Tilling the Soul in 66 Days.
It was time to implement a new behavior. I had spent too long trying to march to the beat of everyone else’s drummer.
Time for me to choose my non-negotiables, my default programming, based on what I had researched and knew, rather than live my life by mindless rote and repetition.
I had been lying on my Yoga mat on the huge patio outside my front door, listening to my YouTube morning playlist, meditations, new modalities, latest research on manifesting the path to living your life from passion and the like, staring at the palm trees, rolling around on my tennis ball, when I heard that the latest research determines that 66 days is the new number.
The one. The length of time, science now proves, that it takes to create a habit. I mean, let’s face it, we are beings that predominantly act by sheer habit, because we’ve been indoctrinated to perform a certain way. We don’t, for the most part, premeditatively make our thoughtless, bad choices. They are behaviors, learned and formed perhaps without research, without knowing the long-term ramifications.
We mindlessly perform many activities each day. I pondered all the information I had gathered for a week or two, and decided to reactivate my spine of steel, grab fortitude by the hand, and go the distance.
66 days, I can do it. I made a list.
I had to till my soul.
Of course, there was a list.
It was sizable but not daunting.
Of course, I started on a Monday.
I embarked on my mission that would deliver me so much closer to my desired life of service to at-risk adolescents. I woke up at 5 am, meditated, walked a mile, journaled while drinking my coffee, spent 90 minutes writing in my book Meant to be Here, then commenced with my homework (receiving my BA in Psych with a concentration in children and adolescents in a few months).
As the days passed, I was subconsciously honing my list (cultivating). I had lofty goals, I did. I fancied myself the ultimate warrior for the light.
I mean, how many people restarted their lives on top of a mountain in Puerto Rico, detoxing from 11 heavy hitting, psychotropic medications, with currently no anxiety and no depression, taking steps to become the highest expression of themselves, after spending two years in and out of psych hospitals with suicidal depression? I know there must be many more, but not here.
Armed with my warrior’s spirit, I continued. Choosing to journey into more of the unknown to form new, empowering habits. To embrace my right to be authentic and magnificent, returning to whom I was born to be, before I iv’d the societal Kool-Aid. I was nudged to share the journey, and vlogged almost every day on Facebook.
The first three weeks (planting the seeds) were for utilizing my memory and tenacity. I printed out the list of new habits and hung it on my bedroom wall. I wanted to see it as soon as I opened my eyes. I placed pictures of my grandpeeps everywhere to counteract any doubts, their piercing eyes and contagious smiles seemed to say, “Noni, you’ve got this.”
The vlogging kept me mindful, and exploratory about the feelings and trepidation that rose as my ego realized there were changes coming.
The second three weeks (germination) were about giving in to the repetition and not getting fed up with the whole ordeal. I was enjoying the new processes, and had already begun to reap the benefits of my new empowering almost-habits. There were fears surfacing, but I honored them. I took the time to watch and learn from them without getting attached to the stories, letting them drift by (courtesy of meditation).
The last three weeks (repotting and surrendering to the growth process) were the solidification of the new, almost independent habits. They were surviving on their own now. I had felt them take root after nurturing the seedlings. They had taken hold.
My final day loomed, and I totally missed it. I was busy living life, acclimating to all the shifts that had occurred because of my new habits. It did not take 66 days to experience a sampling of the benefits which at first seemed quite disruptive and a little scary, but there it was.
The results of my 66 days closer to me were:
Exercise: walking 1 mile, 6 days a week, to 5 miles, 6 days of week upon completion.
Meditation: 20 minutes, 6 days a week
Education: expose myself to something mind- and consciousness-expanding, 6 days a week.
Writing: 6 days a week
I have maintained these habits since I began tilling my soul (66 days to higher self-expression) and haven’t missed any days except for two (extenuating circumstances). I made up for those two days on my free Sundays. My life would feel incomplete without my chosen, new and meaningful habits.
Words to the wise: when making your list of behaviors to implement, don’t overdo it. It’s very easy to get carried away. Hone and refine your list to the non-negotiables that your intuition nudges you towards, they are the most important.
If a few things on your list don’t make it (just yet), perhaps they weren’t meant to, so forgive yourself and move on to implement the ones that did.
We get to choose now, we are no longer at the mercy of broken, wounded, inexperienced young parents or a sick society, we get to make new choices and habits with which to flourish.
How amazing is that?
Shanti Shaharazade is a senior in college on the cusp of earning her Bachelors in Psychology with a concentration in children and adolescents, which perfectly places her directly in line with being an ambassador for at-risk teenagers. She is a mother of three, noni of five grandpeeps, and has overcome many obstacles and transcended many contractions birthing higher expressions of herself necessary to be of the greatest service. She is not just a survivor of sexual traumas, but also lived as a homeless teenager on the streets of NYC, becoming a battered wife, single mother, enraged woman, to surviving two suicide attempts, learning how to live again with constant and profound gratitude in order to contribute to the world in the way only she can now, as an empowered goddess.