Lessons Learned

2016

These lessons came through my reading/thinking project:

  1. Being honest about myself is one of the most important things in a close relationship, even if/though/when it’s very hard. Maybe especially then.
  2. Hew as closely to reality as possible, in the present as well as the past and future. Don’t lie to myself.
  3. Just be patient and don’t race to find concrete answers. Love the questions themselves.
  4. The stories I tell have great moral weight. Tell them carefully.
  5. Be alone with myself, without distraction. I’ll be happier if I can do this.

These came from my yoga practice:

  • It’s the breath that carries us through transitions. Sure, true in a move from one pose to the next, but absolutely true in a larger way. Transitions are stressful and hard, and breathing through them, remembering to breathe, allowing myself to stop when I need to and gather myself, will carry me through.

2015

I learned these lessons on the yoga mat — a list I’ll obviously keep adding to — and they matter because they matter off the mat. That’s the cool thing about yoga.

    1. My life is not a game of Simon Says, or The Hokey-Pokey. Just because I’m told to put my left foot here, to put my left foot there, to shake it all about, that doesn’t mean I have to do it, or that it’s smart for me, or that my version will look like what I see. My version is my version, true and good for me.
    2. Take the transitions slowly and with care. Moving from here to there, or from this to that, does not have to be rushed. You can get hurt that way. Think before I move, take some breaths, be steady as I go from one thing to the next. Know where my feet are, and where they’re going.
    3. Always ask myself What can I do here, and how can I get more out of what I’m doing?
    4. Balance is not a static state. OH what an incredible lesson. When I’m in tree pose, for example, my standing foot and my body are negotiating tiny shifts to stay in balance. This does not mean I’m doing it wrong, this is the nature of balance. What a good lesson off the mat.
    5. You don’t have to go all the way at first. Start, and hold it, and breathe, and you may find that you can go a little further. The best lesson for perfectionists everywhere.
    6. Turning up the corners of your mouth changes things.
    7. An opportunity for silence is a great gift.
    8. What you let go of (exhale) is just as important as what you take in (inhale).

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