Does Kindness Matter?

Does Kindness Matter?

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.

The Season of Traditions

The Season of Traditions

‘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.

That’s a Full Plate

That’s a Full Plate

As I caught up with one of my cousins, he said, “My goodness, that is a full plate.” And my plate (and probably yours, too) is full. Choosing a Thanksgiving state of mind is a choice to focus on all that is OK right now. This state of mind does not pretend that everything is OK. In fact, facing and accepting the struggles, burdens, challenges, and pains that life is delivering makes each moment that we take a thankful pause vastly more meaningful. Will you join me in spending the next week refocusing (again and again and again) on all that is OK right now? If we do, together we can have a very happy Thanksgiving indeed. And if we keep it up, Thanksgiving could become more than a holiday. It could be a way of life.

Why Don’t You Take a Break?

Why Don’t You Take a Break?

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.

Don’t Be a Jerk to Yourself

Don’t Be a Jerk to Yourself

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?

We’re Each a Leaf on a Family Tree

We’re Each a Leaf on a Family Tree

Extended family is proof of yoga’s truth that each of us is an essential part of a greater whole. As you practice, you begin to recognize that story you are “writing” as you live and love is an essential part of the whole collection of stories that led to your life – and that will lead to the lives of those to come after you. Let’s promise one another to treat our lives like the treasures they are – and, while we’re at it, to share the stories we collect along our way with those who come after us.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

One of my sweetest memories is a weekday afternoon when we should have been doing a dozen other things, but instead my kids and I decided to watch Christmas movies. Was this “the best of times?” I also have a niggling memory of how we wound up in that chair – total exhausted collapse from days of nagging, reminding, and hounding them to practice the piano, do their homework, clean their rooms, and brush their teeth. I am so glad that I am longer the drill sergeant that motherhood required me to be for almost two decades. So, was this also “the worst of times?” I am left wondering if it is possible that what makes “the best of times” is, in part, the way we handle “the worst of times.”

Beautiful Endings Lead to Beautiful Beginnings

Beautiful Endings Lead to Beautiful Beginnings

I have been struggling with a quiet sadness for a while now. It’s not constant. It’s more nostalgia than sorrow. It pops up at surprising times – while walking into town, or sitting in the pew at church, or driving past mothers and children on bus stops. It is the vague ache of missing daily life with my now grown kids. Like leaves on a tree in autumn, we would be wise to hold each of life’s stages lightly. Even the sweetest times draw to an end. We are invited to gratefully let go of what was in order to step forward into the riches of what is next. This is not easy.

A Sick Day’s Lessons in Letting Go

A Sick Day’s Lessons in Letting Go

Being sick is a lesson in letting go of control. KABLAM! Your body has taken over. It – rather than your plans – is going to be in charge for a little while. I don’t know about you, but this can be really hard me to accept. I resist, I push, I chafe in mostly futile efforts to keep going, to stick to the plan, to stay on schedule. Which only makes me feel worse – physically and mentally. What makes me feel better – perhaps the only thing that makes me feel better – is letting go and surrendering to reality: I’m sick and I need to act like it. I need to let my body lead the way, even if where it is leading me is straight back to bed on a blue-sky day.