Category Archives: Yoga with Adriene

#YourTurnChallenge: Day Seven, Day of Rest

poudreblackriversnowtilopaA little over a year ago, I posted this image and quote. It was also a Sunday, also winter, also a Day of Rest. This morning, I watched the most recent Daily Dharma Gathering video and Lodro Rinzler referenced the same quote. The origins are a teaching Tilopa gave Naropa called the “Six Words of Advice.” Tilopa shared six words, which translated to:

  1. Don’t recall.
  2. Don’t imagine.
  3. Don’t think.
  4. Don’t examine.
  5. Don’t control.
  6. Rest.

Seems pretty easy, doesn’t it, kind and gentle reader? But as Lodro also shared, the Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg recently said the practice of meditation is “very simple, but not easy.” I find this to be true of all practice (which for me is meditation, writing, yoga, and dog), and of life in general.

Today’s Your Turn Challenge prompt, the final one, is: “What are you taking with you from this Challenge?” For me, the Your Turn Challenge, seven days of prompted blog posts, wasn’t as big of a deal as it may have been for others. I practice writing every day, whether I publish a blog post or not. Every morning, one of the first things I do is sit down and write, unprompted. I sit, and even if I don’t know what to say, I start writing, and keep writing until I’ve filled at least three pages, or until I’ve run out of things to say, which sometimes fills much more than three pages. This practice is essential to me. I feel “off” if I don’t do it, in fact it feels so wrong to not write first thing I haven’t started a day without it in years.

I’ve done a series of 30 day blog challenges that included a prompt for each day, so a seven day challenge wasn’t so hard. But it also wasn’t easy to to show up and keep at it during the first week of a new semester that included other commitments beyond my CSU work — four classes, daily practice and some teaching. There were days it would have been easier to skip it. I didn’t because I’d committed to it, it was good practice, it was a group effort, and it wasn’t really so hard.

It was good practice in equanimity, which is “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” Especially in a difficult situation. Continuing to practice even when it’s hard. The seven day blogging challenge was a good way to contemplate letting go of expectations — the goal was a daily post in response to a prompt. It didn’t have to be perfect or even good.

I wasn’t so successful in sticking with other recent daily challenges. I signed up for 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene, but only made it to Day Three before I got sidetracked by my own yoga teaching and attending classes with other teachers, and too busy on the days I wasn’t to find an extra half hour. The Daily Dharma Gathering happens, not surprisingly, every day, but during this first week of it, I’ve only been able to watch two of the videos. I was so busy with other things, I kept missing it, couldn’t find a spare 30 minutes. That made me sad, made me feel like I was missing out, and yet it was okay. I was able to apply gentleness and maintain a sense of humor, qualities essential to any practice.

We can get lost in fixed expectations and it’s not helpful. We “should” all over ourselves. It’s difficult to maintain a practice when we are caught up in our expectations of it, that it should look and feel a certain way, that there’s some sort of guaranteed outcome if we just do it right, that if we don’t do it right it means we have failed.

What I’m taking with me from the Your Turn Challenge is this: Practice is simply showing up with an open heart, allowing whatever might arise, without an agenda. There is no way to do it right, and no way to do it wrong. Relax. I’m so grateful for the reminder, for the opportunity to practice.

Something Good

1. Pausing for Peace from Rachel Cole.

2. To The Fit Woman At Marketplace Foods on Huffington Post.

3. Illustrator Turns People’s Deepest And Darkest Fears Into Comics and Incredibly Detailed Hand-Cut Paper Art By Maude White and Creative Dad Turns His 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Sayings Into Hilarious Illustrations on Bored Panda.

4. The Pets in My Practice, an opinion piece on The New York Times.

5. Problems Only Book Lovers Understand from BuzzFeed.

6. How Does A Homeless Man Spend $100?

7. A Photo Essay: Succulent Magic on Rowdy Kittens.

8. The First Christmas… from Erica Staab. I know Christmas is over, but this is such a beautiful, important reminder, at any time of the year.

9. The Gift of Generosity from Phillip Moffitt on Dharma Wisdom.

10. 30 Days of Yoga from Yoga with Adriene. FREE! You could also check out her YouTube channel.

11. 25 of The Cutest Parenting Moments In The Animal Kingdom.

12. Building a Mindful New Year with Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler. We are almost half way through the six days, but there is still so much wisdom available if you want to catch the end of the series.

13. Wisdom from the Dalai Lama, “Once you develop confidence in your own ability, you’ll be able to make a real contribution to creating a better world. Self-confidence is very important. Not in the sense of blind pride, but as a realistic awareness of what you can do.”

14. Wisdom from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross,

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

15. A fun project for people who can’t draw from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

16. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

17. Limbo: an Immigration Story by Brit Hanson.

18. A year in photos: the second half from Susannah Conway. My favorite is still the one of Noah in a pink tutu and boots dancing in front of the circus truck.

19. Your Year in Review: 50 Questions to Help You Reflect, Appreciate and Get Excited for 2015, shared on Positively Present Picks.

20. The Best Part Of Life Is Realizing Why It’s Better That Things Didn’t Work Out.

21. Wisdom from Geneen Roth:

Wanting is different from having. Wanting is in the future. It is based on an idea of what might make you happy in five minutes, tomorrow, next week. But having is here, now. Most of us don’t let ourselves have what’s in front of us, so we’re always wanting more. When you don’t let yourself have what you already have, you are always hungry, always searching, always restless.

So, here’s my suggestion: Let yourself have what you love. One piece of it, one little bit of it, each day. You need to start small so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. If you like chips, take one and sit down by yourself for three minutes. Smell it. Hold it up to the light. Rub it on your lips. Then take a small bite of the chip and notice how it tastes. You might discover that it’s the salt you want and not the rest of it. Or the crunch and not the salt. After you swallow, ask yourself if you want another bite. Be truthful with yourself. Notice if, when you ate that one bite, you were already thinking about the next one… and the next. Notice if, even as you read these words, you are saying to yourself, “I can’t be satisfied with just one little bite.” How do you know until you try?

22. Why I don’t care if you like me — According to Trish on Medium.

23. Goodbye :: Hello from Sue Ann Gleason. So beautiful.

24. The Success Indicator an infographic by MaryEllen Tribby.

Something Good

1. Creating a Lovely Morning on Zen Habits.

2. Wisdom from Fr. Alfred D’Souza, a quote shared by Courtney Carver,

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last in dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

3. Also from Courtney, on Be More With Less, 3 Simple Ways to Be More Creative (and why it’s important).

4. Eight ways to be (more) here and (more) happy on A Design So Vast.

5. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson,

In my experience, one of the greatest litmus tests of spiritual maturation –that is, how well your practice is working–comes when we bump up against the challenges. Embodying–in thought, word, and deed–what it is you profess to practice/study is easy when life goes according to your plan. But the real measure–and arguably, the greatest teacher–arises from our responses to life’s inevitable disappointments, frustrations, and obstacles. If your response to difficult times is to react (re-act, reproduce) with the same old habitual behavior, based on worn out, old narratives about yourself (or others), then your practice becomes that much more vital; your practice can be what creates space and awareness between the feelings we have and the conclusion we draw about them. If you can remain consciously committed to your center, your Self, when the rug gets pulled up beneath you…and you can be kind and spacious and patient when things don’t go “your way,” you will come to know your progress more honestly than any other time.

6. What in the world is a “blog hop”? from Two Poppies Creative.

7. Green in May on SouleMama.

8. What Happens When You Sing An 800 Year Old Icelandic Hymn In A Train Station? THIS.

9. Wisdom from Maya Angelou, “In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.”

10. the (sacred) art of breaking yourself open from Justine Musk.

11. Baby’s first LOL.

12. Wisdom from Lao Tzu, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

13. These 7 Simple Photos Reduced Me To Heartbroken Tears. I Never Saw It Coming. on Viral Nova.

14. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, “Forgiving yourself expresses a willingness to learn from your fragility and your fallibility instead of pretending that they are not there,” and,

Of this I am certain: Something happens every time I stop fighting with the way things are. Something happens to every one of my students when they stop running their familiar programs about fear and deficiency and emptiness. I don’t know what to call this turn of events or the freshness that follows it but I know what it feels like: it feels like relief. It feels like infinite goodness. Like a distillation of every sweet fragrance, every astonishing beauty and every haunting melody you’ve ever heard . It feels like the essence of tenderness compassion joy peace dark starry night dazzling day. Like love itself. And in the moment you feel it you recognize that you are it and that you’ve been here all along, waiting for your return.

15. What hill running, meditation and achieving your dreams have in common from Life is Limitless.

16. A man, a photo and the long search to find the person in it, a story on Sports Illustrated about a picture from Humans of New York.

17. How to Not Go Insane Being an Artist on Indie Kindred.

18. How To Get A Whole Lot Of Sh*t Done In A Day on MindBodyGreen.

19. A Talk with Patrick McDonnell, coauthor of Guardians of Being, (and one of my favorite cartoonists).

20. Yoga with Adriene. I really like her teaching style, and she’s got some great free videos, if you are interested in practicing alone but with instruction.

21. Got Blogger’s Block? Here Are 50 Ways To Kick Its Ass! from Gala Darling, (shared by Britt Bravo on Facebook).

22. 13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block on Flavorwire, (shared by Britt Bravo on Facebook).

23. This is a commercial for Chevy, and it’s pretty sweet.