I just wrote a post that as usual felt too long and rambling. Here’s the short version.
The practice of yoga has strangely been about building a practice and proving to myself that I have the self discipline to keep something up on a daily basis consistently. Concentration, discipline, commitment and showing up in whatever shape or mood to the mat. Doing yoga for 20-30 minutes in not ideal situations, with the TV on or music, with other people talking or doing things, in small corners of places, in the dark outdoors or indoors, at work, even in regular clothes when there’s no time to change into “yoga clothes”.
Other forms of self care and exercise have not worked out, whether adding exercises, going running, changing nutrition to eat really healthy, all have been taken up and given up after a while, but through it all, I’ve kept up my yoga on my own.
In July I started doing a comic strip that I decided was a daily comic; I was fed up with the graphic novel that I’d started in 2000 and turned into a failure monster and decided to do the comic while trying to get back into the graphic novel. I then gave up on the graphic novel and decided to leave it and be ok if I never picked it up again, but to commit to the comic strip instead.
Now, about six months into the comic strip, I noticed a lot of similarities to the practice of yoga. You commit to do it daily and it’s something you can get done quickly but have to keep up regularly, even if you skip it here or there. Basically, I have done a comic for each weekday and one comic for the weekend since July.
I noticed how you show up to it and follow some structures and rules. Like having the mat and doing some kind of sequence and focusing on it. The comic involves fitting something into few panels, writing the name of the comic strip and the date. I’ve tried different characters and types of drawing. I also got into the habit of making Tuesdays a day to focus on affirmations and Thursdays to focus on “Gender”. Some days I like the comic and feel good about it. Other days, I’m very bored with it and feel like I don’t have much to put in it, but I do it anyway. Other days I get really inspired and come up with ideas for several comics. Every once in a while I have a great breakthrough and feel really good about it, but most days it’s just, got to do today’s comic, scan it and post it on Instagram.
It’s a practice and a consistent commitment to show up and have enough faith in yourself to do something and then move on. The feeling of community and support of others is the icing on the cake from posting the comic on Instagram. As I do it for my personal life, it’s not something anyone has access to so there’s a good boundary there. The comic is like self care and doing it may enhance my doing my job but it is separate from my other life. Family members do not see it, but many friends do. Mostly it’s people I do not know. There is inspiration from others the way some people feel from going to a yoga class. While my yoga practice is mostly done alone and sometimes with one or two other people, my comic is something I put out there and get support from others.
These two practices can sustain me when I feel unproductive and unsuccessful in other areas of life. It feels good to know I’ve kept up the comic for 6 months more than thinking about the comic being really great or good enough or not that great. It’s the process that matters more than the product. The comic even can feel like a spiritual practice in an odd way.