The following article was published on www.oregonsportsnews.com on 3 July, 2013. 

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Let’s call this an experiment.

An experiment of gratitude; of testing myself and my abilities; my capabilities; my willingness; my willpower; my independence, and my inner strength. Mostly, though, this is an experiment of my patience.

I’ve said before that I’m undoubtedly a flawed human being and one virtue truly lacking in my life is patience. I’m constantly working on it; however, in my self-imposed experiment, I’m focusing on something else as well: habits.

I’ve started thinking a lot about habits lately and here’s the cool thing about them: creating habits is habit forming. Once I start making habits – hopefully good ones – that leads me to create other positive life choices and to make them a habit in my life.

Coming back to the United States and trying to etch out a path for myself has been aninteresting transition, which has including an ebbing and flowing yoga practice and moments of sedentariness mixed with weeks of regular exercise.

One of the habits I’m trying to enforce in my life is to not focus on lack, but instead on abundance. What am I capable of giving? What are all of my amazing attributes that make me feel empowered, strong, courageous, and are truly my great qualities which I should allow to shine through to the world rather than masking with negative thoughts and energy?

I can create habits of thinking how much I hate people, for example, or I can change those thoughts and perceptions, making them as ridiculous as I want. “So-and-so is a d-bag and can suck it,” can simply transform into “So-and-so must be busy saving kittens and teaching at-risk youths; that’s why he hasn’t called me back for a month. Namaste!

Just as easily, I can create a habit of blaming my lack of balance on outside forces, like the gravitational pull of the Super Moon, or I can start practicing like it ain’t no thang. Why can’t I re-create the habit of standing on one leg in vrksasana while pouring myself coffee or balancing in dancer’s pose while brushing my teeth? Because guess what? That’s just happened. It just takes some habit forming.

This is my experiment. To honor myself; to notice everything worth noticing in life; and to not only create the habit of positive thinking, but positive motion.

“The mind is potential energy,” Deepak Chopra explains, “and because of this we can change our physical world simply by changing our thoughts and beliefs…”

Anyone with a regular and consistent physical practice who suddenly halts their daily regimen knows the mental effects are no joke. Re-creating positive thoughts in order to get out of that negative mindset and back to your can-do attitude is essential. Positivity breeds positivity. It’s about training the brain to no longer breed negative energy.

When I moved to Korea, I knew it would be an adjustment. I watched a lot of TED Talks and read lots of inspirational blogs. They talked about gratitude and creating habits. I started writing down three things I was grateful for everyday, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, and practicing yoga. I was determined to be happy in this new and foreign place. It’s all coming back to me now as I once again feel foreign and the need to be happy and at peace in America.

The key to habits is that they take persistence. Sure you can cheat, but if you do, you are the one who will know.

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