Learning to Leap with 40 Days

Take the leap with Dancing Mind's 40 Days to Personal Revolution program.

By Jenny Essig | March 11th, 2014
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 In front of 80 people, I admitted, “I am lost, sad, and stuck.” I was convinced that I was going to pass out as those carefully guarded facts, that I worked so hard to hide, dribbled off my tongue.

Sometimes it takes a village and years of observation to come to a place of honest self-awareness. In my case, I needed 40 days of yoga, journaling, and meditation accompanied by the words of Baron Baptiste and coaching of our own Paula Baake. Big changes in 40 days…sounds too good to be true, right?

Joining 40 Days to Personal Revolution was never a question for me. I was unhappy with my situation, but struggled to find the strength and larger outlook to make change. I needed something external to defibrillate my sedentariness.

 Cue my eagerness for a program that promoted the core element I wanted in my life: transformation!

For those of you who are new to 40 Days or considering it for the first time, the program is a 6-week long exploration of your emotional and physical life. Between weekly meetings, regular yoga practice, meditation, journaling, and conscious living (hello fruit cleanse), participants tap into their authentic selves, delve into their true potential, and dissolve ruts and roadblocks.

The yoga portion, while physically demanding, is completely achievable. My fellow 40 Day-ers and I tried our hardest to practice yoga 6 days a week. Sometimes it happened, other times it didn’t. We quickly learned how to distinguish inner-talk and excuse making from genuine physical walls. A plus: the regular practice seriously strengthened our asana (I held my first tripod headstand the second week into 40 Days!).

By far I found the emotional aspect of 40 Days the most difficult yet rewarding. As its title suggests, this program promotes change. What exactly that change entails is completely reliant on your goals and desires.

I joined 40 Days as a struggling freelancer fresh from a devastating breakup. I had lost my authentic self to a highly dependent relationship, was miserable in my at-the-time career, and watched my self-confidence dwindle with every job application (and there were MANY in a day). The “Jenny” I knew and loved was immersed in some serious emotional baggage.

I would be kidding you if I said that 40 Days is a cure-all. It does not immediately smooth over the ridges in our lives, and it certainly is not a band-aid. To truly experience the program, YOU will have to do the work. You will have to confront your less-than-pleasant characteristics. I still remember the day that I realized that I was not a good communicator. Tough thing to admit coming from a Communications BA!

There is great news about all of this newfound self-awareness, I promise!

First, the hackneyed quote, the truth will set you free is genuinely applicable. Learning about your darkness allows you to begin making real changes and appreciate your light.

Second, EVERYONE is going through the same thing. While our poor behaviors and predicaments might be different, being in 40 Days allows us to realize that we—both program participants and people in general— are all in the same boat. The AMAZING yogi you see every Thursday at 6:00pm, yeah, he feels disconnected from his practice. That woman who is perfectly manicured and never sweats in class, she cannot control her teenage children. There is no such thing as a flawless life.

In that moment with a large group of people I barely knew, I was ready to remove my perfect-happy-go-lucky mask and face the reality. I was ready to learn, ready to grow, and most importantly, I was ready for change. It’s funny how easy it is to admit uncomfortable truths when you are ready.

Am I the most authentic, optimal “me” now, post 40 Days? Absolutely not. That is a journey and search that I hope to continue throughout my life.  What I did get from 40 Days was the jumpstart I needed. I finally was able to let go, embrace the beauty of my imperfection, and leap.