I have a couple of objectives with this blog.The first is to share with you a technique that I have unfailingly learned to use when I experience pretty much any significant “upset” in my life – mild to wild disruption/distress/anxiety/grief/stagnation etc)…
And I don’t know about you specifically, but when I check in on my friends, family, and community, I feel that “upset” is almost universally how we feel right now.
The second thing I want to do is to encourage you to return to the studio (and/or ask you to support us if you can’t get on the mat). Yoga (in studio or online) is one potential of the many faceted technique that I promised to share with you if you keep reading.
And additionally, I am also in the difficult position of having to point out to you that yes, these are challenging times for small businesses and yes, we are one of them. We’re here and ready to help you get #toughtokill…getting healthy and staying healthy is the name of our game and we want you to play it!
So before I reveal my sure-fire way to navigate the most difficult of times, here’s a quick list of ways you can support the studio:
- Get back on the mat. We’re here and we’re better together! Especially after some movement. Make yourself #toughtokill by continuing being here and taking care of yourself (it’s your best defense against Covid-19).
- If you can’t make it to the mat, make sure to check out our online platform – it’s only $44 a month.
- Book a private yoga session for you and or your personal group of friends! This can happen either in person or virtually – sessions start at $95 per hour. Call the front desk today – 813.999.1874 and book your small group private with your favorite teacher(s).
- Upgrade to our newest monthly unlimited membership offering ($209) – it includes unlimited yoga AND 5, 30 minute sauna sessions a month. Did you know high heat and humidity (think sauna and/or hot yoga) helps kill viruses? Yep, it’s true.
- Tell someone in your circle of friends who wants to get (or stay healthy) about us…We have a $49 new student intro offer (30 days of unlimited yoga)…
- Make a donation. It can be $5, $500 or Lord love you, $5000 if you have it and you love the studio, no matter what, give what you can. A $1000 donation gets you a limited edition Kodawari t-shirt BUT then you get the unquantifiable satisfaction of having supported a small, locally owned business that you also happen to love. And I will lay claim that Kodawari positively adds to the world – our whole mission, vision and values help you and your neighbors get healthy, stay healthy all while doing a bunch of other damn good things in this world.
- Have a student at home for the summer? Get them enrolled with us (and out of your hair). You can get an unlimited student summer membership for $98 or $88 a month (2 month or 3 month commitment respectively). Stop by the front desk to set it up!
- Know of a business that wants to support their employees by providing them with either online or in-person yoga? Connect us! You can send me (Annette) an email at [email protected] and I will touch base with you and the potential business…we want to do good things with those corporate wellness programs!
- Stay tuned for a big July 4th sale…we’ve got an Angel donor that is going to match our sales up to $5000…so we’ve got our thinking caps on tight and we’re going to brainstorm some awesome opportunities for you to both give and get! Who doesn’t want to be a part of a win-win?
And now on to the technique I keep pointing to:
Over the last three months, when I ask people how they are doing, many people can’t quite pinpoint exactly how they feel or why…and I’m right there with you. Like many people I’ve spoken to recently, I can’t pinpoint exactly how I’m doing because it seems to swing pretty wildly, pretty quickly…I only know that some things feel off and far too often getting ordinary things done has become inexplicably difficult.
Ordinary Life is Fragile
I believe that our fancy modern lives are only made to appear stable by a surprisingly fragile configuration of routines. And when one or more parts get disrupted or become broken, that sense of disruption can easily begin to stain everything else.
Even the most innocuous change throws things off. Social distancing changes the way you grocery shop, and maybe that changes your diet. That affects your sleep, which affects your attitude, which in turn affects your work, which affects your outlook, your view of yourself, and so on, until suddenly your ordinary life has become completely disrupted. And with no indication that it might have all begun with the stress of an abrupt set of changes at the grocery store because at the time, yeah it felt different but not so much so that you thought it might affect everything…
It’s hard to solve a problem when its origin isn’t something that you can point to and ultimately even fix. You can’t isolate the issue the way you might dunk a leaky inner tube into a bathtub to see where the bubbles come from.
Anyway, I know that this current level of disruption is bigger than many I have dealt with in the years past but the technique to shake me out of the rut remains the same. It took a lot of rough times for me to recognize that I needed to focus on making small but significant shifts like: consistently doing my physical practice, eating better foods, reading/researching something that I was curious about, meditating etc while at the same time taking equally small but significant steps to reduce the intake of sugar/wine, mindless tv and scrolling through social media.
And yet, that’s not the technique. That’s the obvious stuff. All us know better but DOING better is hard. Sometimes I’ve felt like I didn’t have the full boat of discipline that was needed to force the turnaround. So I set up a simple, non-rigid, non-judgmental tool that lets me eat the elephant one small bite at a time.
The Cupboard Sheet
On my refrigerator I taped a list of activities that reliably make me feel better: researching something I’m curious about, meditation, cleaning something that’s been dirty for a long time, reaching out to a friend, reading a real book, and half a dozen others.
However, that list only includes activities that made me feel better in a particular way – the only way I can describe it is that I come out the other side of doing any of these, feeling less constricted and more open to possibilities.
We all know that when we feel bad, off, or stuck, we naturally want to do something that makes us feel better. But there are two distinct types of feel-better activities.
Some activities immediately improve your mood, but often at the expense of your long term overall well-being. These are easy to start doing, and often hard to stop. Many of them involve screens, caloric intake, alcohol or some combination of all three. They tend not to have long-term rewards.
Then there are activities that improve your well-being. They improve mood too, but often not right away and yet I never regret these activities. There’s a certain comfort to be found in doing them, or having done them, but they do take effort. These are the ones that go on the list.
Whenever I feel down, aimless, unproductive, or lost, I open the cupboard, pick the most appealing item on the list, and do ten or twenty minutes of it. Read. Send off a few “Hey how are you? What are you up to?” texts. Take a fifteen-minute walk or jog around the neighborhood. Get out into the sunshine!
Every single time I do something from the list, I’m in a better place afterward. I might not feel amazing, but I do feel more capable, and that is a huge relief. My desire for diversion is also satisfied, and I no longer feel stuck. It always works.
Your Cupboard Sheet activities are going to be different from mine. Practicing piano, reading scripture, doing handstands against the wall; your list is as unique as you. In making your list, you’re looking for activities with the golden trio of: comfort, effort, and non-regrettability. Choose six to twelve items in total.
Why does it work so well?
I think there are three reasons the Cupboard Sheet is so reliable.
There’s nothing moralistic about it. It’s not a list of things you should do. It’s a list of things that tend to make you feel more capable, healthier, and empowered.
It’s humble. There’s no expectation of a miracle. Your activity may or may not shift your mood into “good” territory, but you know it’ll move you some distance away from stagnation and aimlessness.
It’s appealing. Because there are options, there will almost always be one item that feels appropriate for this particular moment. Sometimes strapping on sneakers and going for a walk/run feels like the right thing. Other times it absolutely does not, but sitting down with a paperback or cleaning out the fridge does.
Perhaps the Cupboard Sheet’s great secret is that it doesn’t offer the easiest ways to feel better. The modest effort required to access the list’s rewards, shifts your “feel-better strategy” away from the negative feedback loops of snacks and screens, and into a different mental territory, where you feel more open to possibility.
No matter how the next twenty minutes goes, you end up out of the rut with the opportunity for a better view.
Remember that if you are reading this then you are a part of the Kodawari community where we strive for perfection even though we know it doesn’t exist; where we acknowledge that the work and the experience is what really matters to our well-being. As always, the studio is here for you, we welcome you, and we accept you wherever you are on your journey in life. Namaste.