It’s Christmas Day here in Austin, Texas, USA. And you know what that means for this Jewd (Jewish + Dude = Jewd — Trademark me!): Another year of daily 30 minutes (or more) of yoga has come to a close, and another begins. Lucky number seven. Yoga is second nature to me now, but in those first days and weeks, I didn’t know how long I would continue, or if it would stick at all. I was just taking it a day at a time, and in a way, I still do. But it has stuck (sort of like my sticky mat), for over 2,500 days, which is nothing short of a miracle for A Dude. Which needs replacing, and Harry Hanukkah and that other guy with the red suit didn’t bring me one… again. Sigh… deep breath in, deep breath out. But given my other streaks in biking, walking and writing, all that yoga is no small thing and deserves some recognition, I think you’ll agree.
Here’s what I wrote about today’s event in my Strava fitness app notes:
Back on May 30, 2019, I wrote a post titled 2,000 Consecutive Days of Yoga: Oh Yes, I Did It! Now I’ve come to another round number, over a year later. As of October 28, 2020 (my mother’s birthday — congratulations to her for her milestone!), I completed 2,500 days of yoga in a row. I began on December 6, 2013, but since I had to take two days off a few weeks later, my true anniversary is Christmas Day. I didn’t begin tracking it until several years later with Insight Meditation Timer. It took many years after spending a summer at a yoga center, but I finally developed a regular yoga practice and somehow, miraculously, have stuck with it. Starting streaks and maintaining them is kinda what we do here at A Dude Abikes, so grab your sticky mat and stick with me while we talk about my sticking with yoga.
Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk born in France who moved to Kentucky. He wrote over 60 books, encouraged inter-religious dialog with the likes of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and others and advocated for pacifism and social justice. He died in 1968 in his early 50’s when he accidentally was electrocuted stepping out of his shower where a running fan had fallen over. (Some say he was assassinated by the CIA.) While I’ve not read his work, I’ve seen this quote below before. And it seems more relevant than ever in 2019.
Ramadan is the month-long holiday of day-time fasting, prayer and other practices observed by people of the Muslim faith. It ended yesterday, making today Eid al-Fitr. What does that have to do with me and bicycling? I’m glad you asked, so I’ll tell you. Recently I wrote about self-compassion. And then I met a man on a bike ride who was only riding at night. When asked why, he said it was because he was observing Ramadan. No water or food until nightfall, and then biking? To me that was impressive because it showed some serious dedication to both his religion and his sport. He’s a Nigerian living in Texas.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Kenya, a fellow blogger posted a story about encountering a poor woman on the street. She too is an African Muslim who was observing Ramadan. But despite the blogger being charitable and giving away some of her money, the beggar still berated her, and told her it was not enough. One of the teachings of Islam is to be additionally generous during this month, and so she grappled with doing that but not receiving the gratitude she expected. The two encounters were too coincidental not to share.
After a few weeks in the country, today it was time to head back to the city. I’m still unpacking and will be for some time, but I really enjoyed the experience of living in a cabin in the woods with peace, quiet and a dog named Buddy. It was generally a great time and no coyotes or bobcats ate us, so that was great. While the reason for being there was not great at all, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to have the time to write this blog and interacting with other bloggers. Thanks to everyone who has been liking, commenting and following, but more importantly, actually reading what I write. Continue reading →