Week 11 – The Practice

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    Years ago I joined a gym in an effort to get stronger, leaner and run faster and farther. In the initial phase of my membership, I was motivated and had little trouble with showing up and getting my workouts in. But then my job changed, and I moved, and my relationship was on the rocks and before long the last thing I had time, or the energy for, was my workouts, my goals or myself. 

    Then I met some people and things quickly turned around. 

    Bright and early, two to three mornings each week, a small gaggle of fellow gym goers and I would meet for an hour long gruelling bootcamp workout. The workouts were intense and many mornings I’d want to pull the covers over my head and drift back to sleep. But the camaraderie and answerability of that group made me get up and get at it week after week. As much as it was my personal health and wellness goals I was after, it was our group and the commitment we had made to each other that had me showing up and making my goals a reality.

    Yogically speaking, this idea of ‘showing up’ is rooted in the concept of abhyāsa. “Abhyāsa means the effort to practice in the sense of sticking with a repeating or replicating pattern”, to quote renowned yoga teacher Richard Freeman. With so many commitments and things to do at work and home, showing up for ourselves CAN and IS a freakin’ hard thing to do. And yet showing up for ourselves gives us the opportunity to replenish that which has been depleted. Kind of like making sure there is money in your bank account before trying to make a purchase with a debit card. 

    I’m the kind of person that when life throws its curve balls, I need a kickstart to re-inject energy and life into my actions towards my goals. I need an accountability partner. Someone who is not only there for me, but who equally expects and deserves my energy and consistency to show up for them. Having someone expecting me to be there for them literally forces me to show up. In showing up, the work gets done.

    Let’s face it, 2020 was one heck of a curve ball for us all. After being open for only nine months of business operations and then forced closed for three, plus the flip-flopping of open/close after that, my energy, my head and my heart was feeling pretty depleted on the stance and success of my dream. Luckily for me, an opportunity arose a few months back with a fellow mom-preneur, who, like myself, needed an accountability partner. We agreed to pair up and support each other with the specific goals we had laid out in our unique businesses. Now, over weekly ZOOM calls, we support each other by celebrating our successes, reassessing any short-comings, and discussing reconfigurations plans for the week ahead. Even though I don’t always complete everything I’ve set out to each week, the fifteen minute calls have been beyond motivational. They have helped me accomplish more stuff on what seems to be an endless checklist of tasks, responsibilities and reconfigurations practices.

    Author and teacher Richard Rosen writes this, “Abhyāsa builds on itself, just as a ball rolling downhill picks up momentum; the more we practice, the more we want to practice, and the faster we reach our destination.”  Pulling in an accountability partner right now has been a saviour for me. Interestingly, as much as this new partnership is business related, the two of us also ensure that each week we dedicate time for ourselves by scheduling in physical activity and mental health breaks, as well as other simple self care practices that we know we need to do in order to feel and be our best. Somehow, we as a society, have gotten to the point where we expect the storage banks of our health and vitality to be full without giving them time, energy and practices to be so. Stacy and I are working to change that so we can show up for ourselves AND our businesses.

    What about you? Do you have an accountability partner or group? What does that look like? And how do they help and support you in your goals and dreams?