Archive for the ‘Inspiring’ Category

Judith-isms

March 28th, 2011 by Jane

The weather keeps springing back on us, doesn’t it? My husband and I spent a long time working in the garden this weekend, as I’m sure many of you did. The above photo is of my rose tree that is about to explode in crimson blooms.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I attended a conference a few weeks ago, led by one of my favorite yoga writers, Judith Hanson Lasater. She was so generous in sharing her knowledge about yoga and about life. I’m still digesting and absorbing many of her aphorisms. She beautifully articulated, sometimes in a funny or moving way, that life is yoga and how we practice both is up to us.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you:

Awareness in Tadasana (basic standing pose) is a life skill.

You can only be
yoga, you can’t do yoga.

We have a tyranny of choice in our lives.

Stability is the first rule of yoga.

Relaxation helps everything.

There is no ease in the edges of anything. Happiness and ease live in the middle.

You can’t be compassionate when you’re exhausted.

Yoga is a support group for people who can’t do yoga.

Give yourself 30 seconds of conscious whining everyday.

How do you define “enough?” The answer will define your life.

Yoga is a strategy for remembering your true self.

Breath is always in the present. You can’t breathe for last week or to get ahead for tomorrow.

Svasana (relaxation pose at the end of practice) is coming home. The post-svasana state is who you are.

Even if you don’t practice yoga, these are interesting to think about. I wrote down many more, and I’ll continue to share them with you. Which is your favorite?

For more of Judith’s wisdom and humor, follow her on Twitter @JudithYoga.

Empty…

March 21st, 2011 by Jane

We cannot let another person into our hearts or minds unless we empty ourselves. We can truly listen to him or truly hear her only out of emptiness. ~M. Scott Peck (from Brainyquote.com)


Happy Spring! I hope you all are enjoying fabulous weather. Lately, I’ve been thinking about emptiness. Sometimes, you might here someone refer to meditation as “emptying the mind.” That works for some people, but not all. The word empty has a negative connotation for most of us.

Indeed, Merriam-Webster’s entry for empty includes these words and phrases: null, unfrequented, containing nothing, lacking substance or reality, destitute, idle, devoid of sense. You get the idea.

But what if you never emptied or cleared anything? Such as your inbox or your refrigerator? What if your stomach was never empty? What if we kept filling everything up and never felt what it was like to feel that emptiness?

My husband and I joke that our life is so full that our cup runneth over, puddles at our feet and then sometimes we fall down in it. Pretty close to the truth on a lot of days, but it is not in our human make-up to be constantly full. In the stomach this creates indigestion. In a home it creates chaos and a feeling of bursting at the seams. In the mind fullness can foster in inattention and lack of focus.

There is much to be learned from emptiness. Even an empty gas tank or bank account brings a lesson, never forgotten. Is that a negative or a positive?

Emptiness allows space, breathing room, possibility. Do you know the story of the begging bowl? Buddhist monks sometimes carry “begging bowls” with them and what sustenance they receive for the day comes from what strangers put into their bowls. Sometimes they receive a slice of delicious bread or warm soup. Other times cruel people might spit into their bowls. This is a spiritual lesson because the monks must learn to be grateful for whatever is given to them. There are similar stories across all belief systems.

If we accept emptiness as something that might be positive, then we can learn. If we allow our bellies to feel empty, we might find out what we are hungry for. If we empty, or calm our minds, we might experience an unknown peace. If we allow some space in our day, in our lives then we might discover our greatest potential.

What do Jon Stewart, Bruce Springsteen and emptiness have in common? Take a few minutes and find out! Funny, beautiful and wise-my favorite combination!

.


Why I Love Tim Gunn…

November 10th, 2010 by Jane

tim-gunn1.jpg

I’ve never met Tim Gunn, but I’d like to. Yes, he is a distinguished sharp-dressed man. As co-host of Project Runway, he has what looks to be a fun job and he gets to hang out with really famous people. But, the fashion, the glamour and the celebrities are not the reasons I adore him.

Everything I have heard him say and the way he interacts with people is remarkable. I’ve co-opted his catch phrase: Make it work! This covers a lot of area, if needed. An article about him ran in the Austin-American Statesman a couple of years ago and I cut out a quote from him that has been hanging on the side of my fridge ever since:

“I’d like to believe that people respond to the fact that I’m a truth teller, but that I’m thoughtful and respectful of who they are,” he says. “I have a profound respect, frankly, for the human race. Am I disappointed by certain aspects of it? Of course. We all are.”

“But I really believe in the right of people to choose, and I believe that we’re not all the same by any means.”

I love his personal philosophy and wish that more of us lived by his motto. I think his respect and humanity come across in the television shows he has been involved with over the years. As far as I can tell from a 2-D experience of him, he tries to bring his highest and best self to what he is doing and he treats others as if they are doing the same.  Think about that. What if each of us treated others as if? As if we were our best selves at each moment.

I recently gained another reason to love Tim Gunn when I saw that he posted a video as part of the It Gets Better Project. This movement was started by writer Dan Savage as a response to recent suicides of Gay and Lesbian teens reported in the media. Tim Gunn’s video is very personal and poignant. Take a look and see for yourself.

Blogtastic…

October 24th, 2010 by Jane

I’ve been poking around the world wide web lately and I have come upon some new (to me) bloggers and writers. My favorite sites are those that make you laugh, make you think, are visually yummy and sometimes bring a tear or two.

The following few are just that perfect combination. I’ve marked specific essays that spoke to me, instead of linking to the home page. Can you have a crush on a blog? I do. Check them out and see if you agree.

37 Days
Patti Digh (rhymes with sigh) asks what you would do with your life if you had 37 days to live. No, she didn’t dream this up as a self-help gimmick. She has a very personal, poignant reason for this movement. But she is also very funny and her work is thought-provoking, tender and profound. She’s a wife, mother, diversity expert and writer who has a crush on Johnny Depp, which I get and totally support. Read her Eat on a Door entry and prepare to be charmed.

Kelly Rae Roberts
Kelly Rae is a very successful artist, a new mom and an experienced do-it-yourselfer. Her blog about her life, her art and her home renovations is beautiful to look at and read. Fall in love with her work, her writing and her house here.

Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy
Her tag line reads, “Losing my mind, one child at a time.” She just might be crazy because she has more on her mommy plate than anyone I have ever seen, heard or read about. She lives in Houston and there are days that I want to get in my car and take a road trip to rescue her. But then we wouldn’t get funny posts like this. Or this.

Wishin’ and Hopin’
If my friend Kelly, who’s in Seoul for two years, ever expands her Random Korea Facebook postings into a blog, then you’ll need to keep some Depends on hand to address the resulting bladder leakage. It’s that funny.  She’s afraid she might cause an international incident, so she only shares her musings with her friends. Maybe when she’s stateside for good…


Thoughts on Perfection…

September 28th, 2010 by Jane


Brenè Brown is staging a prostest. Now, I don’t know Brenè personally, but I’ve seen her speak, read her books, I’m devoted to her blog, and would sign up if she’s ever in the market for a new BFF! So, when she decides to start a movement-I’m all in.

She is protesting perfection. If you are compelled to make sure every detail in your life looks like a magazine spread, to not let the cracks show, to “never let ‘em see you sweat,” then this movement is for you. Not interested, you say? Well, most of us aren’t and we have a pretty good reason for hanging on to our sense of perfection. Brenè believes that we use it as a shield to cover up, disconnect and ultimately hide our vulnerabilities, effectively masking our authentic selves.

Her work as a researcher at the University of Houston is centered on shame-something most people don’t want to think about. She has figured out a few things in her years of study that can help all of us. Such as, it takes courage to be your authentic self. Shame cannot survive empathy. And, empathy and compassion toward yourself can be the most courageous, liberating thing you do. And everyone, yes, everyone craves connection.

Perfection is a stumbling block to connection, creativity, authenticity, compassion and love. Because if you can’t love your perfectly imperfect self, how can you love another imperfectly perfect, goofy soul?

My favorite line from the summer movie Inception, occurs when Leonardo di Caprio’s character tells his wife that he could never have dreamed “the complexity of you with all of your perfections and imperfections.”

Can we look at our beloveds as complex and perfectly imperfect? Can we look at  ourselves that way? Join the movement.

Happy Belated…and 7+minutes of Greatness

September 24th, 2010 by Jane


I missed the Boss’ birthday yesterday. So, a quick shout out to Bruce Springsteen for still rockin’ it at 61.

Here ya go-you’re day is about to get waaaaayyyyyy better after you watch these:

Part One

Part Deuce

And if you think that Springsteen’s music isn’t for you, watch and listen to this. In my humble opinion, this is his most romantic song to date. What do you think?

7 Questions…

June 20th, 2010 by Jane

Our three girls are very curious, active and clever people. But we’re not biased! We enjoy them so much every day, even when they are pushing the limits of our patience. There is a lot of good stuff we get in return, of course and some days we think we are living the modern version of the TV classic Kids Say the Darndest Things.

One of the twins, Twin A on the sonogram, is especially curious about everything. Her nickname around here is Lois Lane. She always knows what is going on in the house and she comes up with questions that we have a hard time answering most days. Here is a sample.

1) Why do we have chins?
Her dad told her it was so our noses wouldn’t slide off of our faces.

2) What’s the number before infinity?
She understands what infinity is, so this one really blew our minds.

3) Why are eyes different colors?
We consulted our neighbor, who is an eye doctor for this one. She gave Lois Lane a really good explanation about pigment and people’s different coloring.

4) Why do boy lions have fur around their neck?
Best guess: For protection when they fight other boy lions.

5) Follow up question: And why do they have that little bit of fur at the end of their tail?
Anyone got this one?

6)  Why are pirates called pirates?
From Latin and Greek origins meaning to attempt or attack.

7) What’s your favorite, Favorite, FAVORITE thing to do?
Be with you and your sisters and your dad.

7 Bright Spots

April 7th, 2010 by Jane

Spring has sprung and the world looks a little brighter, yes? Here are a few more bright spots for you to enjoy!

1) Who is Amy?
No, not our own lovely, Amy K. Brown. I am talking about the equally lovely Amy K. Rosenthal. She is a Chicago-based writer and maker of merriment. Her books are whimsical and touching, her small films are truly inspiring. And in my opinion, The Beckoning of Lovely is brilliant. Her work will be a definite bright spot in your life.

2) Guess What’s Exploding in Central Texas?
See the above photo, shot by our favorite photographer, Amy K. Brown.
We are having an awesome wildflower year here in Central Texas, due to all of the fall rains we had. The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet and they are showy flowers in any year, but this one is a bluebonnetpalooza! Bring your toddlers on up here to put a heinie print in a field on the side of the highway!

3) Do you know TED?
If you are feeling down about the state of the world, then watch some of these TED conference videos. At the Technology Engineering and Design conference each year, some of the smartest people on the planet share their ideas and plans for making the world a better place. It gives one hope.

4) Got Gratitude?
I have been a fan of MJ Ryan’s books on gratitude for years now, my favorite being A Grateful Heart, but I didn’t know that she is an expert on change and adaptability. Peruse her website and blog and you might become a fan, too.

5) Know Any Young Poets?
Check out New Moon, no not that one. New Moon, the online and print magazine for girls, written by girls.

6) Wanna Get Lucky?
Katherine Center’s new book, Get Lucky is out today. I know what I am reading this weekend!

7) How Do You Eat an Elephant?
One Peace at a Time, a documentary by actor, writer and Austin-resident,Turk Pipkin, is out on DVD this week. If you missed his first film, Nobelity, then run out and get it.  In Nobelity, Pipkin asked Nobel laureates what to do about some of the world’s most pressing problems and their answers are simple and fascinating. A movement grew out of that filming experience and the Pipkin family started an non-profit to help solve some of those problems. Watch both of them back to back; with nine Nobel laureates, great music and Willie Nelson-you won’t be sorry! Or go meet Turk this Friday at the release party at Waterloo Records, if you are in the Austin area!

7 Quotes on Being

March 22nd, 2010 by Jane

1) If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy

2) I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself. ~Maya Angelou

3) The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. ~Charles R. Brown

4) We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have-for their usefulness. ~Thomas Merton.

5) Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit. ~William James.

6) We could say that meditation doesn’t have a reason or doesn’t have a purpose. In this respect it’s unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don’t do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. ~Alan Watts

7) You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~The Buddha

7 Paragraphs on Worthiness

March 8th, 2010 by Jane


Remember Wayne and Garth, from Wayne’s World on Saturday Night Live? When the lovable rock hards, played by Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey,  would meet their rock heroes they would bow down and wail “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” This was their way of paying homage to people like Alice Cooper and Bruce Springsteen or whomever the musical guests were on SNL. Silly and fun, they still make me laugh.

Worthiness is the topic this week on the blog Ordinary Courage, by the brilliant Brenè Brown. I have mentioned here before, that Brenè is a researcher at the University of Houston who studies shame and authenticity. She has a new DVD of a lecture she gave on the subject of worthiness and as a way to celebrate the release of it, she is hosting a Week of Worthiness. She has asked bloggers to write about worthiness and post to her blog so that readers can join the conversation. She is also giving away several of the DVDs to a few readers, so drop by her site and sign up!

But, back to Wayne and Garth. What makes their unworthiness so humorous is that they say aloud what we are afraid to admit. I’ve yet to meet a person who has never felt “less than” at some point in his or her life. Sometimes, we allow others to make us feel this way and sometimes we don’t need the help, we can make ourselves feel unworthy all by ourselves, thank you very much.

I know several women whose primary job it is to care for small children. As most of us know, this is an all-consuming but virtually invisible job. As long as you keep the children alive and fairly well cared for, no one notices what you have done. Many will see what you haven’t done, like the laundry or cooking, but the thousand little things that make up a day of caretaking go largely unnoticed. These women are relieved when their husbands are traveling because they do not feel they have to justify their existence. Now, not one of these people is married to a Ward Cleaver type, so this may be entirely self-imposed. But there it is, nonetheless.


Last night, America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of a real-life mother in the movie, The Blind Side. In her acceptance speech she said, with head bowed, “Did I really earn this, or did I just wear y’all down?” It seems even beautiful, rich, funny women don’t feel worthy all the time either. Interesting.

As some of you know, I am a yoga teacher, which is not to say it is my day job, but more accurately, it is the way I try to live my life. On the yoga mat and off of it. This is not easy, but it is more authentic to me than any other way I have tried to live. Yoga is not a religion, but you can use it as a spiritual path, if you choose and I do. One of the main tenets of yoga is to peel away the layers of the ego until you reach your essence, the Self. Easy, huh? Some days, yes. On others, I think to myself, “That’s it, today is the day I will be found out for the fraud that I am!” Luckily, yoga teaches patience and I just try to keep my mouth shut until this feeling goes away. On good days, I realize that feelings of unworthiness are part of the ego I am trying to molt from my Higher Self. Breathing great, deep yoga breaths helps.

Considering the state of the world right now, some people are finding it difficult to feel worthy. When you have a safe, warm home, your health and some means, do you have a right to worthiness when there is suffering on a global scale? I do not have the answers, but I do know that making oneself feel less than does not help anyone: not yourself, not your family, not the people in Haiti, Chile or Turkey. Fully realized, healthy, worthy, whole-hearted people can change the world. One breath at a time.

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