What is an Expedition?
An Expedition is 40 days (in a row!) of flailing.
An Expedition offers an opportunity to deepen into your Shiva Nata practice with the support of ShivaNuts from around the globe.
The more we can support each other in our personal practices, the more the entire world will benefit.
Yes, that’s the power of deep, personal practices.
So, the structure:
Note: this is the structure I’ve adopted for myself. Feel free to change, adapt, make up your own, as you see fit.
- Minimum of 5 minutes per day every day for 40 days. And yes, thinking about Shiva Nata – especially thinking through a pattern – totally counts.
- To write for 5+ minutes after 4-5 practice sessions per week AND to document my process, here or on my personal website, at least twice a week.
Hmmm… that’s it. Simple. Concise. Yes.
Choosing a Theme for the 40 Days:
I’ve found it very helpful to choose a theme for each Expedition.
In the first one, I flailed with Relaxation as my theme. I wanted to explore how my response to stress and conflict might change if I had a stronger relationship with Relaxation. Oh my, did I learn a lot!
In the second Expedition, I chose to work with Commitment. I’d recently gotten married and wanted to learn more about what commitment means to me. Again, wow. So much there for me.
In short, your theme is your theme. You can choose to have a theme for the 40 days. Or not. It’s up to you. What is important is to do whatever will make this process more engaged and fun for you.
Possible Practice Variations:
In general, I like to link various words to the hand positions for enhanced confusion. Words like…
- Different Qualities: I love choosing 4 qualities I want more of my life and using them in my practice. For instance, here are four I’ve played with a lot: sweetness, trust, safety, surrender.
- Using sounds vs actual words: ooh, ah, oh, ow (for instance). Elizabeth and I used sounds one morning and oh my, what fun!
- Mixing things up through things like combining qualities with numbers or sounds with colors, etc.
Using a wide variety of music. If you have any musical suggestions, I’d love to here them!
Interspersing Silence regularly: allowing for practice sessions without music or words. Allowing time and space for inward focus and concentration.
And, of course, there will be variations in Speed – how fast or how slow I move through the positions.
Permissions and Reassurances:
Ok, here’s the catch: it is very easy for things, even super awesome, nourishing things, to turn into big, fat ‘shoulds’ for me. Therefore, I’ve found that giving myself tons of flexibility and permission to re-evaluate are critical to any practice being sustainable.
My intent is to challenge myself through this process – to challenge my ability to commit to a daily practice and to meet any resistances that may emerge… as gently and kindly as possible.
And, of course, all my standard stuff about tuning in and listening to my body still applies. Thus, these permissions:
- It’s ok to mess up, to forget, to not dance every day. The point is to revitalize my practice, to deepen my relationship with myself, and to notice and play with any resistances that show up.
- I give myself absolute permission to change or alter the Expedition if needed. This Expedition isn’t about pushing through. It’s about noticing patterns. It’s about deepening my relationship to my practice. It’s about noticing what comes up for me when I commit to something that challenges me.
- To check in with my body regularly - to not get so caught up in the 40-day thing that I lose sight of what my body is telling me.
- If you want to join me, you can totally create your own Expedition – one that works for you and your lifestyle.
- You have absolute permission to join and then drop out. There will be no laughing, mocking, or punishment. Just happiness for whatever time you do spend here.
- To join even if you do not do Shiva Nata – if you have some practice for which you’d like support and some sort of structure to help motivate you, you are welcome.
- Of course, you can join in at any point. You don’t have to start out on Day 1.
- You can join secretly. No one even needs to know you are participating.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this Expedition is not about forcing, or pushing through, or obligation.
Rather, it’s about supporting each other in deepening our practice and deepening our relationship with ourselves. Oh, and, saving the world. Of course.
Will you join me?
Here’s how: leave a comment on the blog saying you are IN. That’s it.
From there, you are welcome to leave a comment any day and let us know how your Expedition is going. If you choose to write about your flailings on your personal blog, leave a link to each post in the comments for the day as well so that we all can follow along with your adventure.
The next Expedition starts April 1, 2012. Yay!