Checking in

Every once in a while it’s good to check in. How does this feel? Are you noticing any discomfort?

They tell you this in yoga, but it’s true for life as well. We go through so many days blind to the experience – just getting by. Check in. At least weekly, but daily is better.

My check-ins are scheduled on my calendar, every Sunday. Sometimes I forget them, it’s true. But I know that when I do, I can expect the week to veer off-course in unexpected ways.

Weekly roundup

Well, here we are again. Another week down, another week closer to 2020. And what the hell have I been doing with my life?!

Not important…. Here’s my week:

What I’m reading: Still on Dracula. I’m about two-thirds of the way done. I only read for about an hour before bed, because I’ve been hard at work on a few other projects. Dracula has stood out to me for some time – a book that I should have read. I’m glad I’m finally getting it done. I also found my paperback edition, purchased in the early-nineties for fifty cents. I’ve seen the theater where Bram Stoker worked, for God’s sake. And I’m just now reading it. Sometimes I question my priorities.

What I’m listening to: La Nozze di Figaro. The opera by Mozart. I’m going to be in New York and Pennsylvania in a couple of weeks, and I thought it would be fun to see a show at the Met. Because, in all the times I’ve been to New York, I’ve never been to the Met for a performance. I’ve toured it. Had my photo taken in the lobby. But, you know… Priorities. Anyway, this production brings back Luca Pisaroni and Adam Plachetka, reversing the roles of Figaro and Count Almaviva. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it.

What I’m spending time with: This acting workbook my friend Anthony and I have been going over. I took a lot of time over the past two days to look through it again. I’ve got maybe a couple hours worth of work left, but I’m excited that it is so near completion. I’ll post links once I can get it up for sale.

Other things of interest:

  • Why retiring might mean never having to grow up.
  • As only a random watched of Courage the Cowardly Dog, I do recall laughing. A lot. But I don’t remember it being overly scary…
  • HBO’s His Dark Materials. I hate to say that I’m mostly waiting for the armored bear, but I’m mostly waiting for the armored bear. And Lin Manuel. But I really want him to finish his work on the Name of the Wind adaptation!
  • Speaking of Lin Manuel, the Drama Book Shop is set to reopen in the spring!
  • And lastly, because this was heavily slanted towards performance and acting, something that caught my eye dealing with none of that! Yoga… the cure for insomnia.

Gratitude

I have trouble keeping with the habit of gratitude. Actually, building habits in general is challenging for me. I believe for most people. Too easy to be distracted, or too many things of interest.

I’ve been good with my yoga practice, and with writing on the blog. Not so good with morning journaling. This year was exceptionally sporadic in the morning journaling.

Gratitude is another one. I’ll go for a few weeks, then fall off. But every time I start, there are consistent elements that pop up. And maybe it’s because I write gratitude statements first thing in the morning, but that first list always has one thing: coffee.

So as I drink my coffee, know that I am extremely grateful to the Dominicans who picked these beans; to the roasters (one day I will roast my own); and to the companies that made the Ninja coffeepot, the mug, and the creamer. I couldn’t see myself starting the day without them.

Revisiting resistance

I wrote this about two months ago, after diving deep into my yoga practice.

I’m stretching out the muscles in my legs.

As I’m stretching them out, pushing forwards and backwards on my legs, alleviating the tension that builds up, I notice the resistance. Resistance that is met in a forward bend and backward bend. And just as the resistance becomes so terrible, so unbearable, the tension releases. I can feel the muscle actually give way – it sort of vibrates, and then it’s loose.

I think of it as a metaphor for all resistance we face. I don’t push the stretch to the point where the muscle will tear. That would do irreparable harm. But I’m finding the space just past comfortable, where I’m living in the state of discomfort, until the muscle finally gives. The resistance breaks.

You must lean into the points, as Pena Chödrön says.

Over the past few months, reestablishing my yoga practice, I’ve had to remember this more and more.

Returning

The longer you wait to start something back up, the harder it can be to get it going. That’s been the case for my writing. Also some other things – yoga, reading, and decluttering, as examples.

Sometimes you get sidetracked. It happens. And it happens to everyone. No matter what the circumstance, or how long it’s been, just get back in there. Maybe you are out of the flow, and it takes longer to do what you had done before. Or you can’t do as much. But just try and get those muscles moving – those juices flowing. It feels good.

Will this be the push that gets me back in the swing? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But the important thing is to try.

More busy-ness

I’ve been working out a 168-hour timeline for the week, planning out days. Without overlap, it looks something like:

  • 56 hours – Sleep
  • 50 hours – Job
  • 10 hours – Writing
  • 10 hours – Dining/meal prep/shopping
  • 9 hours – Side hustle
  • 7 hours – Reading for pleasure / studying
  • 6 hours – Podcast & video recording/editing
  • 6 hours – Yoga/exercise
  • 4 hours – Music gigs
  • 4 hours – Meditation
  • 3 hours – Radio show
  • 3 hours – Nothing

Now, I rarely sleep 8 hours per night. I haven’t been as faithful in my yoga practice as I should be. And I do write sometimes during gigs when I’m not singing. So there is overlap.

The problems come when other things creep in and I have to decide which items to omit from the daily list. And things will crop up. Date night (which should be every week). The film that I just have to say (a lot coming out this summer). And other activities that require some measure of concentration on my part – I’m thinking of the garage that needs an overhaul right now.

And I look at Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule in awe, and can’t help but wonder how he managed it. (Of course he didn’t, but it didn’t stop him from trying.)

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Can’t Sleep vol 3

I muse a lot while laying in bed at the end of the day. I'm having trouble sleeping, and I don't know why. I get up early enough. I'll be doing yoga in the morning. I have a pretty full day tomorrow, actually.

I'm thinking about theatre. It's been nearly a year since I was last on stage, and I've just accepted a role in a production of Annie, Get Your Gun. I'm also thinking about what I've been doing with my life these last eighteen months. Plenty of reading, loads of introspection, not much tangible to show. I'm like one of those fresh-out-of-college kids, full of ideas, but no clue on how to make a life for themselves.

Only, I'm about ten years older than most of them.

Trying to plan out the next stages of life.

Where do you want to be in five years, Michael?

Hell, I don't really know where I want to be tomorrow. But I wouldn't mind being well-rested.