Getting Comfortable With Messes

Getting Comfortable With Messes

I don’t like messes – physical or the less tangible kinds. I prefer order in my environment – bookshelves organized, laundry put away, gardens weeded, to do lists filled with more checked off tasks than not. In short, messes make me uncomfortable, antsy, and agitated. I am learning through my practices of yoga and meditation that many of life’s messes, though uncomfortable and sometimes painful, can be the fertile soil of growth and change – but only if I resist the urge to clean them up.

The Freedom of Decluttering

The Freedom of Decluttering

Yoga philosophy teaches that letting go of extra “stuff” actually frees us. When we step back from our attachment to the stuff we have, the things we have no longer own us. Helping my son clean out his closet reminded me of the power of decluttering and how important it is to the quality of our lives to regularly clean out, pare down and straighten up our spaces, our days, and our minds.

Patience and Persistence Get You There

Patience and Persistence Get You There

One of the most transformative gifts of a yoga practice is the willingness to be patient with slow progress that often doesn’t look like progress at all as it weaves and circles and backtracks. This willingness allows us to survive and even thrive as we navigate grief, unexpected career changes, “long-haul” parenting, caring for a sick or dying loved one, the collapse of a marriage, the upheaval of a global pandemic, and so on. In times like these, it’s perfectly natural to hope that Google will have the answer or at least the phone number of an expert who has the answer. It’s understandable to want an easy fix when you’re worried or in pain. But the healing, creativity, perspective, strength, and resilience that we need in situations like these do not develop quickly. These are times for the patience and persistence of a yogi (or a tortoise).

Disagreeing Well

Disagreeing Well

In the heat of the moment of disagreement with my husband, my yoga practice provides a moment of clarity and space. While our frustration did not disappear immediately, our feelings of aloneness and isolation in the problem did. The reminder that I am part of a "we" held together by love (yoga's promise of oneness or union) added hope that our best chance of navigating our challenging situation was together.

Be Where Your Feet Are

Be Where Your Feet Are

It turns out (as it almost always does) that yoga teaches us not how get better at doing yoga, but how to get better at living life. One of the most important skills that yoga teaches is presence. When we are in the now life is richer and more meaningful. It is also more manageable. When we are where our feet are we can navigate even the most challenging events of our life with grace and poise.

Kindness Trumps Efficiency

Kindness Trumps Efficiency

I am grateful to my new mindfulness teacher, Julia, a customer service representative who I will probably never meet, for the loving reminder that we are connected. Thank you, Julia, for the renewed certainty that in every act we take (even when online shopping), we have the power to be more than polite. We can be thoughtful and kind. And that matters greatly.

Gathering Stillness in the New Year

Gathering Stillness in the New Year

“The purpose of gathering stillness is not to enrich the sanctuary or mountaintop but to bring that calm into the motion, the commotion of the world.” My New Year's intention is to create a sense of stillness in my life. In my imagination (after all, it’s only January 3 as I write this, so I’m still exploring and might be for years) the stillness I seek is a slower, more mindful pace. It is a sense of spaciousness in my days. It is an ability to prioritize. It is a freedom from compulsive, anxiety-driven doing. While the stillness I’m describing might manifest more as a mindset, a perspective, and an attitude than anything else, it is quite real. It is tangible. I have felt it and I want more of it. If my quest for stillness resonates with you, read on for some ideas on how I hope to create a little of it every day.

Allow Yourself to be Undone

Allow Yourself to be Undone

Advent can be a hectic season filled with to-do's lists needing to get done. As we reach the end of Advent, it is good to remember that one of the season's themes - "expectant waiting" - is meaningful all year round. When read through this lens, Advent stories teach us that the un-done in life is as good and valuable as that which is done. You might even say the un-done is the “whole point” as it holds the potential of life yet to be lived and savored.

The Beauty That Comes Asking for Help

The Beauty That Comes Asking for Help

Asking for help can be surprisingly hard for us to do. It requires us to relinquish control and risk of being seen as needy. But asking for help yoke ourselves to a whole that is far greater than ourselves. This whole is filled with incomprehensible possibilities. Asking for help is a way to tap into the potential of the whole. By doing so, we allow the power of the whole to infuse anything we are doing with more creativity, energy and light than we could ever provide on our own.