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Tapping in

April 21, 2011

The idea of reinventing ourselves is a powerful one. We all carry around our pasts to some extent, and the thought of creating a new persona and starting fresh appeals to a lot of people, whatever their reasons may be. But what if you could leave all your proverbial baggage,  (bad choices, bad relationships, bad hairstyles),  at a lost luggage stand somewhere and just walk away to create a new you from scratch. Where would you begin?

Wheeeee!

Do you remember what this feels like?

A good place to start  from is who you were when you were about 5 years old. I think a lot of our passions are already established in us by this point. We loved space, animals, dancing, running, singing, painting, jumping with….JOY. Then what happened? Well, it wasn’t cool, probably. Then you had to grow up and get a real job……..

By now, your cumulative experiences have shaped you, which is great, yes, but they have also created a certain identity for you that you can feel stuck with. You know, like “Oh, I would LOVE to try [insert here: snowboarding/scuba-diving/writing a novel…] but it’s just not me. Can you imagine me, on a snowboard?” Well….Yes actually. And if you can imagine it, you can achieve it.

But it’s not that easy, is it?

We’ve worked hard to get to this version of our grown-up self, and it’s not that simple to make changes. Those around us may not be helping, either. We all have friends that we’ve kept because we share some great history, old relationships and trust, etc. But sometimes they are not the best people to motivate us into changing or growing because, luckily for us I suppose, they love us just the way we are!

This, I think, is why online networking sites are so successful. I don’t mean Facebook, I mean the sites that connect people with the same passions. Whatever your interest, if you don’t have friends around you that share it, you can turn to the Internet. There you can track your progress, share your stories, and most important, get positive feedback from complete strangers who relate to what you’re trying to do, because they are doing it too.

I have been meaning to get back into running after a 2 year break, but I don’t really have any friends living near me who run (that I know of… ) Then I read this amazing book by Christopher McDougall called Born to Run which has inspired me to try to rediscover the joy in running. Three days ago, I discovered a site called Daily Mile.  It’s sole purpose is for runners to track their own mileage and give each other motivation to stick with their training. Within minutes of signing up, you are connected to whole community of happy, energetic people who are obsessed with running, and are there to convert you too. Guess what happened then: I rushed out and ran 5k 🙂 . Then I came home and posted it to my page, and in no time, I had people cheering me on! No cynics, no sarcasm, just sincere encouragement from people who get it.

To me this one of the great powers of the Internet and one which we are finally making good use of. The revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia are obviously one of the most impressive examples of the power of social networking,  but it can be life-changing on a smaller personal level as well.  My brother-in-law calls it ‘digital motivation’, and here is why I think it works:

  • A network for typically solitary activities, like running, cooking, or reading lets you participate in conversations that team players get to have at their golf club, basketball court, etc..
  • These groups are self-sustaining. People come for the encouragement, find it, and are then happy to give it back to others, creating a positive feedback loop.
  • These communities are only interested in the particular dimension of you as a fellow dieter, runner, knitter, cook, or whatever, and not in the least in your other personal details.
  • Free from the self-censorship that comes from, say, your gender/background/community, you can focus on growing in a supportive environment.
  • And of course, accountability. Patrick Reynolds, a yoga instructor and personal trainer based in Japan,  founded the Peak Condition Project, in which participants must blog daily about their progress. I know people who have completed his program, the results are pretty amazing. He says, “Transparency brings accountability. It is when we feel like we’re alone and no one cares if we quit that we quit”.

I have lots more to say on this topic but I’ve rambled enough for one day.

But just think about this, what did you do with JOY as a child, that you could tap into again?

Don’t delay. Find the time and dive in.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. NAli permalink
    April 21, 2011 1:56 pm

    Great post! I was telling L that I really enjoy your topics and the way you write; succinct, logical, humorous, and to the point! She goes “well yeah hello, westminister, brown, oxford..”
    then T nods his head and goes, “yea, mama is telling the truth!”

  2. April 21, 2011 2:44 pm

    That is amazing that there is a whole running community on line, who knew?! That is so encouraging. i have just discovered all of the cool entrepreneurs and bloggers on line that suport each other. it is very frustrating to me to have friends that don’t get what I’m trying to accomplish, so I’m making and finding new, like-minded friendships. 🙂

  3. June 11, 2011 1:03 am

    And just like that you encouraged me ❤ thank you this post was awesome

  4. December 8, 2011 4:56 pm

    Hi Hana,

    I came across your blog from your comment on Danielle’s blog. This post title “Tapping In” definitely resonates with my current stage of trying to explore, change and grow. I cannot even describe how much I appreciate this post, truly I don’t have the words but sincere appreciation. As I’ve been an avid runner in my past life (just a few years ago but seems decades ago) before yoga, I’m considering some changes to switch up or “tap in” the way I’ve been running in the last 2-3 years: treadmill indoor to grass/pavement/dirt outdoor, when weather permits), I’ll definitely look into Daily Mile website you mentioned.

    I’ve also read your other post about your 30-day yoga endeavor. It’s very inspiring, as I’m also continuously learning about acceptance and letting go. It’s very difficult but so needed. One of the main reasons I started my current blog is to document and reflect on what I’m learning from yoga, and it’s sometimes scary for me to write and share my thoughts, but that’s the good stuff, what really matters. Transparency means accountability. AHHH! I feel like I have so much to say but maybe I should go back to my blog to write there instead 🙂 But thank you for sharing your words and you worlds…

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