When the kids were little, we played a mash-up of “red light, green light” and “freeze dance” with them. My husband or I would sing, “You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. You better go, go, go, go, go. Annnnnnnnddddddd STOP!” As much as the kids loved the craziness of all the going – wild dance moves, running in circles, spinning like tops – they loved stopping the most. They would freeze in hilarious poses that would inevitably fall apart in peals of laughter. As they played, they would quiver with anticipation for both the “STOP” and the resumption of the “Go go going.” The game needed both to be fun. So, I suspect, does each of our lives.
When cajoled by my son to hurry up, I discovered that not only am I no longer the family fast-walker, but I am no longer racing through life. My choice to slow down has led to a sense of spaciousness that feels very, very good.
Moments of true happiness don’t have to be planned or require reservations. They don’t have to be anything fancy. They don’t need to be part of an adventure or vacation. They can happen quite literally in your own backyard when your dog drops a soggy tennis ball at your feet and grins at you. All you have to do is seize the moment and say, "YES! I'll play!" Then enjoy every moment.
I'm here today to tell you that the K.I.S.S. rule (Keep It Simple, St*pid) works. Read on to see how something so (forgive me) simple can help in simple, less simple, not-at-all simple and downright impossible moments. By the way, if it works better for you to soften the second “S” to silly or sweetheart, go for it!
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!
For years I have taught that a little yoga a lot is better for us in the long run than a lot of yoga a little. A question from a student led me realize that I've embraced this truth more broadly. For me, spending a little time a lot (daily) to nurture my spirituality works better than setting aside a lot of time a little (once or twice a a year) for a retreat. The exact opposite might be true for you! The only rule to creating practices that support and nurture you is that you keep exploring with the freedom to hold on to what works and let go of what doesn't. Developing spiritual practices is the work of a lifetime. Lucky for us, a lifetime is exactly long we have!
'Tis the season of traditions. Some I love and some make me feel incredibly rebellious. Some give me the urge to dig in my heels or push back against expectations. In my mind, this is exactly what sets apart traditions that add to a holiday experience from traditions that feel onerous, burdensome, and just “extra.” They feel like expectations – expectations that add effort without the payoff of meaning. These are not traditions I want to hold on to. I’d rather invest my energy in things - old and new - that bring my family together and make us happy.
Can you imagine spending a little time every day in the same position as this cute kitten? Well, take it from a recovering workaholic, we should do just this. It takes real strength in this world of ours to hit the pause button and take a rest. And we don’t need to hit that pause button only when we’re weary to the bone. Wisdom is learning to hit it even when we don’t feel like we need a rest. While it's easy to fall prey to workaholism, we thrive with regular infusions of rest.
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?