego and not the capital S Self. Aha! I stand corrected. 

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30 Days of Writing: Week 1 Recap

I have a full week of #30daysofwriting under my belt and I have to say, it doesn’t feel like much of a “challenge” at all. What it actually feels like is that I’ve just given myself full permission to spend my time doing what I want to be doing in the first place. For the first time in many lents, I haven’t missed a day and have stayed 100% true to my original intention. Maybe I am a “writer” after all…gasp!

My required hour of daily writing often extends well over the designated time period, and in the past week here’s what I’ve been working on:

  • 7 full pages of journaling—and if you’ve seen my journal you know that it’s made of up of teensy, tiny gridded paper that I carefully fit my thoughts in between the lines of. In other words: 7 pages is longer than it sounds.
  • Drafting a new sankalpa, which I desperately needed.
  • Working on my book report for yoga school, which I’m about 75% of the way through at this point.
  • Finally, finally starting an idea for a guest blog post entitled, “Observations of a Fitting Room Girl”. I’m not sure where I’d like to pitch it to when it’s finished, but maybe I’ll share it on here first to see if anyone has any suggestions for me.
  • Making some pretty serious lists containing goals and plans and personal declarations. Bam.

And after all that, I’m only about 14.5 pages away from finishing the 192 page journal that I’ve been working on for the past 2 years. How fitting that I’ll be starting a new one this month.

My itty-bitty handwriting (and notes for my book report)

My itty-bitty handwriting (and notes for my book report)

 

Why I Practice “12 Months of Lent”

The 2014 lenten season is officially upon us and I thought I’d use it as an opportunity to give a little refresher on how I got started with this project and how “Lent” fits into the equation in the first place. So, for today’s #30daysofwriting challenge, I present to you:

Why I Practice “12 Months of Lent”

As the year 2008 was coming to a close, I found myself in a bit of a rut. Nothing catastrophic had happened over the previous year, but I was harboring overwhelming feelings of disappointment and discouragement. As I think a lot of 25 year-olds are, I was bright-eyed and brimming with enthusiasm over newfound dreams and goals, but there were so many to contend with that I felt more intimidated than inspired. Stagnation had taken hold of me and making progress on anything felt impossible. I needed a plan; a way to break things down so I could actually get something done.

Thinking it would help, I started brainstorming New Year’s Resolutions for 2009. When my list become unrealistically long, I remembered that Lent wasn’t too far away, and thought that maybe I could work one of my resolutions into what I was planning on giving up. That’s when the epiphany hit and I decided to combine the concept of Lent (personal sacrifice and dedication for a set period of time) with my New Year’s Resolutions. I’d complete one goal at a time, one month at a time, for an entire year—and I did.

Now, over 5 years later with dozens of monthly “lents” under my belt, I can say with confidence that it’s absolutely been an empowering way to take charge of my life and to help me make progress on the things that matter the most. I’ve learned (among countless other lessons) that you don’t need to wait for the new year or the start of Lent to make a change in your life: “We begin where we are and how we are, and whatever happens, happens.” -T.K.V. Desikachar

And for those of you who do partake in Lent in the traditional sense, I challenge you to not always focus on “giving something up”, but rather on “taking something on.” Make Lent yours.  

I ate approximately 2.75 of these

I ate approximately 2.75 of these on Fat Tuesday

For the record (and to prevent a case of Catholic guilt from setting in), I’ve decided to observe “real” Lent this year and forgo drinking (alcohol, that is) on weeknights. On another note, I also decided to observe Fat Tuesday this year and gorged on Pinot Grigio and Paczkis until I felt sufficiently sick enough to stop. Lenten success all around. 

 

March’s Challenge: 30 Days of Writing

For the few of you who have been following along with 12 Months of Lent since the beginning (I’m talkin’ post #1 in 2008), you’ll remember that the first challenge I ever embarked on was focused on writing. It was simple: complete half an hour of journal writing daily. It was partially inspired by The Artist’s Way, a book my friends and I were reading at the time that encouraged free-writing first thing in the morning, and partially inspired by my desire to get back into journaling, a practice I had lost touch with.

My personal journals from high-school-the present

My personal journals from high-school through the present—and yes, they’re all full.

I’ve never considered myself to be much of a writer, but when I started this blog a few years after college, I was instantly reminded how much I truly enjoy the art of writing—and also how much I missed it being part of my life. Since then, I’ve turned into some form of a writer (although I really only feel confident calling myself a ‘blogger’), and a number of my goals involve writing, including writing for some big-name sites in the health & wellness industry, and hopefully even writing my own book someday.

My bigger writing goals have taken the back burner to keeping up with posting regularly on this blog though, so when I saw a few friends link to Kale & Cigarettes 30 Days of Writing challenge, I decided to take their lead and dedicate March to writing as well.

My rules aren’t strict, but my intention this month is to write without distraction for at least an hour a day, more if I have the time. The writing I’m doing can be in any form: journaling (I’m hoping to do a ton of this), 12MOL blogging, guest blogging, copywriting, poetry, list-making, letter-writing—anything. I’m just looking to make some headway on personal writing goals and to get some thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper (virtual or physical).

On today’s writing agenda: This blog post, and then work on my book report for Swami Rama’s, The Art of Joyful Living, a requirement for my yoga teacher training. Side Note: I honestly cannot remember the last time I wrote a book report, I’m legitimately kind of excited…and maybe a little nervous…