Tag Archives: Curvy 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

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. December Reflections with Susannah Conway. “This project has no real rules – the idea is to simply take a photograph every day(ish) for the whole of December. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Reflect on how the year’s gone down. Enjoy a bit of mindful creativity in the run up to the new year.” 31 photo prompts, three ways to share your pictures. I’m in!

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2. An Ancient Chinese Ginkgo Tree Drops an Ocean of Golden Leaves. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

3. 29 Playlists To Listen To When Everything Sucks. I haven’t listened to any of these yet because I can’t stop listening to Adele’s new album, but when I do, I will.

4. F*ck That: A Guided Meditation. This has been floating around for a bit, and I finally listened to it. *gigglesnort*

5. How Lowering Your Standards Leads to Greatness from Jen Louden. I’m always open to lowering the bar. In this post, Jen gives us permission.

6. You are Allowed, from Mara Glatzel’s latest newsletter. This is the kind of thing you should print out and hang on the fridge. Click the link she includes to hear her read the list to you, close your eyes and listen to all the things you are allowed. And when you are done, go sign up for her newsletter for more of this sort of goodness.

7. A Little Guide for More Comfort and Joy from Be More With Less. Courtney consistently writes things I have to share. I feel like she’s a version of me, wiser and more compassionate with a simpler more fulfilling life, some years down the road sending me messages from my possible future, reminding me to not give up, to keep trying.

8. Body Gratitude Print Out for the Holidays from Curvy Yoga. What a great practice.

9. How to be generous from Danielle LaPorte. It’s funny to me how the antidote to poverty mentality, a feeling of scarcity, is to give more away, to let things go, to have less, to be more generous.

10. Breathe, an offering from the wonderful Julia Fehrenbaucher, “an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit.”

11. The Biggest Legal Mistake Freelancers Make from Paul Jarvis.

12. How To Read A Book. I developed a bad habit of reading multiple books at a time while I was in graduate school, but according to this list, that means I’m doing it right.

13. Two Dog Pals Separated At The Shelter End Up In The Same Loving Home. This makes me so happy. And, I have a serious crush on Mr. Riley!

14. I Quit My Boring Office Job To Start Making Mini Paintings On Recycled Wood. I’m glad. She makes some beautiful things.

15. I Doodle Introvert Comics To Express How I Feel. Love these! Her website is great too.

16. Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health. Oh, snap!

17. #whatayogilookslike: Spotlight on Laura Sharkey.

18. Why this woman’s “badass undie” selfie is starting a viral movement.

19. Adam Kurtz, a great artist interview on Lisa Congdon’s blog.

20. ‘You Can’t Prepare Yourself’: A Conversation With Adele. Because, I’m obsessed.

21. Jimmy Fallon, Adele & The Roots Sing “Hello” (w/Classroom Instruments). Seriously: my brain = all Adele, all the time. Her voice here gives me goosebumps.

22. Sensitive-The Untold Story, a documentary.

23. Move Over Turducken, PIECAKEN Is The Dish To Beat This Thanksgiving. I don’t know how to feel about this…

24. 75 inspiring gratitude prompts from Positively Present. These would be great journal prompts or conversation starters.

25. December Encouragement Notes from Esmé Weijun Wang. This is a free offering. “I’m making this because I think we all need a little extra push and a little extra comfort in December, and because I’m grateful to all of you who make this online space something to be excited about.”

26. What is Literature for?

27. The World Will Be Saved By Waffles, a beautiful post by Erica Staab, which she ends with, “When we can offer a soft place to land for those we love, when we can share with one another our little acts of love, we light up the world. And we could all use a little more light in the world.”

28. Chronic Dieting: The Socially Acceptable Eating Disorder. I lived this, could have written this post, but since I didn’t, I’m so glad Caroline Dooner did.

29. The Real Difference Between Artists and Everyone Else. Spoiler alert: “Making things makes you an artist.”

30. My sister is a heroin addict. This isn’t my exact story, but I’m living a version of this and it sucks.

31. Pet Every Single Dog. This event on Facebook is so perfect. I’m in!

32. Flora Bowley’s Bloom True ecourse. “Enjoy 25% off my five-week, deep dish, transformational, painting course now through December 1st, and savor the freshly designed course at your own pace for one full year. You can also give this as the most rocking gift ever! Use coupon code: btgratitude to receive your discount.”

33. 24 Tweets That Will Make Every Nurse Laugh Out Loud.

34. World’s Largest Spice Company to Go Organic and Non-GMO by 2016. Cool.

35. Wisdom from Jeff Foster, “Heaven is this moment. Hell is the burning desire for this moment to be different. It’s that simple.” It’s also that complicated.

36. The Power in Writing About Yourself.

37. Love List Selfie, a little project and short interview I did with my dear friend Sherry Richert Belul.

38. Dharma of Writing Group a great offering from Susan Piver and Kate Lila Wheeler.

The Dharma of Writing is an ongoing two-hour online monthly gathering designed to help you enter your own writing with the support and companionship of other writers…At each session, we will practice meditation together and then actually write. Each person will work on his or her own project with the quiet, supportive companionship of writers all over the world. We will convene using the video conference platform, Zoom. Sessions will be recorded and links sent to all, so if you can’t join live you can still participate.

39. Wisdom from poet Andrea Gibson, (thanks to Jessica for the original share),

Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
so shattered
there better be a thousand separate heavens
for all of my separate parts.

40. This Man’s Wife Cries About Absolutely Anything So He Started Writing The Reasons Down.

40. Neil Gaiman and Georgina Chapman – Donate to UNHCR – UN Refugee Agency. “Together with UNHCR, international best-selling author, Neil Gaiman, and co-founder and designer of Marchesa, Georgina Chapman, are developing a storytelling project highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis.”

41. Couple Lets Their Dog Film Their Wedding And The Result Is Better Than Most Wedding Videos.

42. How to get out of a rut. Good advice.

Something Good

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Savor: Daily Practices for a More Nourishing Holiday from Rachel Cole. Savor is six weeks of guided audio meditations and journal prompts to support you in being well-fed and centered this holiday season. As Rachel describes it, “Savor is about finding yourself in the small moments. It’s about tasting what’s already here. It’s about noticing the good and saying ‘thank you’ often. Savor is designed to help you find sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle that’s headed our way. Savor is, no surprise, about savoring your life.” At only $35, this would make a great holiday gift, for yourself or anyone else on your list. Disclaimer: I first started working with Rachel almost four years ago. Since then she’s been a guide, a teacher, a precious friend. Everything she does is magic, and this is going to be no exception.

2. Random Acts of Kindness Generator. This is such a great idea. Doing something nice, either directly or in secret, is such a mood lifter for everyone involved. I can imagine a homemade version too, a jar with slips of paper filled with different ideas. Just pick one and do it.

3. Problems of output are problems of input from Austin Kleon.

4. An important question posed by Brave Girls Club, “What is calling to you? What is the deepest, most true message that is calling to you?”

5. A Note from the Universe,

It’s easy to look around at all the people who already have what you want, notice how they differ from you, and then think that they are the “kind of people” for whom having what you want comes naturally. Whereas you are not, otherwise you’d have it too.

Very rational thinking, and a super way for non-adventurers to avoid responsibility, rest on the sidelines, and watch more TV.

Adventurers, on the other hand, Jill, understand that they are exactly the kind of people who should have the things they now want. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be blessed with wanting them.

6. This is about the time I chose not to die.

7. If you accept your body, does that mean you give up?, a recent and brilliant newsletter from Curvy Yoga and Anna Guest-Jelley.

8. Parenthood Is An Act Of Hostage Negotiation With A Broken Robot from Terrible Minds.

9. This Guy’s Reaction To Patti LaBelle’s Pie Is Priceless. This guy understands pie like I do.

10. Wisdom from Hans Hofmann, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Oh, snap.

11. It’s going to be okay, a really great, important and timely comic from The Oatmeal. “So get up, and help someone.” Also this video, “Runner. Cartoonist. Cake Lover. – A Seeker Story,” the story of Matthew Inman, creator of TheOatmeal.com.

12. Raising Imogen, “koala joey’s most adorable home video of all time.” Who knew baby koala’s were so stupid cute?

13. This Kid Should Work For Hallmark Because His Thank You Letters Are Spot On.

14. Buddhism, Bravery, Love and the Good Life, Lodro Rinzler on Good Life Project Radio. Lodro is one of my favorite teachers, and I always love Johnathan’s interviews. Jonathan posted on Facebook, about this interview, “What if meditation didn’t solve anything, it just let you see things better?”

15. Wisdom from Judith Lief, “To meditate, all you need are 3 things: a restless body, a wandering mind, and out-of-control emotions.”

16. Awkwarding is what brings us all together from The Bloggess. These tweets are so awesome.

17. On What People Think from Dani Shapiro.

18. This 17-Year-Old Cat Is The Laziest Internet Star In Japan on Bored Panda.

19. Deciding How and When to Quit, a brilliant post from Jen Louden about the difference between default quitting and compassionate quitting, which includes a really great set of prompts to help one contemplate how to decide what to do. “But in the end, it comes down to this: You must be willing to look yourself in the mirror and ask, ‘Am I suffering enough to do something about it?’ or ‘Am I hungry enough for something more to take this risk?'”

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

We make a lot of mistakes. If you ask people whom you consider to be wise and courageous about their lives, you may find that they have hurt a lot of people and made a lot of mistakes, but that they used those occasions as opportunities to humble themselves and open their hearts. We don’t get wise by staying in a room with all the doors and windows closed.

20. Wisdom from Seth Godin, Certain failure and Your progress report.

21. How to make your website credible from Paul Jarvis.

22. #naphopomo day 10: do not let the adorable nose fool you on Chookooloonks. Oh Karen, I feel your pain/joy.

23. Five Days of Mandala Magic, from Julie Gibbons, “a free online workshop that demonstrates how, with a little know-how + some tools + techniques, you can create beautiful mandalas anytime you feel called – even if you’re not an accomplished artist!”

24. Is Fat Stigma Making Us Miserable? Spoiler alert: YES.

25. 16 Stunning Works Of Origami Art To Celebrate World Origami Day on Bored Panda.

26. Riverside 433 sq. ft. guest cottage is a roomy floating retreat. So dreamy.

27. 30 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself Over the Holidays from Be More With Less, a great list for any time of year, not just the holidays.

28. A Healthy Way to Aspire to a Better Life on Zen Habits. The title says it all.

29. money talks with Laurie Wagner. I love this column. I love Sherry, the lovely host. And you know I love Laurie.

30. Wisdom from Jonathan Fields, “Never allow the false urgency of others to dictate where and when you place your attention.”

31. In April 2013, Diana Kim spotted her father for the first time in decades. “He was living on the street, disheveled and unkempt, and didn’t have a clue who she was.”

32. The fallacy of ‘go big or go home’: redefining ambition from Esmé Wang.

33. Organizers seat woman behind Trump ‘because she’s black’ — so she silently protests by reading her book.

34. I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Writer, And Now I’m Broke And Unemployed. I think it’s so important to have these narratives to balance out the “do what you love and the money will come” ones.

35. Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love (Cover) by Daniela Andrade x KRNFX. The only thing better than a good song is a good cover of that song, and Daniela just might be the queen of covers.

36. The Roar Sessions: Lindsey Mead.

37. 9 Ways Generous People View the World Differently from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

38. A Thanksgiving Reader, a new tradition, offered by Seth Godin.

39. Cultivating Wonder, “4 weeks full of lessons, prompts, interviews + secret missions to grow your sense of wonder” from Andrea Scher, pay what you can. It starts today, but you can still sign up. Again, a disclaimer: Andrea is the reason this blog exists, and I adore everything she does — guide, teacher, and precious friend.

40. Social Media isn’t the point. Storytelling is. “8 things you can (and should) do to become an effective storyteller for your brand” from Christina Rosalie.

Something Good

fallcolorSo great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Kindness Project 51-51-51 on Simply Celebrate. My dear friend Sherry is doing another kindness project, “I will send 51 notes to 51 strangers in 51 days. Do you know someone who is lonely, grieving, disappointed, or blue? Someone who needs a boost? If so, please email me and tell me a tiny bit about their story, why you love this person, and their snail mail address. Also, let me know if you want their letter to be anonymous from the universe or from me on your behalf.” Sherry’s got big love to give. All you need to do is let her know where to send it.

2. Dear Retailers: Screw You, a letter from a woman who’s been both “normal” and “plus” sized.

3. 5 Things to Remember When Someone You Love is Depressed from Marc and Angel Hack Life. So important.

4. Homeless Find New Life Working at 22-Acre Organic Farm and Restaurant. What a great project.

5. The Devil’s Food Cake Recipe That Everyone Should Have. I’m certainly willing to test this out.

6. 5 Things I Know About The Path from Momastery.

7. Memories Of A Maybe Angel In ‘Don’t Suck, Don’t Die.’ This sounds like something I’d want to read.

8. One of America’s most beloved authors reveals her ‘number one life hack’ for lasting relationships. Really good relationship advice from Brene’ Brown.

9. The Elephants Always Line Up To Hug This Old Lady.

10. 16 Poses to Ease Back Pain from Yoga Journal. These are some of my very favorites. Back pain or not, they just feel good.

11. Armed with a Sharpie and rocks, this guy is lifting people’s spirits every day. I love stories like this, people who are driven to make stuff for no other reason than to cheer people up, cheer people on.

12. On Failure, and Not-Failure from Emily McDowell. “TL;DR: Social media is a lie and I fail all the time. But it turns out failure is kind of a lie, too.” I’m so glad that the failure narrative is so popular right now. It makes me feel like I’m in really good company.

13. Wisdom from Friedrich Nietzsche, as shared on Brain Pickings, “There is no way to help any soul attain this happiness, however, so long as it remains shackled with the chains of opinion and fear.”

14. Teddy Bear the Porcupine’s Halloween Feast. This is from a few years ago, but it’s worth watching at the beginning of every fall.

15. 15+ Cats That Don’t Care About Your Personal Space on Bored Panda.

16. Tina Fey cracks up playing LaTina Fey. Thanks Billy Eichner.

17. Little Bird, keeping me entertained on my day off, a video on Facebook from Leanne Guzzwell that’s gone viral. And for good reason: so cute! It makes me want to jump around.

18. The best self-love resources, a really great list from Positively Present.

19. SUSDAT from Seth Godin. “Show up, sit down and type.”

20. How Making Art Changes Your Life and Why You Can’t Make it for That Reason, brilliance from Jen Louden.

21. Brave Enough on A Design So Vast.

22. Choose One Thing to Simplify Your Life (just one) from Be More With Less. I’ve been working with the idea of focusing on just one thing at a time, wanting to simplifying my life, so this list is a great help, and Courtney as always is a great resource. My favorites are #11, #13, #17, and #20.

23. The One Secret Thing All Successful People Do. LOVE it.

24. 11 Things Highly Creative People Sacrifice For Their Art. I wish I were brave enough to do all 11. What’s crazy is that I know if I did, I’d be happy, so what is stopping me?! Also interesting about this list is that it’s actually applicable to more than just artists. It could easily be reframed as a list for all humans who want to live their life fully awake and completely in it.

25. When acceptance isn’t for you, a recent newsletter from Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga.

26. You’re Not Too Tired To Create. You’re Too Distracted. Oh, snap!

27. 200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms from Yoga Journal.

28. Learning to Die. “My mother taught me many things, including, in the end, how to die.”

29. 19 Banned Books That Actually Changed Your Life from BuzzFeed.

30. 11 Charts That Will Speak To Everyone Who Fucking Loves Sleep from BuzzFeed. *gigglesnort*

31. Self-Taught Polish Artist Uses Fallen Autumn Leaves As Canvases For Her Paintings on Bored Panda.

32. Painter Flora Bowley’s new website is so pretty. I especially love her new Studio Diary series. Each month she’ll explore a different theme through a series videos, written prompts, etc. She’s offering the first month free. The theme is Awakening, and you can access it here — it includes a welcome video, mini painting lesson, real time painting demo, a chat with artist Kelly Rae Roberts, a Q & A with Flora, a guided meditation, a conscious movement session with Lynzee Lynx, smoothie recipes from Shannon Sims, etc. Did I mention this first month is FREE?!

33. Where the children sleep, a heartbreaking series from Magnus Wennman, winner of two World Press Photo Awards and fourfold winner of Sweden’s Photographer of the Year Award, who has met refugees in countless refugee camps and on their journeys through Europe this year.

The war in Syria has continued for almost five years and more than two million children are fleeing the war, within and outside of the country borders. They have left their friends, their homes, and their beds behind. A few of these children offered to show where they sleep now, when everything that once was no longer exists.

34. The Glass Is Already Broken from Adreanna Limbach. “Embracing impermanence can help us develop a deeper appreciation for every day and fill our lives with reverence.”

35. Girl Skulks Into a Room. This is a great read. Just trust me and click the link.

36. Daylight Saving – Movie Trailer. Hilarious.

37. Five Days In The Life: Single, Minimum-Wage Fast Food Working Mom in Chicago.

38. Orphaned Raccoon Rescued By Family With Dogs Thinks She’s A Dog, Too. Pumpkin the Raccoon is my new favorite Instagram account — stupid cute, (someone or something that is so attractive it disrupts your ability to intelligently process information while looking at it, something so unbelievably cute it makes you stupid). And, I think Ringo might be part raccoon.

39. 12 Tough Truths About Great Relationships from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

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

Image by Eric

Image by Eric

1. Feast with Rachel Cole. I can’t wait to get started. I’m so ready.

2. Transformation, and Against Fearlessness, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

3. happy 10th birthday, 37days! from Patti Digh.

4. The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur from The Atlantic.

5. Uncertainty is not the same thing as risk from Seth Godin.

6. Swallowing your words, paying rent in hell, and maintaining appearances. Why we make (unhealthy) compromises from Danielle LaPorte.

7. Universal Letter Writing Week: January 8 – 14, 2015 hosted by Alexandra Franzen.

8. Wisdom from Kavita Ramdas,

We need more women that are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.

9. Take A Look Inside This Luxury, 280 Square Foot ‘Tiny House’ In Oregon. And, This Gorgeous Zen-Like Tiny House Spans Generations.

10. Wisdom from Curvy Yoga.

11. YOU Are Not Your Food Plan from Sue Ann Gleason, an older post that is worth another look.

12. Savor from Just Lara, also an older post that is worth a read.

13. Diet Culture: An Introduction & Condemnation. Word.

14. 2014: The year in review from Susannah Conway.

15. Roundup: Books for the soul from The Chicago Tribune. I especially like the part about Anne Lamott.

16. 2015 Resolution For Writers: Be Big (And Then, Be Small) on Terrible Minds.

17. Six ways of compassionate living, (also known as the six Paramitas), wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Generosity. Giving as a path of learning to let go.
Discipline. Training in not causing harm in a way that is daring and flexible.
Patience. Training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed. If waking up takes forever, still we go moment by moment, giving up all hope of fruition and enjoying the process.
Joyful enthusiasm. Letting go of our perfectionism and connecting with the living quality of every moment.
Meditation. Training in coming back to being right here with gentleness and precision.
Prajna (or transcendent wisdom). Cultivating an open, inquiring mind.

18. A wonderful Zen koan: Student: “I’m reaching for the light, please help me.”
Teacher: “Forget about the light. Give me the reaching.”

19. Learning To Love Your Life, As It Is, from Mara Glatzel.

20. The 4 Things I Learned On A 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat on Thought Catalog.

21. I Come to This Year, a poem from Jonathan Fields.

22. A touch of joy for your New Year from Jamie Greenwood.

23. A wonder-filled new year from Christina Rosalie.

24. New Year’s Wishes and gifts from Neil Gaiman.

25. New Year, Not-New Me by Stacy Morrison.

26. Bad Luck of Random Mutations Plays Predominant Role in Cancer, Study Shows. Next time I hear someone say stress or using plastic containers or eating dairy causes cancer, instead of punching them in the face I’ll give them the link to this. (Confession: having lost loved ones to cancer, it makes me so mad when I hear anyone trying to assign blame solely to the choices people make — even though I understand they do it to feel safe because it would mean all they have to do to avoid the hell that is cancer would be to make the “right” choices, because it would mean we can control what happens to us).

27. On becoming silent… from Erica Staab.

28. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: My morning routine and How to read more.

29. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

I’d spent so many years believing that when I lost weight, I would turn into a different person — an easygoing, thick-haired, long-legged, Angelina Jolie type — that it took me awhile to get used to the thinner version of the same old me. But then I realized that I had a life that no one else could have. I stopped writing poetry (which I was terrible at) and started writing what only I could write — my books about emotional eating from a personal perspective. When I gave up wanting to have a life that wasn’t my own, I was able to grow into the life that was already mine, waiting for me to see, inhabit, and live it.

Try this experiment: Instead of waiting to be thin to be happy, try being happy right now. Live as if you were already thin, as if you liked yourself, as if you chose to have the life you have right now.

My bet is that you will discover the real It thing: the riches of your own life that were yours all along.

30. Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying on The Rumpus. Heartbreaking, but so beautifully written and honest — the best kind of writing.

31. Gracias a La Vida (Cover) by Daniela Andrade. Such beautiful lyrics.

32. 6 Quotes & Images to Inspire Simplicity from Be More With Less.

33. Photo Doggies for Anthony, a really easy way to send someone who needs it some love.

34. Tweeting my way through the Himalayas by Paul Jarvis.

35. A Tragic Death Leads to a Nonprofit to Help Rescue Stray Pine Ridge Dogs. I love Pine Ridge kids. I love Pine Ridge dogs. I love helping both. Jayla Marie Rodriguez died on my birthday. This breaks my heart, but gives me a way to help, and I’m grateful for that.

36. 10 Ways to Say ‘No’ That Won’t Damage Business or Relationships.

37. Becoming One With Dharma by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

Something Good

watermelon

This is in my garden, seriously…

1. What do you do when the trolls come marching in?, wisdom from Paul Jarvis.

2. Behind the scenes of this post from Judy Clement Wall.

3. Finding the courage to transform your life, from Caroline Leon of Life is Limitless.

4. The Imaginary World Of…, Keri Smith’s new book.

5. This post on 3x3x365, especially the part about Burg the wonder dog.

6. He Had No Idea He Was Being Recorded Dancing With His Dog on Viral Nova. I bet Eric does this with the dogs when I’m not around.

7. What do you know for sure?, and The Creativity Conversation Continued, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

8. Lisa Congdon Words for the Day :: No. 35.

9. Wisdom from Marianne Elliott on Facebook, “Your home yoga practice is where you find out what really works for you, and what doesn’t. But, maybe above all else, home yoga is where you begin to rebuild your own trust in yourself, your body and your innate wisdom. And very little is more important, and more powerful than that.”

10. Wisdom from Rilke, (thanks for sharing, Sherry).

Sometimes blocked in,
sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you,
and the next, a star.

11. Good stuff from Be More With Less: Jumping Gently Into Minimalism, and If Life Were Simple, and especially this, How to Really Take a Day Off.

12. Be careful what you wish for… it just may come true!!! on Diamonds in the Sky with Lucy.

13. Love, Curvy Yoga – Episode Ten: An Interview with Susan Piver, Anna Guest-Jelley’s podcast, two of my favorite women talking about some of my favorite things.

14. Less internet – but more of what? from The Art of Simple.

15. What Your Random Jobs Have in Common on Create as Folk.

16. Conversation with Lisa Congdon (Art Inc.) on art & lemons in which Lisa talks about her new book, which I need.

17. 11 vegetarian snacks to help you avoid the vending machine, some yummy recipes.

18. lisa congdon: a studio visit and a brand new book from SF Girl by Bay, because you can never have enough Lisa Congdon.

19. Lower Your Standards from Jennifer Louden. I’m loving this particular series from her, a Queen Jenny Bee wisdom primer.

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “If we really knew how unhappy it was making this whole planet that we all try to avoid pain and seek pleasure — how that is making us so miserable and cutting us off from our basic goodness — then we would practice as if our hair were on fire.”

21. Take a Deep Breath from Mara Glatzel.

22. Truthbomb #605 from Danielle LaPorte, “You are the temple.”

23. Good stuff from Chookooloonks: this was a good week (& the philosophy behind it) and respite.

24. Simple Living – Does it Have to be All or Nothing? from Slow Your Home.

25. Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownies, a recipe from Kris Carr.

26. regular people answering hard questions: stacy morrison on Angiecat.

26. My embarrassing picture went viral on Salon.

27. Simply Genius: Nick Offerman Reads Reddit’s ‘Shower Thoughts’ on Hello Giggles.

28. Good stuff from Renegade Mothering: I thought age 4 would be better. I was wrong. and We don’t start with needles in our arms. (Watch her read this essay at BlogHer ’14. She said this about the experience,

So I was honored to be chosen as a 2014 “Voice of the Year” by Blogher for the piece “We Don’t Start with Needles in our Arms.” Here I am reading it. Moments before I went on stage, Arlo had a blow out and I thought maybe I had poop on my fancy clothes. As I changed him on the floor backstage I thought “This is some hardcore parenting right here.” Moments after I got off stage, people started coming up to me, telling me about their alcoholic brother mother sister friend student and I thought “What a life, all of this. Thank you.”

29. What’s In A Body Type? from Sunni Chapman.

30. Summer Homes + Anne Black Ceramics on decor8. The summer home made me *swoon*

31. The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes on Zen Habits.

32. This, everything about this. A picture that Susannah Conway took of her nephew on a visit to the circus. He’s a magical kid, and the image just screams “be yourself.”

33. A really important quote shared by Austin Kleon, about the difference between humor and depression.

34. What Your Junk Drawer Reveals About You, shared by Tammy on her Happy Links list.

35. Shared on Positively Present Picks: Why doing less actually makes you more successful (and how to do it without hurting your productivity) and 5 Ways to Live in the Moment.

36. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list, The Life Changing Crackers, which led to The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread.

37. Wisdom I’ve shared before, but just saw it again and it’s worth resharing,

Six Words of Advice – by Tibetan teacher, Tilopa

Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

translation by Ken McLeod
Quoted in Tara Brach’s guided meditation: Emptiness Dancing

38. More wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “It’s important to hear about this in-between state. Otherwise we think the warrior’s journey is one way or the other; either we’re all caught up or we’re free. The fact is that we spend a long time in the middle.”

39. Navigate Your Life: Sarah Selecky from Jennifer Louden.

40. Mary Lambert has a new album coming out in October!!! The first two songs that have been released are so so so so so good.

41. The Spiritual Art of Saying No from On Being, which ends with,

You say no so you can say yes. It’s sad in the way that all limitations are, but also liberating. You are human and finite and precious and fumbling. This is your one chance to spend your gifts, your attention, most importantly your love, on the things that matter most. Don’t screw it up by being sentimental about what could have been or delusional about your own capacity. Have the grace to acknowledge your own priorities. Prune and survive.