Life is made up of as many bumps in the road and flies at the picnic as it is sweet, easy, sunny days. While it doesn't make the hard times any more fun, it is possible – with tears, sarcasm, humor, profanity, or whatever else you need - to shift your focus from the current mess to the preciousness and wildness of this one life of yours.
I believe that little worldly happenings are one way that God reaches out to let us know that we are not alone, we do not have to shoulder it all, and we are always being cared for. I recently found a little angel made of construction paper, Elmer's glue and glitter in my attic that I made when I was a little girl. Her reappearance in my life has me thinking about all the angels and tiny miracles that have shown up in my life exactly when I needed them. Keep an eye out as you zip around your own life. Miracles are all around us - especially when we are looking for them!
When a friend asked me if I set New Year’s resolutions I told him that I like to set a tone for the New Year rather than setting a particular goal. This felt like one of those spontaneous “straight from mind to mouth” answers that gets right to the truth. The "tone" I am choosing for 2023 is love. I’d like to be clear that, though I am a girl who appreciates Rom-Coms perhaps more than most, this is not the “tone” of love that I am choosing for this new year. I’m choosing instead a “tone” of love that aligns more with loving-kindness than romantic love. Loving-kindness focuses on friendliness, benevolence, good-will, and an active interest in the well-being of others. I'd love to know what "tone" you are setting for 2023! Let me know!
Sending and receiving Christmas cards is a reminder to me of how much I love and am loved. I closed the note in our card this year with a heartfelt truth, “Please know that each time you cross our minds, which is way more often than you hear from us, you make us smile.” For the opportunity to realize how fortunate I am and to be able to express this gratitude to those I love, I am grateful for this seasonal tradition. These weekly musings are yet another opportunity for me to feel grateful for the web of love and support that life has weaved for me. So, I’ll close this last essay of 2022 the way I closed the note in my Christmas card – in gratitude: “Mwah! Thank you for being a part of my life. Thank you for making my world a better place. xoxo”
There is so much heaviness in the world today. Big, sweeping suffering - from the savagery being wreaked on the people of Ukraine to the plight of the polar bears - can leave us feeling small and powerless. My tendency to believe in the power of light, love, and the general goodness of humankind can feel a little naïve in the face of it all. Could the practices, perspectives, and philosophy that I teach to so many possibly help anyone navigate the hazards of our time? Is it foolish to invest such energy seeking insight, harmony, and connection rather than answers and actions to solve hundreds of problems I can barely begin to understand? These were my thoughts this morning when I rounded a corner on my walk and received glorious affirmation in the goodness at the heart of life in a magnificent sunrise sky.
Some life lessons must be learned over and over again. One of them is being kind to ourselves. The first time I learned to be kind to my body was the first year of marriage. The second time was a decade later when I found yoga. Suddenly, thanks to getting caught thinking, feeling, and saying really mean things about my body, it's time to learn it again. This is OK! After all, I’ve never been in my mid-fifties before. I’ve never loved a body as it starts to shift and change in ways that I am not able to control or change. This moment is an invitation to advance to “AP level” self-acceptance, nonviolence, and letting go. I'm ready! Are you?
On a walk, I glimpsed a woman who looked just like 30-years-ago-me and rocketed down memory lane. In a flash I remembered (in really real way) what it felt like to be 25 and “on my way.” Almost as quickly, I realized that, while I recognized her, there is no way she would recognize me - there is no way she could have dreamed of the life (my life) in store for her. And this realization is exciting – thrilling even. I appreciate (from the depths of my heart) the reminder that I truly have no idea what life has in store for 60- or 65- or 85-year-old me. 30 years later, my horizon remains as filled with possibility as it did then.
I loved bike riding on our recent bike trip for a surprising reason. I loved it because it created the same state of mind that has kept me unrolling my yoga mat for 20 years – one of being 100% engaged in exactly what I’m doing for every moment that I’m doing it. In other words, I traveled to Croatia to accidentally discover another mindfulness practice.
Do you remember the opening line of the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral? Hugh Grant opens one eye as he is fumbling for the snooze button on his alarm clock to see the time and exclaims, “F*#k!” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard before a movie even got going. In real life, harried is not a funny (or fun) way to start a day. Yet, more mornings than I care to admit, I wake up feeling like there is not enough time in the day. Almost as soon as I open my eyes, I feel harried and hurried. While some days are legitimately busy, most are not. Most mornings were I to take a “get some perspective” pause, there is plenty of time. Time to spare, even. What's a gal to do? Read on.