Practice

The Uniqueness of July

This upcoming month there is a Very Unusual Event occurring. Namely, starting the evening of the 1st of July through the 31st, I will be in Seattle. At home. It’s the only month in this year – past or future – that I will not be traveling for a significant distance.

courtesy Paparutzi (FlickrCC)
Hurray for Home!

A Special Opportunity

Aside from looking forward to the ability to continue to plant roots in my new hometown, this presents a chance to create a little personal laboratory. Popular theory has it that it takes 21 days of practice, give or take, to set a new habit in place. I’ve got a whopping 31! I can not only set a habit, but I can reinforce it with an extra week!

I’m not going to make the mistake of trying to do a whole bunch of habits at once – I’ve read too many Zen Habits and know better. But…I do have the time, the space, the chance for one. Room to cultivate  a practice for myself.

Which One?

But here’s where it gets interesting: what habit should I cultivate?

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know my methods. You know some of my foibles and such. Or maybe you just have some idea of some particular practice you think would be interesting to hear about during the month of July.

Some parameters:

  • It can’t be very expensive (no memberships to clubs, gyms, or investment in equipment or the like).
  • It can’t be obviously bad for me (I’m not taking up smoking, for example)
  • It has to be doable within the city limits of Seattle (both pragmatically and theoretically)

On my end, I will pledge to write about the experience, let you know if it’s hard to put in place, what benefits or drawbacks I find from it.

There you are, dear readers. It can be mental, physical, heck, even, emotional (scary!). Put your suggestion in the comments, I’ll vet them based on both feasibility and popularity (so if you see one you like, speak up!) and we’ll see what happens.

8 thoughts on “The Uniqueness of July”

  1. Dietary: vegan, gluten free, raw, clean, home cooked, paleo, vegetarian

    Exercise: daily walk, daily yoga, daily body weight exercises, 31 days no car (even begged or borrowed), 31 Seattle area bike trails

    Mental: meditation, gratitude journal, 1000 words a day, email to a different friend every day, 31 love stories/anecdotes (true or otherwise)

    Fun: 31 coffee shops or 31 decaffeinated Seattle sites

    Go big! It’s only 31 days. Can’t wait to follow along (and/or accept the challenge).

    1. Hmmm. 31 Love Stories sounds kind of neat (though I’d have to match it with other writing, as I’ve promised my editor my novel draft will be done by the end of July). I’ve also considered letter-writing (which I think I’d prefer to the email idea) as a good one.

      31 days without a car is too easy (already done that a few times this year) and unfortunately my body has a few injuries now that prevent me from doing things like Dirty Yoga.

      31 coffee shops…hmm. 31 decaffeinated sites is really neat (but a part of me screams “WHY?” and sips my Americano).

  2. Crying. maybe not every day but at least once a week. Not as big in logistical terms as more daily work routines, but in my experience worth the different kinds of work it takes.

    1. Emma,

      Wow, that’s a very interesting one. I’m curious as to what the benefits are, in your opinion? I’m also not sure if that would be really easy or really hard to actually accomplish…

      1. re: Benefits
        That depends on your scientific standards of evidence. Apparently, evolutionary biologists (our modern versions of oracles) have concluded that crying lowers defenses and signals vulnerability, binds us to friends and family, and thus improves group cohesion. (also apparently if you cry when facing an enemy they are less likely to eat you – a human enemy at least).
        Personally, I always feel better after I cry. It’s a tremendous relief. It can also be a form of self-discovery, spending time with parts of yourself that are usually hidden (in shame, propriety, or just plain willful ignorance). It’s a time when I feel intensely alone – focusing inward, really spending time with myself – and also intensely surrounded by everyone who’s ever “made” me cry, which gives me a chance to forgive myself and those other people. Talk about relief!
        If you can cry in the company of someone who loves you, they get the amazing gift of having seen you through it and getting to accept and love you even more.

        re: difficulty of implementation

        You can probably tell that this isn’t difficult for me at all! But I think we all know the particular triggers that will push us over that edge – certain movies, music or images, looking over writings from the past, even hearing some sad news from someone else we love. This might seem disgustingly exploitative, but I can sometimes work on imagining talking to someone in a horrible situation – famine, genocide, drug addiction, sexual abuse, homelessness – and empathizing with them enough to take on some of the horrors of their experiences. This might make me a privileged jerk but I comfort myself in the usual privileged jerk way of assuring myself that people in these situations won’t actually be helped by my not self-servingly feeling sorrow on their behalf.

        I don’t know how easy or hard it would be for you. But isn’t it tempting to find out!?

  3. Photo a day is a pretty easy one, but might change your perspective a little as you look for The Photo of the Day.

    Haiku a day?

    Or both, photo with Haiku a day to push you to reflect on one moment of each day.

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