Pencil It In!

I guess the phrase “pencil it in” is a bit anachronistic.

Sadly, it seems not as many people use a paper calendar these days.

Do you?

I do!

I like the tactile experience of using pencils.

Though I have to say that the only pencil I like to use because the erasers are the BEST is Ticonderoga. You never have to worry about that icky slick swish smearing a smudge on the page like you get with a sub-par pencil eraser head (which is the eraser/paper equivalent to nails on a chalkboard, am I right?)

I’ve used paper calendars for years — seeing the whole week in one spread provides just the right perspective for me – but this year I was persuaded (maybe it’s more accurate to say inspired!) to buy a “planner” ‘cuz I’m paying more attention to long-term goal setting and all that entails.

My planner has the weeklong view of the calendar plus places to write down my goals and schedule out action steps. This exercise collates all my “to do’s” within the pages of this book so I don’t have a million notes scrolled with lists all over the place!

And all this consolidation contributes to my other mission this year to declutter and re-organize areas in my home (including doing things like folding all my clothes into little squares – I’m hooked on the Konmari method!)

“Tidying” up takes my yoga practice off the mat and into my world.

I’m trying to be more conscious of how I spend my time and money, be more clear about and invest in my priorities in life, and be more present with what my plans are for my day, my week, month, season, even my year, … not to mention the relief in being able to easily find things when I need them!

I’m not perfect at it, but to be sure, creating less distraction does seem to = a calmer mind.

A calm mind is, after all, the ultimate goal of yoga as stated in the Yoga Sutra.

Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah
~ Yoga Sutra I:2

The second chapter of the Yoga Sutra spells out the personal observances we can put into practice that relate to developing our inner world of calm – they are called “niyamas” in Sanskrit.

The ways the niyamas are manifesting for me can be seen in my new focus on all things tidy (like these niyamas are some ancient Marie Kondo lessons) :

  • Saucha: keeping my physical and emotional environment as clean and orderly as possible
  • Santosha: finding contentment (sparking joy!?) in what is in front of me, knowing my heart is in the game fully and I have the power to change things when I’m ready to let go
  • Tapasself-discipline to use my planner diligently and keep practicing (… and…folding :->)
  • Svadhyayaself-study and inner exploration – noticing how I excel at some forms of discipline but also rebel wholeheartedly against others (like…uh…folding :->)
  • Ishvara Pranidhanasurrendering to the messes of living in a household and a world that doesn’t completely revolve around me and my attempts at tidiness


Fwiw, my husband thinks it’s nuts that I still use a paper calendar, but he’s 100% on board with the decluttering and re-organizing. 🙂

Regardless of whether you use a paper calendar or digital equivalent, how far ahead do you feel comfortable planning to get at least your schedule in order and aligned with your priorities?

What are your goals this year?

What practices can you adopt in different facets of your life to calm your mind? ‘Cuz as you might be able to tell by now, “calming your mind” isn’t just about learning to meditate.

If your health, personal growth, and gaining deeper insight from your yoga practice are things you want to invest your time and money in this year, please consider taking one or more of the workshops I’m offering this year. Feel free to pencil ’em in. 😉


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