Cheers to the graceful, the workers of their words and those who use stones to strengthen their own house. The power of humility, patience and common sense are valuable tools when experiencing judgement and hate. The level headed and the respectful entertain a variety of opinions, free of reaction and with richness of thought, knowing that a discussion is superior to a fight. An assumption that we know other’s thoughts and beliefs is an unsteady ground for an exchange. We mustn’t mistake non engagement for complacency or surrender. Sometimes, the silence holds extraordinary depth, knowledge and unspoken action. Taking others’ inventory, does not make our lives better, it’s like building a house of sand – temporarily satisfying but easily washed away. The measure of happiness is found in the greening of one’s own garden; a result of a hard work, reflection and soul seeking . We cultivate grace and sprinkle over our lives, it’s gift to ourselves and to every life that our lives touch.
I will not apologize for being born white. For this, I had no control. To say that I am privileged without knowing me, could be considered ignorant. I am aware that the hand that I was dealt was decent, I won’t apologize for this either. It is how we play our hand that counts, choices and directions could be abundant. A change of circumstance can happen in an instant or consistently throughout a lifetime.
I am both grateful and proud to say that I come from a humble middle class family in rural New Hampshire. The circumstances that surrounded my upbringing didn’t happen because I was white. They were created. I had a loving mother and father who were present in my life and who showered me with unconditional love. I won’t downplay this or apologize for it. I am grateful for my early and sturdy foundation, not sorry for it.
Good parenting, marriages and families don’t just happen. They require work. It takes varying degrees of patience, ups, downs, growth, acceptance, determination and this is a non-stop, full-time commitment. My good upbringing didn’t happen because my family was white. To say this, would be a disservice to my folks. Good family circumstance happen through right choices that are combined with a strong moral compass and accountability. This takes hard work, sacrifice and piles of love. As a child, I didn’t think that I was exceptionally fortunate. I simply felt love and supported endlessly, the unspoken and beastly work of dedicated humans. As an adult, I know that I was lucky. I’m still not apologizing. I was the recipient of a nice childhood put together, year after year, by well-intended people. I won’t apologize for their goodness or take credit for it, either. These individuals taught me excellent work ethic, community-mindedness and to do right versus wrong. These weren’t always ‘sit down and listen’ lessons but they were taught by example. They were not perfect. I’m not perfect, nor are my two brothers. We are humans who navigate like humans, growing from our choices, challenges and changing chapters. Our parents taught us how to be productive in society. We have continuously worked, since we were all 16, at least. We are college educated, have happy families and positively contribute to the small worlds we live in. We’re kind, considerate, respectful and inclusive. I celebrate this. I don’t apologize for the life I was born into, where I developed good human traits from. I am humbled and thankful.
This unapologetic white girl will, however, stand beside my fellow humans who are hurting and I will help. I will acknowledge wrong doings, use my life in ways to progress other humans – no matter what color they are. My heart puts no race, no gender and no person above another. I will disagree when I need to, based on what I believe to be true and I will never follow the herd. I will think freely and try to look through a lens without predetermining what I want to see. I will do the right things and stand against the wrongs. I will not righteously shame or judge another’s life. That is the individual’s job. They must look within themselves and view their choices, while basking in their carved out lives, feeling their rights and wrongs. This is not a spectator sport, it’s a personal journey for one.
I will continue to pursue happiness each day and seek ways that I can positively impact others. I won’t lie, steal or cheat. I will, inevitably, continue to be imperfect and make mistakes. I will live with them, through them and learn from them. This is not because I am white. I will not try to change others.
It is not our job to change anyone. If someone is a racist, this is their choice, a choice made by a weak, unhappy and unenlightened individual. They will never have peace, as long as their actions are putting others down. Putting other people down never truly raises another (read that last line again – not only racists do this). Racists live in their own tormented hell of unsettledness and lack of humanity. This is on them. Our focus should be on the changeable things in life.
As a human race, we are wildly different and this is the beauty of life. I love the combined texture that our collective blending makes. Being Americans is our shared strength, why do we keep forcing a divide? Will we ever be equal? I’d like to think yes, but I doubt it – we cannot change people, they have to want to change. However, our individual journeys, side by side can be enormously powerful, as we create our positive and productive places in society, play the hell out of our hands and respect each other without exception. Comparison is the thief of joy, while authentic joy comes from the complete love and ownership of one’s life.
Please don’t judge this white girl by comparing our challenges. Mine are mine and yours are yours and it shouldn’t matter what color we are. They should be equally respected. I’ll share just a few of mine. I lost my father when I was 26, this moment created a huge deficit in my life. My husband and I struggled with infertility for years and eventually had a son. We struggled with infertility again. We adopted our daughter from Guatemala. We dedicated ourselves to a business for 17 years, exhausting our bodies, minds and bank accounts resulting in its closure and loss of our entire financial life. Here is the common thread, I never gave up on myself, my dreams or the example that I want to be for my children. I never stopped trying and rose to challenges, in order to become better. I’ve used my life and have been an advocate for health and wellness. It’s my belief that stress killed my father at 58. Exercise can reduce stress considerably, I’ve been motivating others toward better health for over 25 years. I love my kids as hard and as deep, as is humanly possible. I have taken responsibility for my professional and personal choices. Even when I thought I had been served the biggest crap sandwich from my beloved hometown, where we had our business. I swallowed it down and moved forward. Was I clunky while navigating the shit storm? You’re damn right I was. I stayed mad too long, held out on forgiveness and become a martyr for awhile. Then I realized that the mad was just my sad. I’m thankful for the blessed grace that was created from harder times. None of my challenges or triumphs have anything to do with the color of my skin. I take full credit for my life as a human being.
I will unapologetically pursue happiness, each day. I will continue to wake up with gratitude, satisfaction and not apologize. I have worked, every damn day to feel this way and the color of my skin has nothing to do with it. This has to do with my choices, my upbringing by good people and my undying belief that a majority of people are really, really good.
So to those who want me to check my white privilege, kindly mind your own life, no offense intended. You do you, while I’ll be busy doing my best me.
I’m desperate to know what you are for and not what you are against. Tell me why something is amazing without spotlight things that are not. I’m hungry to hear people’s passions and watch them gush.
Being against something uglies the soul. It leaves a stain, blemishing and infecting our good natures. If a focus is cemented in being against something, it will negatively penetrate a life. It will eat people from the inside out and may be a breeding ground for a bad life. Habitually insulting, blaming and hating changes a person. The negative person wears a lens that is the furthest from rose-colored but work in the same way – it’s glossed in the intended view, first. The ‘against’ view is one of gloom and doom, sadness and madness. Outward critiquing is a weak man’s temporary strength.
It’s a martyring instead of a mastering situation. A pointing out of other’s problems, can be a tactic to avoid the powerful and truthful mirror of the insides. How we treat others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. We’re only as happy as our most negative thought or word.
Adversely, inside construction is where beauty blooms. If we focus on what we’re for, versus what we’re against, we flip the script. Our outlook brightens and we’re able to feel the satisfaction that comes from being wise about who we are. This breeds our capabilities and lays down a pathway to change and betterment, for both our inside world and how we affect the outside world.
It’s easy to be against something. However, being for something calls our spirits into action. Growth is impossible if we’re only against things or diminishing others. We grow when we’re proactively changing and moving forward, for something.
Where does the happy grow? It’s not in the past or in the future, it’s in the doing that we do today, in our present moments. It grows where we groom it and attend to it. A ‘for’ mindset shines the light into our darkest places and encourages the healing of the hurt, which creates strength. This is true strength, superior to the temporary fix of a critics whip.
Are you the potato or the egg? “The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”
The current state of affairs has varying effects on people. I’m in awe of those who are on the front lines, keeping the rest of us safe and providing us with the basis necessities. I’m saddened by the lives lost and the those who’s health has been challenged. I’m a fan of those who have made lemonade out of the lemons. I feel empathy for those who cannot see the light through the darkness.
In yoga, we are basically the same people that we are off of the mat. The type A personality will power through the poses with little attention to what it feels like and the fearful will hold back, shying away from the feelings. The wise are those who are tuned in, knowing that it’s the feeling that matters and not what it looks like. Perfection is not the goal, the goal is making the pose their own. They move like themselves, for themselves toward balance, health, mental clarity and wisdom.
The same could be said for people who are faced with a change in their way of life. This situation will reflect how much they own their lives and well they know themselves. Currently, we’ve been asked to change a variety of things in our lives – some people are effected minimally and some to the max. How we face change and challenge, depends deeply on how our lives feel (not what they look like). How satisfied and ‘at home’ we are within ourselves is the foundation for the successful handling of change. If we combine this with the total ownership of our lives, then it’s a ‘home run’ situation, for moving forward in changing times. Lives are created by choices. Circumstances are hurdles. Handling the hurdles toughens the spirit and carves the character.
Do we allow change and challenge to deepen our resolve or do we ‘uncle’ quickly? Do we wear our bruises and scars like champions or do we simply accept the participation trophy and hang our heads? Do we turn inward to better ourselves or do we criticize and judge others to feel better about ourselves? Remember the critic often knows the way but cannot drive the car.
Then we ask ourselves, “Are we the soft potato or are we the hard egg?
So far, I’ve loved my family more, tried new recipes, cooked more meals, practice patience and became a better homemaker. I rediscover nature, taught my children yoga, figured out how to put yoga online and learned how to work from home. I’ve worn comfortable clothes endlessly, embraced the hunkering down process and savored in the extra time with family. I’ve organized my closet, exchanging my winter clothes for the warmer weather ones. I’ve reevaluated the function of our house. I’ve marveled at my husband, as he creatively transforms another space. I’ve examined my life and considered additions and subtractions. I’ve played with our pets and exercising more. I’ve gotten to know my Mac and discovered many opportunities on the internet to improve and progress myself. I took a photography webinar and I’m writing more. I’ve cared less about my hair and makeup and more about my connection and my impact.
I’ve thought about my mom a lot and how isolated she has to be. Her once busy social circle has dispersed into their respected homes. I’m searching for ways to help her fill her time. I shopped for her and appreciated the reversal of our roles. Now, I’m telling her that she has to stay home. I’ve realized what a privilege it is to still have a mom and how happy I am that her health is good and safeguarded.
Unless, we’re on the front lines of fighting this pandemic, we’re finding ourselves with an abundance of extra time, let us not waste it. It’s a gift not given to everyone. Just turn on the television or step into to a grocery store, a post office or a hospital. These hometown heroes are still working their jobs; providing services, selling goods and helping to heal the hurt.
Those of us who are fortunate to be quarantined in our warm safe homes, should not complain, be bored or waste our time. Let’s be grateful, reflect, dream, improve our health and strengthen our family bonds. We can enhance our lives by finishing unfinished projects, calling our friends and picking up an old or new hobby. We can get organized and prepared for our futures that will eventually happen beyond our front doors. We are the designers of our time and decide the quality of it.
No day should be wished away, go unnoticed or go without meaning. It’s our outlooks, frames of mind and choices, that build better days. We should be like kids in a candy store, rubbing our hands together, imagining the possibilities.
Many of us have the luxury of this new found time. Just think about our extra time, time when we ‘prepped ourselves to go public’, drove ourselves to work (I’ve gained over 3 hours a week just here), brought loved ones to practices, attended games and went to social events. It’s a jackpot of opportunities.
Let’s continue to become reacquainted with those who we share our homes with, nest happily, hope continuously and pray constantly. Let’s read, cook, create, climb, write, call, connect and be grateful for the gains. Let’s give away our time, love, resources or energy toward helping this global situation, any way we can.
What the world needs now is love, sweet love. We shape the way we give it.
There is power in the pause, another ‘catch phrase’ routinely spoken in our yoga practices. How we are on our mats is a mirror of how we are off of our mats. Pauses happen in both places and we probably respond to them similarly.
Are we uncomfortable with the silence and the non-movement or do we cozy up with the curiosity of the unknown and the not-yet- discovered? When we slow our roll, we are gifted with an opportunity to get to know ourselves better.
Our energy is simply vibrations with information and this energy is felt a little more when we pause. This is an ideal chance to gather up these messages and do something valuable with them.
Our thoughts and bodily sensations are magnified when we pause? Do we feel the feels and do the work necessary for progression or do we render the pause powerless by ignoring? If we absorb, study, activate and learn, the pause can turn into peace.
What happens when the quiet penetrates our busy life off the mat? Currently, many of our regular routines have come to a screeching stand still. We are finding ourselves un-lead and undone. The satisfaction and stability that we were getting from our daily schedules has gone by the preverbal wayside, living us with gaps of space and tons of time. How do we move into and through these new hours, days and weeks? This slowed down journey is filled with potential, depending on our mindset and willingness to embrace.
Our pauses beg for self-reflection and a honing in of the hunger that we have for our most true lives. If we pay attention to reoccurring thoughts, day dream desires and pined for passions ~ we can create a decent outline of a more rewarding life. This stripping down of our mundane daily duties and forced environments, may have us thinking a bit differently about what our next chapters can be filled with. Likewise, we notice the beauty that is tucked nicely into our every day lives, the subtle greatness that we sometimes forget to be thankful for ~ our unconditional loves.
We might already be experiencing some of these perfect pauses, they’re perfect because the space has been made for us to glance into our lives with wide opened eyes. We see all the fabulous right in front of us, it’s the fantastic that has been there all along.
Words that we repeatedly echo during yoga, “stability first and flexibility second”. It’s a regular mantra, as we successfully build our postures. The same is true off the mat, securing a foundation before adding additional challenges is a smart way to prepare and to succeed.
It’s critical to be strong and flexible now. Our core base begins at home with safety and protection of our good health. Secondly, we navigate through an ever changing landscape through flexibility. Each new day is bringing different challenges and directives. Being open to change is necessary in maintaining our sanity.
“Change is the only constant”, right? A hundred more things can be said about change and most of them involve growth, discovery, development and evolution. Change has the ability to put our lives into prospective and at the same time magnify the important. The insignificant that previously bogged us down, quickly goes away. It’s in the loss of our normal that we are directed down a new road, grieving the old while still driving forward.
Like most new avenues, there are inevitably twists, turns, bumps and even places to coast. This new direction may require sharp focus and a mind open to embrace a new normal.
We can take our cues from nature and in New England we have the best teacher. We witness how beautiful change can be, as each season unfolds. Even nature showcases some confusion and chaos ~ yesterday was mild and sunny, today we have snow and rain. Each environment has us adapting.
You see, we are nature and we are responders and experts on change. Shifting climates requires us to hone our ‘change skill set’. Are we resistant or resilient? Can we flow, be fluid and fit into new spaces in new times? Are we able to see the good during the bad? Can our rattled selves become smooth operators?
Are we able to continue with a positive mindset, to not allow the worry and negativity in? Can our positive thoughts become body guards to our brain. A strong mindset will sturdy a new foundation.
Maybe we’ve been in constant training for times like now.
Celebrate the cumulation of your chapters, let your skin be thin and wear your heart on your sleeve. Feel the feels. Be accountable, responsible and compassionate. Seek soul connections, be flexible and desire change. Know the difference between the power of pride and the weakness of ego. Give the benefit of the doubt and be a cheerleader of spirits. Have high expectations, dream and be creative. Hold less grudges and find ways to forgive. Allow yourself to think in many directions and know the difference between who you are and what you do. Enhance depth with challenges and choices. Be active in your growth and satisfied at the end of each day. Move forward while still being under construction. Never be done.
Happy people aren’t mean people, its impossible. The happy are too busy living on the brighter side of life. These reward seekers and satisfied reapers are sweet from their spirit. They are horizon expanders, respectful engagers, lovers and non-judgers. The happy have no time for discouraging words and have no need for the down-putting of others. These are the ways of the down spirited, the weak and the jaded, as they manufacture false superiority.
The genuinely happy fix and adjust themselves, knowing when a shift and a change is necessary for improvement, advancement or self-preservation. They aren’t complicated or complacent, they are creative, intuitive and imaginative. They’re not blamers or excuse makers, they’re believers and ‘becomers’. The happy-hearted carve their own way, free of entitlement, deserving and nerving attitudes. These self assured selves shine from the inside out, treating others with care and kindness. The happiest of the happy are content and proud of their imperfectly perfected lives formed from real life living. The harmony of their words, actions and energy is like confetti sprinkled on their already beautiful life.
I don’t have a herd mentality and this is reflected in the way that I view yoga. I believe that a yoga practice is deeply personal and should not be herded into a ‘cookie cutter’ practice, especially one that insists that each posture should looked the exact same way on every body. We should focus on what yoga feels like versus what it looks like ~ Just like we do with our lives.
Yoga is about making it 100% our own ~ separating ourselves from the herd, crushing thoughts of comparison and halting the illusions of what we think we need to be. It’s about loving our broken, bruised and beautiful being. It’s about ‘balling up’ our whole selves, like a twisted knot of Christmas lights, and plugging into our lives by celebrating it all ~ both the brightly lit and the burnt out. We embracing the wins + the warts, the highs + the lows and everything in between ~ those long stretches of discoveries.
Yoga encourages us to be infatuated with the known and the unknown and the delectable dance that they do in our heads. Yoga can lead us into a ‘head over heels love’ with our lives, a place where we appreciate, accept and move with grace through it all; celebrations, struggles, surrendering and savoring. Inside out living is yoga ~ A connection to our own selves and then outwardly to community.
Yoga’s bodily benefits are simple. We create shapes that release blocked spaces in our body. In doing this, our blood, oxygen and energy is freed to flow freely. When free to flow, healing and harmony happens. Our bodies mimic our lives; often holding onto stress and tension due to history, hurt, fear and pain. We do this unknowingly, finding ourselves in this protection mode. These practical poses develop better function; increasing stamina, strength, stability and flexibility.
View yoga as an unsung supporter of life. It’s an enhancer, a magnifier and a celebrator. It’s a mind clearer, a body relaxer and opportunity to know ourselves better. A bit of breath and movement can cue our minds and nervous system to slow down. Putting our lives on pause while we pose, can release the unhealthy and unproductive thinking and put into focus what our hearts need to grip on to, tighter.
For those who haven’t tried yoga, I urge you to strike a pose or two. It doesn’t have to be a complicated experience. You don’t have to OM, speak in Sanskrit, know what chakras are or be super duper spiritual. You are a spirit that has a body and that makes you qualified. You can do one posture or one hundred, there’s no scorekeeping or competing factors.
A yoga practice can put us on a magic carpet ride into a world full of heaping ways to heal one’s self. It’s gentle, non-toxic, reflective, informative and becomes a blueprint to our higher selves. If happiness is the intended journey, yoga helps to point us in the right direction.