Assess and Re-Assess
At the end of last year, I finally, after a lot of resistance, tried out yoga for a bit, and while it didn’t “take” for me, I did come away with some good resources. One was Diane Bondy, who is fantastic for following on IG for body positivity and also Anna Guest-Jelley, who runs the Curvy Yoga Studio. I really appreciated a “safe” space for my body and trying out yoga. Here’s another reason I liked her approach. This was the first part of her newsletter this past weekend:
“I was creating a yoga video the other day, and it included a balance pose. I balanced fine on my left side, but my right side was a different story.
I was wobbly, and I fell out. I came back and tried again, and I fell out again. I then came back one more time, modified the pose in a different way, and made it work.
For a moment, I had a voice in my head tell me to start over. To edit that part out and make my balance appear to be effortless and the same from side-to-side. That voice told me that people have a lot more options for online yoga videos these days, and that those options are a lot more perfect than mine.
As I was about to walk over to the camera to start over, I paused. And I just thought: Wait, is this what I’m trying to teach? Am I trying to teach perfection?”
And doesn’t this fit well with my One Word Resolution this year of “elasticity”? For sure. The key bits from Anna’s words above are “tried again” and “modified the pose in a different way and made it work.”
I think we are all trying to modify things in a lot of different ways to make them work, don’t you?
Rigor and Stamina
I’ve been struggling with the continuing effects of our past four years of damaging rhetoric: the “can’t win for losing” arguments. The latest: who gets the vaccine. I’ve cheered every single time I’ve seen a photo go through my various social media feeds of someone I know getting the Covid-19 vaccine. And I think many were cheering when that first happened, but now I’m seeing complaints about fairness. I get the frustration. Vaccinations can’t happen fast enough as we are all weary of this pandemic and weary from the worrying about the virus. But, commonly, we’ve grown this idea that if someone hasn’t gotten the vaccine, yet, then it’s not still good that someone else HAS. I understand the impatience, I do. And yet, the more who DO receive the vaccination brings us closer to what we truly want: an end to all that is separating us.
Do you remember when the Danish concept of “hygge” was all the rage? My friend Marcia taught me a similar Norwegian equivalent: friluftsliv. Lonely Planet writer, Sasha Brady says it is “a concept that roughly translates to ‘open-air-living’. It’s sort of like the Danish hygge, but where hygge is about finding comfort indoors, friluftsliv is about finding it outdoors.”
I’m a warm-weather fan. A HOT weather fan, but a couple of years ago, I looked at the upcoming winter and thought, I can keep dreading the neverending season of cold every year, or I can accept that this is where I live (MN) and re-learn how to enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with staying inside and finding cozy activities, but winter lasts forever here and wouldn’t I be happier getting fresh air? When the sun is out is usually when we are at the coldest temps, but, SUN. So I bought better snow pants, hiking boots, and this year I added the snuggly earflap hat like hunters wear because, as my husband says, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
Winter hiking is a different kind of beauty and exercise. And even better? No mosquitoes! And when I return home: cozy activities like reading (and maybe writing) await me. The best of both friluftsliv AND hygge.
I saw this article last week about another impact of pandemic living: missing out on our casual friends, acquaintances. It’s true, I think. Honestly, I have been pretty terrible at keeping up with my close friends and family let alone those I don’t see as often like neighbors or that same waiter we always have at Outback Steakhouse when my partner and I go out to eat for date night. “The way worlds are created is by people sharing with and recognizing each other,” says William Rawlins, a communications professor at Ohio University. When I look at things this way, I see how small our worlds have become and begin to understand why so many people are limited by what they watch on their TV. The more people we are exposed to, the more expansive our empathy. Frequently I notice some people do not do or believe certain things simply because it doesn’t affect them. But what happens when I witness my Black neighbor harassed for simply walking on their sidewalk? How do I feel when I find out that the waiter who told us all about her kids has died from Covid complications?
And what happens when I don’t know this happens, because I no longer see them, even casually?
The Atlantic article speaks to a lot of different ways casual relationships affect our lives. It’s an interesting read, highlighting situations I hadn’t fully noticed, but feel familiar.
Currently Reading (audio): The Lost Book of Adana Moreau – Michael Zapata (A)
Currently Reading (print): Your House Will Pay – Steph Cha
Song of the Week:
This is an old song (and an old video), but one of my friends shared it and it felt appealing on multiple levels. Enjoy the upbeat visual and message we can all try to hold onto for each other.