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Don’t Half Ass It

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I came across this quote in a social media feed this week and it had me laughing out loud. Yes, I’ve seen it before, but somehow this time it really hit my funny bone. And then, after a week of feeling tired, rundown and resentful, I realized that this hilarious little phrase was ringing true in my own life. I was doing too many things half assed, not using my full ass for any one thing. The yogini in me recognizes that I could say something a little less crass, perhaps “practicing mindfulness and intention.” But no matter what I think about, I keep coming back to this phrase. The smile on my face just makes it that much better. Upon further research, I found this little gem, straight from Ron Swanson, a fictional hero of mine.

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If I could choose my ideal boss, it would be Ron. Plain spoken, prone to simplicity and a man of nature. In an age of constant feedback, don’t we all need Ron to remind us to just do our jobs and keep things simple?

So, back to my life as it stands. I know now, after some ugly self-study, that I become resentful when I lack time to myself. I’m an introvert after all, and I know that I need time to recharge my batteries alone. Not alone with someone watching TV on the couch next to me. Not alone, but with the kids playing in their bedrooms. But me, my couch, a journal, a cup of tea and silence. I haven’t had that kind of time in….well, in some time. And who’s fault is that? Only mine. That’s the beauty/ugly truth of being your own boss. If I say yes to teaching a class, then I only have myself to blame if it takes too much time out of my life. If I volunteer to cover someone else’s class, but it leaves me exhausted or run down, then, yep, only me to blame. I no longer am required to show up for inane meetings that are mandatory by contract. Instead, I’m responsible for whether or not I say yes to the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Which leads to the next ugly truth…..

I suck at saying no. I have a desire to be successful, coupled with a general need to please people. So, even when something is not in my best interest, or when I can feel my gut yelling “NO!” I say yes. I’ve written before that my six word Hemingway autobiography is “Usually said yes with no regrets.” Yea, soooooo, that phrase comes in handy when I’m thinking about doing something daring like my first tattoo or trying sushi. It doesn’t come in handy when I’m trying to build a teaching schedule and a new career. I have said yes to some things that have brought me incredible joy over the past year – teaching at my home yoga studio, teaching for the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, teaching my first Restorative yoga classes. And then I’ve said yes to some things that have not worked out well for me or for my family. The reality is that I need to focus my teaching on opportunities that will mesh with my goals – to help bring others to yoga, to help heal anxiety and stress, to bring peace and grace to the people in my classes. Which means I have to stop doing 47 things with half of my ass.

Maybe you’ve found yourself in my position before – a period of career ADHD, if you will. Maybe you’re the kind of person who just seems to do really well with juggling a number of priorities. Whatever the case may be, I encourage you to think about the following ideas that have hit home for me over the past couple weeks.

If you had to choose one path, one thing to full ass, what would it be? For me, the answer is yoga. I want to learn more. If I could take in knowledge through osmosis, I would sleep on my books. If I could fly around the country and study with different experts, I’d do it. If I could only do one thing for the rest of my life, this would be it. I encourage you to take a step back, look at your varied list of priorities and consider what would happen if you put your whole self into that one thing.

Why do you say “yes” when your gut tells you to say “no?” I can’t be the only person that’s ignored her gut instincts before, so if you’re in the boat with me, pause and ask yourself how you got there. Do you say yes to please others? Do you say yes out of fear? (then come and sit in the seat next to mine). Do you believe that caring for yourself should be the lowest possible priority?

Can you learn to say no? My answer here is “I’m working on it.” Practice saying it in front of the mirror. Write down what you will say. Call a friend and ask them for help practicing. Just figure out how you’ll turn down an offer, be it for a dinner party or a new job, with dignity and confidence.

Imagine your ideal life and write your story. Write it after you’ve done step one – write it as if you were using your whole ass for that one thing that brings you joy.

I’m beginning to see my work for the future – both immediate and big picture. I need to frame all decisions with Ron Swanson’s voice in mind. Some yogis have gurus. For right now, I’ll imagine being Amy Poehler and finding wisdom in simplicity. With my whole ass.