Category Archives: yoga

Why Yoga is Definitely Not About Touching Your Toes, Guest Post by Anna Guest-Jelley

annakindness

Anna Guest-Jelley is one of the kindest people I know. She is one of the people who — even though she’d never met me in person — reached out to me when my Dexter died, offered comfort. She is one of the reasons I decided to start yoga teacher training, made me feel it was possible, that I was allowed. She gently guides my yoga practice and my teaching from afar, with her blog posts and videos and newsletter and emails, reminding me that not only are modifications acceptable, they are absolutely necessary, that yoga is truly for every body. She consistently reminds me that we can trust our bodies, love ourselves.

Anna has a new book out. I just got my copy in the mail yesterday and I can’t stop reading it. I was so happy when she offered to do a guest post, and I’m so happy to share it with you today, kind and gentle reader.

curvyyoga

No you can’t borrow it, get your own

Anna’s bio: Anna Guest-Jelley is the founder of Curvy Yoga, an online yoga studio and teacher training center that helps people of all sizes find true acceptance and freedom, both on and off the mat.

Anna is the author of Curvy Yoga: Love Yourself & Your Body a Little More Each Day and the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body. To learn more about Curvy Yoga, visit www.CurvyYoga.com


Why Yoga is Definitely Not About Touching Your Toes

Have you ever thought something like, “I’d love to practice yoga but I can’t because there’s no way I’m touching my toes?”

If you have, you’re definitely not alone! Pretty much everyone thinks that, or at least their own version of it. Many of us think we’re either too much of something or not enough of something else to practice yoga. And I totally understand why people get this idea. Mainstream representations of yoga tend to show thin, uber-flexible bodies in poses that look like they belong in Cirque du Soleil.

But I, for one, won’t be putting my leg behind my head anytime soon — at least not without a trip to the hospital.

Image by Emily Gnetz

Image by Emily Gnetz

Yoga for You

Here’s the thing about those poses: while they’re available to and work for a small minority of bodies, that’s not true for the vast majority of bodies. I’ll say that again because I think it bears repeating: if your body isn’t going to be doing those poses anytime soon, or ever, you’re not an anomaly. That is the truth for most bodies, by far.

I was pretty much the opposite of a sporty kid. I was a total bookworm who you’d be much more likely to find curled up in a corner reading than out kicking a ball around with friends. The primary times I moved my body were when I went to aerobics with my mom as a middle-schooler, already deep in the throes of what would become a multiple-decade run with chronic dieting.

So it probably isn’t hard to imagine what it was like when I first tried yoga. I had no idea what I was doing, and my body was (and still is) far from the slender, toned and flexible bodies on the videos I first practiced with. I live in a short, curvy body, and many of the traditional yoga pose instructions do not work for me.

Creating Your Own Path

For many years, I blamed myself for this self-perceived “problem.” I thought once I finally lost weight, got “in shape,” or otherwise made myself into a totally different person, I’d finally “get it” and yoga would work for me.

But then one day I had a thought that changed my life: “What if my body isn’t a problem?”

Mind = blown.

From there on out, I started to make yoga work for me, not the other way around. And eventually, I started to teach other people how to do the same for themselves.

What Matters in Yoga

I’m a huge Amy Poehler fan. In her book Yes Please she says something that has stuck with me ever since I read it. She writes: “‘Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”

This idea has changed so much for me, including in regards to my yoga practice. When I see someone doing a pose that involves something that isn’t currently available to my body (or may never be), I focus my attention on that. Good for that person! Not for me.

Yoga is a tool for self-acceptance and internal transformation. So it doesn’t matter if you get that via balancing on your nose or lying in quiet relaxation. You get to choose what’s helpful for you.

And you can start anytime, including right now. Taking one deep breath as you read this can be the start, or restart, of your yoga practice. Because just as it doesn’t matter what pose you do, it also doesn’t matter whether or not you practice for five minutes or sixty. What matters is creating a regular and sustainable practice that fits your actual life. Because having a practice that works for you will give you much more of what you’re looking for than wishing for a sixty-minute, five-days-per-week practice and never getting it off the ground because it’s not realistic for your life.

What matters is what’s good for you, not for anyone else.

Image by Andrea Scher

Image by Andrea Scher

Check out Anna’s website to learn more about what she does, for access to a great collection of resources, and to find out about her new book.

Something Good

Mount McConnel Trail, image by Eric

Mount McConnel Trail, image by Eric

1. Alina Baraz & Galimatias, who I’ve been listening to a lot lately.

2. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson, “If you’re only willing to scratch the surface, you will never satisfy the itch.”

3. A Whole Decade from Brittany Herself.

4. Good stuff on Tricycle: The Mindfulness Solution and Guided Meditation with Venerable Pannavati.

5. 9 Great Yoga YouTube Channels.

6. Medicating Women’s Feelings on The New York Times.

7. List of Emoticons for Facebook, something I use quite a bit.

8. Watch These Young Girls Recite Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”… It’s Awesome.

9. Andrea Gibson performs The Nutritionist.

10. She Hasn’t Changed Her Home For 72 Years. When You See What’s Inside, Your Jaw Will Drop!

11. I love myself enough to do what it takes (to get well)- PART 1 of a series about adrenal fatigue, chronic hives, hormone imbalance, weight gain, emotional healing, etc. etc. etc. from Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club.

12. On Knowing Our Own Minds from Dani Shapiro. “Our most creative thoughts and ideas spring from a ritualized dream time. In the absence of this dream time we become mechanized, robotic, detached from our inner lives.” Word.

13. Fuck the lie that we can have it all from Renegade Mothering.

14. Something Wild from Sunni Chapman.

15. Tiny Beautiful Things on Call Me Ishmael.

16. Things Black Men Are Tired Of Hearing.

17. Douglas Adams made me a writer: Neil Gaiman salutes his friend and inspiration.

18. Kindness Blog, “Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations. Because Kindness Changes Everything.”

19. Wisdom from the 17th Karmapa,

Sometimes when we practice dharma we think that we need to show some sort of external or physical sign of it. We pay a lot of attention to the rituals and these actions of our body and speech. This is practicing dharma when we’re focusing outside. But instead what we need to do is turn our attention inwards. We need to see whether what we’re doing is functioning as an antidote to the afflictions or not. We need to see whether we are taming our mind or not. We need to see whether our mind is improving, getting kinder, or not. If we don’t look at it in this way then there’s no benefit to doing these actions – we think that we are trying to do the dharma, but actually we are just making a show with our body and speech. We are putting on appearances, and that’s all we really take an interest in. And the moment that happens, this becomes spiritual materialism.

20. Good stuff on Medium: A world without advice, and Cabin Fever (P.S. I’ve seen the documentary mentioned at least four times), and I Know the Rules- I Just Don’t Care, and Parenting Advice: Don’t Kill Them.

21. Wisdom Pema Chödrön, from her book The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World,

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.

22. Their Dying Wishes on The New York Times.

23. You Will Survive from Jack Kornfield.

24. I Eat in the Light Now from Curvy Yoga.

25. A World Gone Mad from Rachel Cole.

26. #continuouspractice – A month and a half in {with a message} from Visible and Real.

27. chocolate chocolate-chip cake, redux: the gluten-free edition on Chookooloonks.

28. UC Berkeley Students Hold Teach-In for Their Racist Professor.

29. Jessamyn Stanley talks about life, yoga as therapy, and internet love and hate on Body Positive Yoga.

30. An Open Letter to Kid Rock About the Word ‘Gay’ on Esquire.

31. A Beautiful Thing on Just Lara.

32. The Real World of the Writing Life on The Missouri Review.

33. He is black. He is privileged. And all of that concerns his parents.

34. The Man Who Snuck Into the Ivy League Without Paying a Thing.

35. Neil Gaiman’s ‘Trigger Warning’, a Sunday Book Review on The New York Times.

36. One Man Holds a PATENT That Could Crush MONSANTO and Change The World.

37. 15 People From Around the World Next to the Amount of Food They Eat Each Day.

38. Spring Breaks from Jeff Oaks.

39. Reexamining the Reblog.

40. Mary Lambert on Embracing Sanity, Remaking ‘Jessie’s Girl’ for Lesbians from Rolling Stone.

41. The Futility of Always Pushing Myself to Be More on Zen Habits.

42. Shared on this was a good week from Chookooloonks: Highlights from Apple’s Favorite Photos Shot with iPhones, and Blue – Color//Colour Lovers, and 22 Contemporary Authors You Absolutely Should Be Reading, and a time lapse of a cactus blooming.

43. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: Interview on the Stacking Benjamins podcast and The So What? Test.

44. Shared on Happy Links: this Instagram account of illustrator Ann-Mari Reigstad.

45. Deaf Man Told To “Look Over There.” When He Does, You’ll Bawl Like A Baby!

46. Navigate Your Life: Chris Zydel from Jennifer Louden.

47. Time lost and found from Anne Lamott.

48. Teachers, are you accidentally shaming your students? How to Make Yoga Class More Inclusive by Amber Karnes.

49. 9 Ways to Feel Less Stress When Life Gets Crazy Busy from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Danielle LaPorte on Facebook,

Want to get unstuck? Maybe it’s time to stop analyzing it.

You can work out your family of origin issues, and neuroses, and past life traumas with your shrink or your shaman. You can talk talk talk it out all day long (I know, I’ve done it). You can trace the cause of your wounds and why you’re so stuck. But at some point, eventually, who cares WHY you’re stuck. Instead of focusing on how you got to where you are, you’ve got to shift your attention to where you’d rather be.

I’ve had at least a thousand conversations about success and desire. And I’ve noticed that when someone starts over-explaining WHY they’re stuck, it can be an indicator that they’re not 100% interested in getting unstuck. Recapitulating the past can provide a lot of comfort and confirmation. But…

Too much analysis can create paralysis.

As the saying goes, “Who cares why the elephant is standing on your foot? Just get him off.”

When I worked one-on-one with strategy clients, I began starting our session with this: “I’m asking you, for this hour together, to try to not talk about your past. We’re here to create your future, let’s just declare that the past has little bearing on where you want to go.” Some folks squirmed, could barely resist slipping into old stories. Some people were like, “What a great idea. I’m so tired of my story. Let’s move forward!”

Sometimes you can’t see why you were stuck until after you get unstuck. Hindsight and high-sight solves a lot of mysteries. In the mean time, you’ve got a new story to write, and it looks nothing like your past.

2. 6 life lessons from 6 years of blogging on Positively Present.

3. An apparently hungover Jimmy Fallon talks about the ‘epic’ SNL 40 after-party.

4. 34 Stunning Photos That Dispel the “Yoga Body” Myth.

5. You Have a Right to Refuse to be Weighed from Be Nourished.

6. The Source of Contentment on Zen Habits.

7. chinos are my kryptonite from Sas Petherick.

8. Patti Smith on The Biggest Misconception About Her.

9. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert: Own Your Shit and The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself — And All The Women Around You.

10. Be Kind, James Martin describes three simple ways you can be nicer to others this Lent.

11. Aka On Aloha.

12. Good stuff on Elephant Journal: All-Natural Yoga Mat Cleaning Recipe and 14 Creative Ways to Love Ourselves.

13. My favorite quotes on A Design So Vast.

14. My Own Life, Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer.

15. Anne Lamott On The Really Hard Parts of Being Human. She tells the truth and through some sort of magic makes me feel okay about it.

16. Wisdom from an anonymous stranger, “The act of improving lives in the world is in no way inferior to the act of adding lives to the world.” (Thanks for sharing, Andrea).

17. Russian Photographer Captures The Cutest Squirrel Photo Session Ever on Bored Panda.

18. Wisdom from Geneen Roth: On Beauty and The Naked Now.

19. When you’re blue … Find a sliver of light within the darkness from Sherry Richert Belul.

20. Actress has perfect response to body-shaming movie critic.

21. All Good Things on Pugly Pixel.

22. From Pugly Pixel’s Links Loved list: You’re doing a really great job, and TEDxConcordiaUPortland – Cheryl Strayed – Radical Sincerity, and The Elements of HTML.

23. Another New Rape Suit Against Bikram Choudhury Makes It the Sixth, and It Keeps Getting Worse.

24. Premiere: Ingrid Michaelson’s “Time Machine” Video Gets Gloriously Hijacked By Rainn Wilson And Donald Faison.

25. On Getting Older from Lisa Congdon.

26. Buddhism A-Z: Your Basic Buddhist Library.

27. 3-Year-Old Taekwondo Devotee Recites Student Creed, Slays Us With Cuteness.

28. A Body Story from Meg Worden.

29. 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, a page with links to all the posts written for this project.

30. “Oh, Kristen Wiig, why can’t you be in EVERY movie?”

31. CT Scan of 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue Reveals Mummified Monk Hidden Inside.

32. Calm.com

33. bohemian beach vibe on SF Girl by Bay. Why doesn’t my crappy, old, beat up stuff look this good?

34. A common “intuitive eating” pitfall from Isabel Foxen Duke.

35. The trolls inside from Seth Godin.

36. 300 awesome free things: A massive list of free resources you should know. (Thanks for sharing, Jen).

37. Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech on wage equality just won ALL the awards.

#YourTurnChallenge: Day Six

writingdateYour Turn Challenge prompt: “Tell us about a time when you surprised yourself.”

I was terrified when I first started teaching. My very first experience — getting up in front of a classroom full of students, leading a session based on a lesson plan I’d drafted — was during my Senior year as an English major doing my undergraduate degree at Oregon State University. I was completing an internship at a local high school, working with a class of Junior and Senior honors students. I believed the myth that as an English major, your only career options were to teach or to write, and even though what I really wanted was to write, I thought the smart, practical thing would be to get a teaching degree.

I took the internship at the high school to see if that was the grade level I wanted to work with. I wasn’t actually supposed to be teaching, was supposed to be doing things to help, like making copies and grading spelling quizzes and helping students with their homework, but the teacher really liked me, told me I could teach whenever I wanted.

After giving my first lesson, a short session about writing short stories, she told me “You are a natural.” I really wanted to believe her. I couldn’t judge for myself because every time I got up in front of the class, I freaked out. It took all of my self control to keep from running out of the room.

I didn’t end up teaching high school, but went on to get an M.A. in English instead. I taught writing at Colorado State University, first as a graduate student while completing my degree, then as an adjunct, and then as non-tenure track faculty. I was so freaked out by my first semester teaching, I took a year off and worked in the Writing Center as a tutor instead before I could get the confidence to try again. For the first five years or so, I would make myself physically sick before each class session. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I had panic attacks. I felt like I couldn’t breath and I was sure my students thought I was the worst teacher ever, or at least one of the weirdest.

I heard someone recently say that for an introvert, teaching is an extreme sport. I’d have to agree with that. But I’ve surprised myself. Once I started teaching a Writing for the Web composition course, a topic I felt like I knew something about, a subject I was interested in, something shifted. I was able to connect with my students from a place of real engagement. I started to enjoy facilitating their learning, discovering their specific interests and skills. I still got anxious at the beginning of each semester — it’s nerve wracking meeting 24 new people all at once, not being able to just sit in the back corner of the room and observe — but I started to enjoy the experience.

staceysyogaspaceEven so, I worried that when I started teaching yoga, I’d revert to freaking out. It was an entirely different subject, style of teaching. I was a complete beginner. Being the body at the front of a class so focused on what it means to be a body, move a body, and my relationship with my body was so complicated, I expected the panic to return.

But it didn’t. Rather than being an indicator of what would go wrong, my past teaching experience helped me. I knew what to expect. I understood that if I showed up, just as I was, whatever happened would be okay. That if I stayed present, in touch with my innate wisdom and compassion, I could adapt to whatever might arise. It was totally okay to fail, to make mistakes, to screw up sometimes. As my friend Aramati says, “teaching is part preparation and part letting go.” I can trust myself.

 

Something Good

 

bouldershambhalacenter1. Success Redefined from Rachel Cole.

2. Truthbomb #668 from Danielle LaPorte, “Surprise your doubts with action.”

3. Grace of Beginning, lines from a John O’Donohue poem shared by Erica Staab.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awake your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

4. Rewriting the Book of Belonging: Anne Lamott on the True Gift of Friendship and the Uncomfortable Art of Letting Yourself Be Seen on Brain Pickings.

5. All Good Things from Pugly Pixel.

6. Pulling the trigger, a final post on This (Sorta) Old Life. This happens sometimes, and it’s good to honor it. I’m going to miss it though.

7. A Meditative Moon Salutation from Yoga International.

8. Good stuff from Bored Panda: I Create Installations In Public Spaces To Bring People Happiness, and A Coworker Asked This Guy To Watch Her Plant For 4 Days. Here’s What He Did, and 20+ Mesmerizing Mosque Ceilings That Highlight The Wonders Of Islamic Architecture.

9. {After} thoughts on Wellness by Design.

10. Why Fame Doesn’t Matter, with Dallas Clayton.

11. Recipe for Brussels Sprout Fried Rice from Kris Carr.

12. Good stuff from Buzzfeed: 42 Pictures That Will Make You Almost Too Happy and 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative.

13. Know where you have power, and where you do not have power, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

14. Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits.

15. “Every year, 750,000 Chinese die prematurely from pollution.” This post includes disturbing images and facts. Maybe just skip this one. It’s not so much “something good” as shocking and heartbreaking, but it was also weirdly helpful to me, inspired me to do better, make better choices.

16. The Next 5 Most Frustrating Things About Simplicity from Be More With Less.

17. The YES Movement on Painted Path.

18. My Plan for a Free and Open Internet from President Obama on Medium.

19. The Experience of Enough an interview with Geneen Roth.

20. Learning To Read Tarot Cards on Free People.

21. I’m Wanting What I Want. You? from Rachael Maddox.

22. Afterlight 1080, “a short hand made film that explores both one’s inherent darkness and one’s inherent lightness.”

23. Austin Kleon: Show your work, video of his talk from Confab Higher Ed 2014, available to watch streaming for two more weeks.

24. The Life Of A Project from Steal Like An Artist. Such a great graphic.

25. Shared on Positively Present Picks list: Love Yourself Pinterest board, and 5 Life Lessons to Learn From Your Dog, and this quote from Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

26. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list, Sausage, Potato, Kale Soup recipe.

27. Shared on Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links list, Amanda Palmer on the Art of Asking and What Thoreau Teaches Us about Accepting Love on Brain Pickings.

28. From Chookooloonks this was a good week post, A Solar-Powered Glow-in-the-dark Bike Path by Studio Roosegaarde Inspired by Van Gogh.

29. What I Learned From a 30-Day Social Media Detox on Medium.

30. Good stuff from Create as Folk: Purpose Profile: Sarah Selecky, and this shared link to a post on Saray Selecky’s blog, Be grateful for your crazy, active mind, and Quitting Your Job? Don’t Be Dumb.

31. The 10 Most Important Questions You Can Ask Yourself Today from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

32. Wisdom from Terry Tempest Williams, shared in Hannah Marcotti‘s weekly love letter,

For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . .

When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.

33. Why You Creating Stuff Matters from Jennifer Louden.

34. The “Breakthrough” Myth from Isabel Foxen Duke, in which she says,

Sanity around food is not something that we achieve once and then never have to think about ever again…sanity around food is a meditation  — a thought pattern — that we practice coming back to again and again, watching that thought pattern feel more natural overtime.

Little by little, our sane thinking patterns become easier to come back to,

Until at some point, practicing our new way of thinking creates grooves in our mind and we don’t have to actively remember anymore, it’s just happening — a new natural way of being takes over.

35. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, on why to meditate,

Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness… [We] work with cultivating gentleness, innate precision, and the ability to let go of small-mindedness, learning how to open to our thoughts and emotions, to all the people we meet in our world, how to open our minds and hearts.

Something Good

1. Playing the Odds from Rachel Cole. If this seems confusing when you first read it, I beg you to keep reading it, over and over, until it starts to make sense. It’s such an important shift, revolutionary.

2. Square One from Susan Piver, her message for the Open Heart Project in which she talks about basic goodness, saying it is, “Something real, something gentle, something fierce.”

3. Wisdom from Alexandra Franzen, from her most recent newsletter, “If you can help even just one human being to feel stronger, braver, safer, more connected, more hopeful, more informed, more inspired, or more loved through your words… you have done a great service.”

4. Fuji in a Trash Bag: A non-hiker’s guide on how not to climb a mountain on Medium.

5. Technology hasn’t Changed Us. Things haven’t changed as much as you might think. on Medium.

6. So much wisdom from Pema Chödrön, a list of links to various articles she’s written.

7. These Ladies Stood In Front Of An Interactive Mirror Without Knowing What To Expect. So sweet.

8. Wisdom from Isabel Foxen Duke, “Why would you choose the perception of reality that makes you feel bad, when you could just as easily choose what makes you feel good?”

9. How to Get Unstuck, wisdom from Andrea Scher.

10. What Keeps Me Awake at Night, a list from Laurie Wagner.

11. Wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz, “Death is not the biggest fear we have. Our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are.” (Thanks to Sandra for sharing).

12. Truthbomb #630 from Danielle LaPorte, “Stillness requires courage.” And, Truthbomb #631, “Have a conversation with the aching.”

13. The Path of Pausing, more wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The primary focus of this path of choosing wisely, of this training to de-escalate aggression, is learning to stay present. Pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day, is an almost effortless way to do this. For just a few seconds we can be right here. Meditation is another way to train in learning to stay, or, as one student put it more accurately, learning to come back, to return to being present over and over again. The truth is, anyone who’s ever tried meditation learns really quickly that we are almost never fully present. I remember when I was first given meditation instruction. It sounds so simple: Just sit down, get comfortable, and bring light awareness to your breath. When your mind wanders, gently come back and stay present with your breath. I thought, “This will be easy.” Then someone hit a gong to begin and I tried it. What I found was that I wasn’t present with a single breath until they hit the gong again to end the session. I had spent the whole time lost in thought.

Back then I believed this was because of some failing of mine, and that if I stuck with meditation, soon I’d be perfect at it, attending to each and every breath. Maybe occasionally I’d be distracted by something, but mostly I would just stay present. Now it’s about thirty years later. Sometimes my mind is busy. Sometimes it’s still. Sometimes the energy is agitated. Sometimes calm. All kinds of things happen when we meditate—everything from thoughts to shortness of breath to visual images, from physical discomfort to mental distress to peak experiences. All of that happens, and the basic attitude is, “No big deal.” The key point is that, through it all, we train in being open and receptive to whatever arises.

14. You are Imperfect and Needy. I Love That About You. wisdom from Mara Glatzel.

15. Holy wow, this Note from the Universe, “Jill, do you know what’s a 1,000,000 times better than getting to the top the mountain? Getting there, after having been lost.”

16. The Koshas: 5 Layers of Being from Yoga International.

17. Wisdom from Gloria Steinem, “In depression you care about nothing. In sadness you care about everything.” (Thanks for sharing, Susan).

18. Mary Lambert “Secrets” (Stank Remix) // Hits 1 // SiriusXM. “Seriously, guys. I told you I don’t hold anything back.”

19. Street Art Spotter: Dallas Clayton Spreads Good Vibrations Across L.A.

20. The World’s Simplest Learn to Run Program.

21. Wisdom from Rumi, “Oh my friend, all that you see of me is just a shell, and the rest belongs to love.”

22. Wisdom from Lodro Rinzler, “In the Buddhist context, giving up means that you are surrendering everything that is holding you back from experiencing reality in a direct and pure manner.”

23. Shared on Chookoloonks’ This Was a Good Week: Slow & Steady, and My Jam.

24. Sam Pepper Exposed. This makes me so angry, but I’m so happy people like her are making videos like this.

25. Breaking the Pattern of Feeling Unworthy and KEY to Self-Esteem from Kute Blackson.

26. Wisdom from Galway Kinnell, (shared before, but so worth doing so again),

We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems–the ones that make you truly who you are–that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person–someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

27. This Converted Cave in France Cost $1.35. I want to go to there.

28. Wisdom from Buddha, “Three things cannot be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” (Thanks to Positively Present for sharing).

29. Shared on Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: Mary Oliver on the Magic of Punctuation and a Reading of Her Soul-Stretching Poem “Seven White Butterflies” and Lena Dunham gives great advice.

30. Shared on Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list last week: 10 of the best first date questions…possibly ever (Alexandra Franzen is the queen of prompts), and Lisa Congdon on Creative Evolution (Episode 3 of Tiffany Han’s new podcast, “Raise Your Hand. Say Yes.”), and Thai Chicken Chopped Kale Salad recipe.

31. Wisdom from Nayyirah Waheed,

the becoming | wing
be easy.
take your time.
you are coming
home
to yourself.

32. Wisdom from Clementine Paddleford, “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” (Thanks to Amanda for sharing).

33. A Sweet List of Things to Remember on Rebelle Society.

34. How Neil Gaiman Stays Creative In An Age Of Constant Distraction.

35. “You Don’t Get What You Wish For; You Get What You Believe,” wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

36. Freedom in 704 Square Feet. *swoon*

37. Mod Kitchen Furniture DIY from This (sorta) Old Life. I love this kitchen, the space and the light.

Day of Rest

Today is a strange blend of grief and joy, sadness and celebration. I am graduating from yoga teacher training this afternoon along with 10 of my friends. We’ve spent nine months studying together, and while I feel so content, happy to be done, to finally become a certified teacher, so lucky to have spent this time falling in love with my fellow students and teachers and deeper in love with yoga, it comes with heartache because it is also an ending.

At the same time as our graduation ceremony, they are holding Ann’s memorial. As I’ve said before, Ann fought cancer so hard and for so long, but it finally got to be too much. She’s one of the strongest, toughest, and yet softest people I’ve ever met. She’s the reason I kept practicing yoga, showed up to class at 6:30 am three times a week for years. Even if I was too busy or tired or the weather was bad or I didn’t feel like it, I went because I knew I’d get to see Ann. She made me laugh, made me try harder. And now she’s gone. I’m teaching my first yoga classes and she won’t be there. And because my graduation is scheduled for the same time as her service, I’m going to miss saying a formal good-bye, sharing my grief with others who loved her — and yet, I know that she would understand.

Life is just this, staying open to whatever arises and knowing when it’s time to let go, a mix of grief and joy, sadness and celebration. As the always wise Pema Chödrön says, “The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” May we make room for all of it, let it be what it is and let it go when it’s time. May we make our way towards a healing space today.