I repeat. WOW. That, was one hell of a week. Holy.Shit. I’m not even sure where to start with the brain dumping required to process all of that. Somebody reel my head down from the clouds, I think it’s time for me to join the land of the gravity bound again. Reality check please?

I spent Sunday through Wednesday at a private school in the Bay Area as a member of an visiting committee for an accreditation team. It was a learning opportunity that both motivated and depleted me all at the same time. I left inspired, and exhausted (but fortunately, not exhausted of inspiration, PHEW).

Beyond the leg cramps induced by 12+ hour work days spent sitting and observing, sitting and writing, sitting and meeting, and sitting and uh, eating, I got a mental workout that left me in a completely useless work mode for the rest of the week; total cognitive shutdown (seriously, I couldn’t even get through my favorite Thursday morning yoga practice, it was a sad, sad scene).

As a committee, we were tasked to evaluate the level of teaching and learning occurring at the school based on detailed criteria specified by the accrediting institution. In search of supportive evidence of the school’s stated claims of proficiency, we reviewed all available data, made observations, ran discussion groups, conducted interviews and poured over reports looking for trends and what our chair wisely called “golden threads.”

On top of this work I still had my classes for whom to write lesson plans and create assignments, as well as writing obligations requiring my attention. So yeah, I got maybe 4 hours of sleep most nights, possibly a 5 hour snooze Tuesday night when I fell asleep mid sentence, laptop on my lap, virtual audience left hanging like a dangling preposition (insert eye roll here).  This was possibly not my best effort in staying balanced. Maybe.

But whatever, that’s not the point. I’m not a martyr nor am I looking for sympathy where none is due. That’s 100% self inflicted ridiculousness. I signed up for that shit, pro bono, so feel free to remind me of the level of punishment for which I am apparently a glutton.

In fact, it’s a rather good lesson to stop ignoring . . . sometime . . . later . . .-ish. #justsayno#ypMichelle

The explanation for the killer long days was to illustrate the depth to which we engaged in reflection, the breadth of the ground we covered, the scope of our lens, and the extent of our commitment to the task.  It was kind of a big deal.  (Okay, fine. That’s a hyperbole. It wasn’t really, I just wanted to throw out a Ron Burgundy reference).

However, engaging in this explorative endeavor resulted in reinforcing several key things for me. The universe, as usual, was putting it on me, gangnam style.  I was reminded of the value in reflective action, the power of individual and team accountability, the benefit of doing a personal SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), the importance of of positive self talk and the yogic lesson that,

Where your mind goes, your energy flows.

Sometimes, I forget to focus on the good shit; the things I’m getting right. Occasionally, I focus so much on learning from my failure, I spend so much energy trying to FIX IT, to get it RIGHT, to grow by acknowledging that which I am doing “wrong,” that I end up only noticing the WT (in all sense of the acronym….) and I downplay my accomplishments. This in turn prevents me from seeing opportunities and reaching my full potential. Oops, that’s a swing and a miss in my book. Right game, wrong playbook.

I am my own worst critic and I know it. This is both good and bad, depending entirely on what I do with that power.  I’ve talked about this before, here. Apparently it was time for another reminder(sssss).

And reminders, well, I got plenty. Ask, and you shall receive.

It took me a full day to recover physically from the trip, and since mentally I was still on a little personal time-out from thinking I spent essentially the entire day Friday exercising before heading back into San Francisco with some yoga pals of mine in preparation for a Zuda team event on Saturday- the Yoga Reaches Out Bay Area Yogathon.

My “not-plan-plan” to “let the universe provide” resulted in making new friends and being generously provided with a room with a rooftop view of the city to stay the night and the event turned out to be beyond amazing. Surreal might be a better descriptor, actually. Stellar. Once in a lifetime. Uplifting. Motivating. Inspiring. Happy.

Not only did I get to get my zen on with about 300 fellow yogis, in the Palace of Fine Arts, with some of the most well known and respected yoga teachers in the area, I also got to do all of that while Michael Franti played, live, on stage, about 15 feet away from me. Oh, and then I got to come up on stage, stand next to him, sing (badly) into his microphone and dance (even more poorly) my heart away. So you know, it was a totally standard, perfectly average kind of day.

Or . . .  not.

I mean, FOR REAL UNIVERSE? No.Fucking.Way. In the history of reminders for my learning to CTFD, this takes the cake on the positive reinforcement side. Thank you. A million times, times forever, thank you. What a way to recharge and put life in perspective. Be happy. Choose good. Celebrate life. Focus on success. For the love of Buddha, just say “om” and chill out already.

To make this long story, uh, longer, the lessons kept coming. Following the abundance of universal teachings was my opportunity for application; in terms of Bloom’s Taxonomy, this was the synthesis or creative level of learning.  I had a half marathon to run at 7:45 Sunday morning. Yes, following a six hour day of exercise Friday and an eight hour yogathon Saturday, I had 13.1 miles to knock out by 10am Sunday. Ow. #bestplanever

But really, it was kind of genius. Every lesson I had received earlier that week manifested itself on the course. When I got tired, instead of telling myself I was “not allowed” to walk, I took a 30 second break to recharge before I ran myself into burnout or injury. Instead of focusing on how many miles I had left, I thought about how many miles I had completed. Hell, I even high fived a couple of mileage signs. “Why hello Mile Seven, don’t you look AWESOME today?”

When my knees started to hurt, I sent them positive energy then focused on something else, like the beautiful sunny day or the cheery (and drunk-ish, it was a St.Patty’s Day run after all) spectators on the trail. When I felt alone in my struggle to keep moving, I looked around me, saw the thousands of other runners busting their ass and got my my own in gear accordingly. Instead of focusing on my (rapidly) declining pace around mile eight I simply accepted the fact that I was doing the best I could with the body that showed up at this moment. I let go of all judgment on my race time and kept moving forward, one step at a time. When I crossed that finish line I was rewarded with a rush of endorphins that tasted almost as good as my post-race beer (turns out this shirt was kind of legit. . . .).


As a final reminder, while reflecting, I accepted the fact that I hadn’t trained for the race like I had intended. I reinforced to my inner self that intentions don’t mean anything if they aren’t backed by action. I embraced the humility in that lesson, and then I let it go.   I patted myself on the back for what I DID do, rather than what I didn’t.  And it felt good, really good.

So, here’s to a week of celebrating successes. Of only recognizing failures as they are helpful to growth. Of giving, sending and being love, both for self and for others.


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