Hundred-Day Discipline Practice, aka Hundred-Day Gong
a collection of links, resources and reflections
So, for 100 days starting December 21st:
Let's stop chiding ourselves for not getting things done. Let's instead recognize that we're simply highly skilled and drawn to do so many things that we need to get clear, get disciplined.
If I can create the right framework, the true mission statement, then all my disparate interests and skills will make sense of one another and form the symphony that is my purpose in life waiting to be discovered.
Creating the framework takes practice, awareness, and unstinting self-honesty. And so join me, if you wish, preparing for the 100-day practice, called the 100-day gong.
Gong--we ring the bell as we enter the temple (of our body, soul, planet) to call us to mindfulness. Gong--looks a lot like "going," and--just as with walking--repeated practice, repetition, creates a journey. These are fanciful echoes of Chinese into English, but why do we use this word?
Pedram Shojai is command central for the current popularity and recognition of the term 100-day gong in the healthy living community. But I have to assume it's the same word as in "qi gong," the Taoist system of exercises to integrate mind, body and spirit. And given "qi gong's" alternate transliteration of "chi kung," "gong" must be the first element of "kung fu." Pedram often reminds that kung fu means "hard work," and the first place I looked for an explanation of "gong" bears that out, interpreting it as meaning "work," or "project," or "industry, labor."
This short article on the meaning of kung fu confirms the identity of "kung" and "gong," and offers as translation "merit, achievement, skill."
And the National Qigong Association provides the final piece, that gong is "accomplishment, or skill that is cultivated through steady practice."
Here are some links all about gongs.
On Pedram's site, a basic overview, introduction, and some suggestions for how to set up your gong and what sorts of practices might be beneficial for a 100-day span. Note: this page needs editing and updating, but the material on it is nonetheless foundational as a bare-bones primer.
Drs Pedram Shojai and Sara Gottfried host an entertaining, informative podcast, the Health Bridge, on which they chronicled their own Fall 2014 gongs with unstinting candor, all the way down to bloodwork. Here are the relevant links (NB: I'm posting the YouTube links because I don't know how to post iTunes links (is it even possible?) and right now the final show about ending the gong isn't yet up on YouTube):
Setting the stage; the what and the why
Meditation practices and their value
Specific issues from their personal gongs: liver detoxification, and tantra!
And here's the iTunes link, since their "ending the gong" show isn't yet up on YouTube. It's the show dated 11/27/14.
Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention Pedram's LIfe Mastery Program, which provides a framework and support in the form of community and coursework, of which I'm a member/student myself. I'd been working on behavior change for quite a while, knew I needed discipline and structure, and also knew that external accountability and support would be worth investing in.
You can offer your neural networks a different idea in just minutes, but they'll fall back into their old ruts. Twenty-one days is a great taster, but in my experience it's not long enough to establish a lasting habit.
Almost five times twenty-one, though... Well, those days, no two the same, each bringing its own challenges--when you're anchoring them with the sameness of these practices, the initial awkwardness and difficulty becomes a balm, a refuge, a reassurance, and a lifesaver.
Keeping a commitment to yourself metamorphoses from a bit of a drag to the difference between getting completely wigged out and getting just a little stressed but pulling things off anyway. The meditation, the journaling, whatever you chose to do, becomes an offering both to yourself and to everyone with whom you come into contact.
For me, the key elements of my first gong that I wouldn't dream of dropping are the morning routine (rebounding, reading scriptures, meditating, journaling) and the commitment to go to sleep by 11pm. or, on the rare occasions that commitments keep me up later, have a strategy to compensate for that the next day.
Interesting that they're the practices that bookend the day. That anchor the day, signal to me that I can have the same focus and intention no matter how differently different days may be colored.
Not doing these things now seem to me akin to going out to meet a client without putting my clothes on. Mindfulness habits=self-care habits=being more present for everyone I serve.
I'll come back to this before December 21st, but please ask questions and/or send me suggestions/addenda/corrections.
About the Author
Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.