It’s spring, the most hopeful time of the year. The other day, when I was taking a walk around the neighborhood, thrilled that I didn’t need a coat and boots, I started thinking about all the things I need to do to get my garden ready. Although I enjoy gardening, and it would be impossible for me to endure summer without fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes and cucumbers, the whole process seemed a little daunting to me at first.
Next time you’re in a meeting at the office, listen closely to another woman in the room. What you’ll often hear is a struggle in her choice of words or her tone of voice—an urge to convey an idea while avoiding being misinterpreted as arrogant, pushy, or too assertive.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “tribe” over the past week. I just got back from my annual trip to Wanderlust in Squaw Valley, and that word simply encompasses how I feel the minute I step foot into that festival.
Tribe: “Any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions.”
Disclaimer: I’m a hardwired introvert. As a child, my solitary tendencies were so severe that they led me to avoid school events, birthday parties, and especially (gulp) team sports. Fast forward 30 years, and my reserve has eroded into a softer, more socially acceptable version. I’ve still been called “distant,” “hard-to-know,” and—one of my personal favorites—“pleasantly reserved,” but I now traverse the meandering path between poised conversationalist and social escape artist.
“The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.” – Shunryu Suzuki
Seven years ago I found a copy of yoga teacher Matthew Sanford’s book Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, in the local used bookstore. The book lit me on fire: Not only did Sanford’s story of loss and healing profoundly move me, his deep and unique experience with yoga’s ability to transform touched into my own and inspired me to teach to people with disabilities.
How long have you been coming to your yoga mat? When you think about your yoga practice, can you remember what brought you to yoga and how you felt during your first class? It’s been over 15 years since I first stepped on my yoga mat and I remember exactly how I felt. Excited and terrified.
It’s mid-morning and I’ve just finished a client’s photo edits. Light pours into our living room through south-facing windows, tiny dust particles dancing and defying gravity in the rays. I place my meditation cushion in the center of the rug, my brass singing bowl sitting off to the side. I turn my phone’s ringer off and set my timer for 20 minutes. With one swift tap of the velvet-covered stick, the singing bowl chimes a long, unwavering sound that slowly fades. I close my eyes, inhale through my nose, and exhale through my mouth. “Hello,” I say.
If you’re a fan of social media, you’re probably getting used to seeing frequent stories about people innocently posting photos of themselves, only to find that “body-shamers” have come out of the woodwork to make negative comments about their looks, their hair, their clothing choices, their weight…you name it.
Self love. It is the foundation of a happy life and yet, at times, is so hard to hold on to. So, what is self love? While some consider self love to be conceited, the Yamas and Niyamas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras teach us that self love is a combination of ahimsa (non-violence) brahmacharya (non-excess), and santosha (contentment).