Starting in late-November, my home yoga practice, never that strong to begin with, fell off. I also stopped going to group class as much which is sad because I love going to group classes. I became too lazy to update this site.

My excuse? Our new puppy. My yoga became my puppy. Staying mindful and calm in the midst of her adolescent willfulness required all the knowledge and self-awareness I’ve gleaned from my years of yoga and meditation.

The training manuals say that dogs are so in tune with your mental state, any negativity or frustration on the human’s part will become immediately apparent, and the dog will no longer have fun or see you as a calm collected leader. For example, during the recall (as in, coming when called), the dog will more likely bound happily over to you  if she doesn’t expect to be reprimanded, if she anticipates a treat or some affection or thinks that you’ll be happy to see her.

It took much of my willpower, self awareness, and mental energy to stay positive in the moments when she refused to walk outside, refused to wear a harness, peed on the floor, was too scared to leave the vestibule of the building, refused to get her precious paws wet when it rained. I couldn’t get frustrated. I had to make believe that it would be so much fun if she took a walk in the cold rain to take a dump.

And it works!

I’ve learned a lot about how to watch my emotional state.

And, as valuable as it has been, it’s been an excuse. Puppy–pleasurable and life affirming she may be–is my excuse for nearly two months of lazy yoga and not writing. Five minutes of meditation can be done while puppy is eating. One hour of writing can be done while puppy is napping.

But then again, this blog itself has been an excuse from conducting my job search, just as my yoga practice is a distraction from everything in my life that I find unpleasant (especially: my job search).

What’s an excuse? What’s my work? If it feels good and right (yoga, writing, puppy) but has no practical purpose (job), is it avoidance, or is it what I should do?

My mind is twisting around itself. But this guy, in this Nike ad (via elephant journal), makes a simple point: finding excuses is easy. (“I’m not inspired”)

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