How Hollister Thomas rocked a yoga practice (and I didn’t)

Hollister Thomas has been doing yoga every morning for the past 2 years. I have not.

A quick background, lest you think she’s a trophy wife whiling away her days between mani pedis and book club brunches:

  • She homeschools 3 kids
  • And homeschools her hubby who works from home, when he’s not jetting off for events
  • Which means she’s frequently abandoned to run everything alone
  • She’s a photographer
  • Oh, and this, she works up to 30 hours a week

Hollister has a few things going on.

Unbeknownst to each other, a couple of years ago we both made commitments to do yoga daily. In fact, we both do yoga in the mornings when we wake up.

So we had eerily similar intentions. With enough other commitments to make a minimalist swoon.

Hollister has a near-perfect two-year track record of doing yoga daily. I have a near-perfect two-year track record of thinking I’m going to do yoga daily . . . but not.

I’ve succeeded and then failed at this enough times to know a master when I see one. 



What is her secret, you ask?

It’s so simple we can name her method after a country-music dance: The Two Step.

  1. She made a real commitment
  2. She made it super easy not to fail


Let’s break that down:
You make a real commitment
We both made a commitment. And we both succeeded for a time. In fact, here’s me bragging about when my yoga practice finally locked in . . . ironically just before it fell apart again.
When you make a real commitment you set up your environment to do the work for you.
You have the yoga mat ready to go. 

You schedule the timeframe into your day.

You lock it into something you already do. (Waking up, in this case.)

You clear the decks of all other commitments.
You start right away.
What I failed to remember is Step Two . . . 



You make it super easy not to fail
This is Hollister’s secret sauce!
Guess what her minimum commitment is? 
20 minutes? 15 minutes? 10 minutes?
Nooooooooo . . . it’s one freaking minute. 
One minute.
You can do anything for one or two minutes. 

When I first started I aimed for a 15- to 20-minute morning practice. I even gave myself a 5-minute minimum. But promptly forgot about that once I locked in my 15-minute morning practice.

So I glided along morning after morning after morning with my yoga . . . until one morning — it happens, gasp — I didn’t have the time.

You miss once and then missing again doesn’t seem so catastrophic. 

Then suddenly you’re me now, left with wispy memories of a better time.

Imagine how glorious you feel on the day you simply can’t do yoga — you don’t have it in you — there’s too much going on — you definitely don’t have the time — sheesh gawd it won’t really matter if you skip it this morning — but you squeeze in one minute anyway . . . 
Because it’s so easy. Super easy in fact.
And you made a commitment.
And what’s one minute anyway?
That’s how Hollister rocked the hell out of her morning yoga practice. And I didn’t.
For you โ€”

Evan Griffith
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The Three

Do you ever think of reducing your priorities into three main themes? Even more, three words?

Strategic thinking guru Jim Collins’ edict haunts me:

“If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”

I have a tendency to moreness. Adding more. Saying yes to more. 

I’ve been countering this tendency for years now. It’s a chaotic dance . . . More! Less! More! Less! Yet overall it’s working, this pendulum method.

The Three

  1. Connection
  2. Creation
  3. Rhythm

These are mine. 

(Today.) 

(Tomorrow I may partake of the dance ๐Ÿ™‚

Succinctly, here’s what’s contained in those three terms:

Connection 

Rich relationships

Spiritual connection

Engaging in a real way with those I encounter as I move through this modern era. Be it salesperson, telemarketer, pool guy, our team, or any of the hundreds of others I make contact with in life, I want to connect in some small way wherever possible.

Creation

Consciously creating at work at Studio E Gallery.

Consciously creating in self-expression. Here and in my creative projects.

Consciously creating a life worth living.

Rhythm

The rhythm is what makes it a song worth singing. It’s all about orchestrating the beats. And making sure to take pauses. For reflection. For renewal. For mindlessness. 

(Because mindlessness is a tool too. A highly effective one.)

We all have our personal rhythm that allows the best to surface. Ignore that rhythm and all that is good sinks away from view. 

For you โ€”

Evan Griffith

What creators do

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The now page movement

This just happens to be my favorite latest photo .
I’m including it here because it’s so now. 

Derek Sivers thought up a cool way of staying current: the Now Page.

He tired of answering the same questions about what he was up to, and conjured a quick reference page for just that question.
And it caught on.
There are now hundreds of Now Pages on websites near you.
I’ve joined the Now Page Movement too
I’m a Nowie. 
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#BathroomArtRocks

I’m a fan of creativity in all its guises:
The way my son earnestly tries to wrangle out of responsibilities

Body paint

Beach wear

Bumper stickers

Earrings

How people wind down a phone conversation

Watching the tricky ways my mind avoids a hard subject

Interpretations of a mass event
Which brings us to bathroom art. I’m intrigued with what proprietors place in bathrooms. To the point I’ve been sharing pics on G+ of various bathrooms with the hashtag #FloridaBathroomArt.
The above image is from a bathroom in Charlotte, North Carolina. At a soul food restaurant.
Get it?
They played with the concept of Old Soles . . . 
Playful. Brilliant. Creative.
You know what bathroom art signifies? 
That people care!
Enough to populate a room dedicated to bodily waste with images that will catch your eye. And presumably enhance your experience.
Look around. That kind of creative thoughtfulness abounds more than you think.
For you โ€”

Evan Griffith

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The way to clarity

You know what I didn’t know I wanted?

I didn’t know I wanted to run an art gallery until nearly a year into a year-long sabbatical. Now it’s the hub of my existence.

I absolutely did not want a child ever, until I was several years into a relationship that changed me. Now I would be grief stricken beyond repair without that woman and kid of mine.

I had no interest in blogging until a friend mentioned it. Several times. Until I realized at least 100 pages of a book I was writing were better suited to blog posts. Now blogging’s my daily creative touchstone. 

This is the way it is for most people. 

Did Steve Jobs set out to become a tech visionary? 

No. At first he was busy pilgrimaging to India, grappling with existential questions. Tech was almost accidental.

Some grow up Mozart. Some grow up Tiger Woods. Where talent and a domineering parent forge the path you will take for life.

Some grow up knowing from an early age what they are meant to do. Like Paramahansa Yogananda, who wrestled against his family for years to become a spiritual devotee . . . They finally relented. It took running away a time or two.

The rest of us find clarity by diving into what calls us in the moment. Until we uncover our greater calling.

Clarity comes from engagement โ€” not thought.

~ Marie Forleo

For you โ€”

Evan Griffith

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A simple meditation: All you need is a stone

Yes, technically this is a shell.
But it will work too ๐Ÿ™‚

Looking for a simple meditation? 

Here’s one I’ve fallen into again lately: Stone meditation.

Because I think I invented it I’m sure it must not be original to me. Probably somewhere in the recesses of my long ago past I read about it. And tried it. And forgot about it. 

Until it resurfaced shiny and new one day. And I claimed it as mine.

Regardless of its origin, here’s how stone meditation works:

1. Find a small stone or rock that fits comfortably in the flat of your palm.

2. Make sure you like the feel and the heft of it. You’ll be holding it for 10 to 20 minutes.

3. Sit comfortably erect. I prefer a quasi-lotus position, but you can place your legs in any position you can hold in a relaxed way.

4. Close your eyes and set an intention for your meditation.

This can be anything, from healing anguish to peacing out to engendering love within you. 

5. Now let that go . . . 

6. Breathe in . . . then out . . . going slower with each round of breath.

7. Gently feel the rock in your hands.

That’s it.

Do this for 10 to 20 minutes. Feel the rock. 

I like to hold the stone with both hands, slowly sensing the surface through my fingertips.

I may turn it over and around, or simply slide the tips of my fingers along its surface in a repetitive motion.

After a while you will cease your exploration of the stone. You will be holding it inertly. 

You will feel the essence of it without needing to sense it through your fingertips anymore. 

As it rests there in your hands it becomes a powerful nothing that was once a something. 

If you want you can revisit your intention and focus it into the void there between your fingers, the void that was once a stone but is now a solid anchor.

You can imagine this stone as a repository for your intention, one that will act as an amplifier . . . one that will release that intention into reality once it’s gathered sufficient force.

I’ve done this.

But more often than not, I’ve gone into stone meditation not seeking a thing. Once I arrive at the stone stillpoint I simply settle there. 

Expansive. 

Quiet. 

Poised. 

Breathing.

Aware of the memory of the stone’s contours but now using it more as a bridge into interior space.

And I’ll sit there.

Until ready to emerge from meditation.

Stone meditation works because it gives your body-mind something to focus on. That it is purely tactile is a bonus. It’s an easy focus . . . an engaging one too.

Beware. You may develop a fondness for this particular stone. You may even want to carry it with you throughout your day, to touch it and recall the stillpoint whenever needed. 

If you do this โ€” if you carry it with you into your life โ€” you can touch it to your heart when the day gets harried, when you crave a connection with the infinite. 

You needn’t even make such a dramatic gesture (touching stone to heart). Just touch it. Touch the stone and you will feel a bit of the fullness you experienced in meditation. It’s grounding. 

Freeing too. 

It frees you for a moment from the grip of tension. And that allows you to re-enter your day with renewed vigor.

Maybe feeling a little experimental too. So you can lightly experiment your way into a better place, stone or no stone.

For you โ€”

Evan Griffith
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What is New Thought?

A bumper sticker so good and so apt I’ve used it twice
(this month)

Did you see this week’s post on Mollie Player’s review of Burn Baby Burn and wonder what in bloody hell is New Thought?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, here’s my take on New Thought basics

— The intensity of your expectations spark a call and response from Life. 

— These wispy thought things influence reality far more than we give credit. 

— We are at play in a loving, growth-oriented greater reality. Our experience mirrors our level of awareness. 

In essence we are flagellates immersed in a divine sea, learning to swim.


I write about these themes because they compel me. How to navigate toward better is what I most need to learn. Passing along what I’m grappling with is a surprisingly effective way to deepen my own understanding.

Judging from the feedback I’ve received in emails, it’s helpful to others as well. Which is gratifying.

You might find this useful too. 


A brief, unauthorized history of New Thought 
(in bullet points without bullets) (!)

The fundamental ideas inherent to New Thought came into focus with Phineas Quimby in the mid 1800s 

Quimby started out as a mesmerist, the precursor to modern-day hypnotism. Over time he moved away from mesmerism as he became convinced that divinity is expressed in every individual . . . and it is one’s mind and what it accepts as true that forms our experience. 

In his lifetime Quimby gained fame as an exceptional healer. Thousands came to him for healing through his spiritual mind technique.

New Thought takes as its heritage concepts promoted by the Transcendentalists, particularly the personal-spiritual writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Emerson in turn was inspired by new-to-America translations of Hindu texts. 

A Unitarian minister, Emerson merged Christian ideals with American individualism and Indian spiritual tenets

For example: All humans are spiritual beings at their core; all souls are interconnected to One Great Soul . . . 

This was a radical departure from pervasive messages in the culture before that time. Specifically messages focused on sin and Hell and damnation . . . ) 

Students of Quimby’s spread his ideas throughout the U.S., where they attained great popularity after his death. 

Several new religious movements spawned from his ideas: Unity, Religious Science, what is now called the Center for Spiritual Living, and Christian Science among others.  

Simultaneously the self-transformation ideas weaseled their way into the Human Potential/Self Help movement gaining force in the latter half of the 1800s. It is also commonly referred to as Positive Thinking. 

Prosperity Gospel teachings borrowed heavily from New Thought ideas as well. (Joel Osteen is a current proponent of similar themes in his wildly popular weekly sermons.) 

The Law of Attraction movement sprang from New Thought roots. 

A couple branches of psychology influenced by New Thought principles should be noted: Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Humanistic Psychology (with a core principle that all people are inherently good), and Transpersonal Psychology all have some root tendrils in New Thought principles. 

Here at Freaky Beautiful we’re steeped in these principles. This site revels in creativity and connection

The connection side encompasses the trifecta for a successfully creative life: soul connection, personal reflection and relationships.

Everything we talk about here โ€” from envisioning to creating something meaningful in your life โ€” springs from the idea that we can.

That we can access The Power for transformation.

That we can imagine an experience . . . and then find a way into that imagined experience. 

It doesn’t matter what it is: A loverly partnership, a creative approach to life, a vibrant body, an engaged career, rich relationships . . . the principle of moving in joy toward a vision works. 

There’s nothing better than this: Loving where you are while relishing where you’re going. Feeling connected all the way.

For you โ€”

Evan Griffith
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Check out this little book: 

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Mollie Player on Burn Baby Burn

Hop on over to Mollie Player’s page today if you have a moment and check out this quick review of Burn Baby Burn.

From there it’s an easy sidestep to read some of her other reviews in her New Thought book series. 

These succinct pieces reel you in. I think you’ll especially enjoy the excerpts Mollie deploys. They give you a real sense of the author’s voice . . . and the messages that make each book special. 

Her focus is on contemporary and practical spiritual messages — I couldn’t be prouder to be featured among some of these instant classics.

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Joy is a verb

My favorite mantra these days is, Joy through me.

I’m asking my impish OmJah spirit to express joy through me. From the inner to the outer . . . and to see it everywhere . . . to feel the joy I know is out there in the world . . . and to let it in.
Here I use joy as a verb. Because joy is a verb!
Joy is active. Joy is lived. Joy is experience in its highest mode. 
Joy contains all that we treasure most. In joy is love. In joy is compassion and spontaneity and larkfulness.
Joy is active. Joy creates.
Joy transforms a face, a moment, a roadblock. 
Joy transmits. Joy celebrates. Joy expresses!
Joy through me today, I say. 
Joy through me now, I ask whether I’m feeling it or not.
It is as much a prayer request as it is an appreciative yelp of thankfulness. 
When joy is in me the circle is complete. The One and the many are joined.

For you โ€”

Evan Griffith
__________________________
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When your practice falls apart: The power of 15

We’ve been especially busy in our art business. Which is a good thing of course. Business is very close to busyness. When there’s not much busyness you fear for your business.

In the end-of-season hubbub my creative practice fell apart.


So I’m doing the one thing I’ve done so many times before to repair the damage. Recommitting to my daily practice . . . 15 minutes at a time.

An hour just seemed so insurmountable. Like when?!

So 15 minutes to the rescue.

And guess what? Those 15 minutes hypnotically led to an hour. It led me by the nose hairs . . . not that I have nose hairs you can grab onto . . . But really, who can stop when you’ve finally got the big mo going?

15 minutes is tricky that way. 15 minutes is sneaky and I like it. 15 minutes will sweet talk you into more. Like your favorite snack. Or lover or social media stream.

And if I hadn’t gone further than 15 minutes?

That would have been OK too. It would have been a start. Maybe I would have gone 15 plus 15 the next time.

But I didn’t ๐Ÿ™‚ . . . I went the full monty, 15 plus 15 plus 15 plus 15. 


1/24th of a day, my friend.


15 minutes is your friend with benefits. 15 minutes is your way out of the collapse of your routine โ€” or your way into something you want to start.

I’ll even help. 

Think of something that could use a push, something that could use the spell-casting power of 15.

What is it? 

What is that activity you’ve been putting off?

I’ll bet you have 15 minutes right now . . . you’re here reading, aren’t you? What will you really be doing in 15 minutes? You know you’re probably skipping over to some other click-enticing part of the internet. 

Or planning to read more here at FreakyBeautiful.com. 

But don’t. 

Not today.

It’s time to put the internet down.

Me and every other byte of the internet will be here when you get back. We’ll miss you of course. We’ll be thinking of you . . . 

We’ll be thinking, Damn, you did it. You blew us off for something meaningful! Something energizing even. Something necessary.

So we won’t take it personally. 

Now off with you.

Get ready . . . 

Your 15 minutes starts in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 

For you โ€”

Evan Griffith

What creators do

__________________________
Click here to join the fast-growing subscriber list, for the best of Freaky Beautiful, once-ish a month, maybe.

Oh, and check out this little book about expressing love energy: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

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