When it comes to making changes that will stick, environment is more powerful than willpower.
I wanted to retrain my nervous system. To find a different rhythm for working and living. A slower rhythm. I wanted to leave behind my habits of doing and overdoing. My intention was to attune to the rhythms of nature.
I knew that if I was serious about this change, I had to put myself in an environment that supports the rhythm I want to adopt, and give myself a chance to entrain to nature’s rhythms.
It’s hard to slow down your pace in a city that doesn’t slow down.
So I came to the Southern California, where surfer vibe prevails and things shut down early.
Most places in La Jolla close by 9 pm. In New York, I’m almost never home before 10 pm. The conditions are ripe for me to change the habits that keep me up until all hours of the night.
Environment may be more powerful than willpower but habits are the most powerful of all.
Ultimately, you cannot run from who you are.
Old habits die hard. The only way to change for good is to make it a daily practice.
En route to racing off to find another yoga class and run errands, I passed by a section of beach that I hadn’t yet explored. I wasn’t dressed for the beach; it hadn’t feel warm enough.
And had “too much to do.”
That’s the thought habit that needs to change.
I reminded myself that I do enough. There’s always more to do. The challenge is to stop doing. To be.
I got close enough to the water to feel the mist on my face and taste the salty droplets as they landed on my lips.
As my feet took refuge in soft sand slippers, I sat down and reclined back, creating a sand pillow to support my head.
I allowed my entire body to sink into the sand, surrendering to the support of Mother Earth.
I rested. I found stillness.
The sound of the waves washed over my body as my breath rose and fell in rhythm. I inhaled the ocean air.
The late afternoon sun warmed my face.
I embraced my role as a human being.
I celebrated my enoughness.
I luxuriated in my heart space.
And I reminded myself that I deserve this luxuriating here.
This is the practice.