Refilling your patience carafe

wine carafe

At some point, we all struggle with patience. It’s definitely not one of my strong suits. In fact, I was recently joking to a friend about those days when it feels as if you have a finite amount of patience, and when it’s gone it’s gone — like a carafe of wine. This, of course, let to a hilarious philosophical discussion about how our carafe’s depth varies from day to day and that we have a seemingly infinite supply of patience in our carafes when it comes to animals, children, and students.

Some days, the carafe is overflowing and all seems right with the world, while others it seems to have a crack and a slow leak. Some days, my carafe is quite plentiful in the morning, but by evening rush hour, it’s dry as a bone, and I watch the last drop dry up from the seat of my inner witness. Sometimes, merely bringing attention to the fact that our patience is challenged, releases the ego’s grasp on our need ‘rightness’ or vindication.

So, how do we keep ourselves from draining our carafe of patience Bordeaux dry? By doing things that replenish your spirit. Taking some time for yourself — even five minutes — to do what brings you peace and rejuvenation can keep you from feeling depleted and drained of loving energy. For some people, it’s a bubble bath alone with a book, and for others it’s prayer.

For me, it’s writing, meditation, spending time with my dogs, and of course, yoga.  I need the time on the mat to ground and center myself, and reconnect with my true nature so that my thoughts, words, and actions come from a place of compassion.

Take time each day to practice the same loving kindness towards yourself that you want to extend outward. Refill your carafe everyday, so it’s available when you need to pour a big glass of patience to someone else. And practice non-judgement and non-violence toward yourself during those times when you can’t seem to harness the patience you think you should have.

What refills your carafe of patience?

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Design Rulz)

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Accepting the unacceptable

mourning statue

At times like this, it’s hard for me to make sense out of the violence and suffering that occur in the world. I talk often about acceptance and awareness, and yet here I sit, a hypocrite, finding it near impossible to reconcile or make peace with what has happened this past week. But, I think what helps me avoid getting stuck in a glut of anger is realizing that acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean endorsement.

In 2012 there have been more than 50 mass shootings in the U.S., the most recent at a Connecticut school that left 27 people are dead, including 18 children. As I type the words, it’s hard for me to digest. I truly have no words.

Although I’ve never met him, one of my most beloved teachers is Eckhart Tolle. His words tranformed me when I was in a not-so-awesome place. I thought this video on dissolving suffering was poignant. It’s not about mass violence, but the message on transmuting suffering into peace is worth watching.

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Be well. Love and be loved. Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

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(Photo: StLouisCatholic)

The inevitability (and benefit) of self-sabotage in yoga

nature walkway at chattahoochee river

Sometimes when we commit to a particular spiritual path, despite our best conscious intention, we can get off track.  In fact, it can seem as if we’re being downright self-destructive and sabotaging our efforts.  But just like mistakes are vital … Continue reading

What is Your Heart Opening Yoga Practice?

As a yogini and a teacher, I always bring my practice back to opening the heart as a way to end suffering.  Everyday, we may not even be consciously aware of what we’re doing to sabotage our own happiness.  Things like attachment, aversion, and fear creep into our lives when we aren’t even looking.

Opening the heart happens off the mat and on through asana, spiritual practice, meditation, and nurturing our creativity.    During my classes, I often end class by reading an excerpt from a meditation book I’m reading, or poem by Rumi or Hafiz, or something I’ve written myself that speaks to the moment. Continue reading

when the yoga honeymoon’s over…

We’ve all experienced yoga burn out at one point or another, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  You just may need to renew the spark in your yoga marriage.  Here’s a great article by Stephanie Carter, “when the honeymoon’s over…”

I’ve had a long, tumultuous relationship with yoga.  We first met in the early 90s and were inseparable, until a misguided physical therapist told me yoga was bad for my neck (boy was he wrong).  After going our separate ways, we reunited several years later and had a series of torrid on-again off-again affairs until about 10 years ago, when we finally settled down.  Like any relationship, we’ve had our share of ups and downs, but things have improved since I learned to navigate the ‘downs.’  Perhaps the trickiest part of a relationship is when the initial burst of bliss and excitement is over and the mundane sets in – that is, when the honeymoon’s over.

Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself.  You discover (or re-discover) yoga and it makes you feel good.  You wonder  – where has yoga been all my life?  You fall in love with the practice, the lifestyle – maybe you fantasize about becoming a teacher (or actually become one!).  All you want to do is yoga.  You commit to practicing X times a week, and you do it, happily.  You resent things like work that get in the way of practice. Then one day when nothing in particular is wrong, you don’t really feel like practicing.  Maybe you talk yourself into it – and maybe it turns out to be a great practice, or maybe it doesn’t.  Even your favorite teacher starts to seem a bit stale.  You’ve hit a wall – the honeymoon is over. At this point in the relationship, many people bail out in search of greener pastures (pilates anyone?).  But if you can steer through this tricky period you will be rewarded with a deeper, more rewarding relationship.

Read the full article, “when the honeymoon’s over,” on Stephanie Carter’s Yoga Blog.

Seize the Moment: Let Your Yoga Pants Get Furry


For those of you under the age of 40 (yea, I can say that now), you may not know who Erma Bombeck is. She was a humorist and newspaper columnist from the 1960s through the 1990s. She wrote a column after she found out that she had cancer entitled, “If I Had My Life to Live Over.”

In the piece, she talks about all of the little things that she took for granted that she would embrace if she had to do it over. Two of my favorite lines are, “I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage,” and, “I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.” Well, my children have four legs and fur, but I still love how she articulates “seizing the moment.”

I think about this piece very often when I catch myself becoming overly concerned about the superficial at the expense of the deeply meaningful. When I come home from work, I’m greeted with the unconditional love of my two dogs, Hattie & Ivy — 120 lbs. of unconditional love that is. As soon as I walk in the door, they’re bursting with so much excitement to see me that they just about knock me down. Continue reading

Celebrate Small Victories (and defeats)

small-victories-workplace-ecard-someecardsI laughed pretty hard when someone posted this image on their Facebook page last week.  It says, “It’s the small victories that prevent me from jumping out the window.”  Besides being funny, it got me thinking about how often we let the little victories go unnoticed and how often we let what we feel are “defeats” take over our happiness rather than see both of them as an opportunity to learn and grow.

We have all had that atrocious week at work or particularly gnarly fight with a loved one.  At the time, situations may seem so insurmountable, you can’t possibly imagine any light.  When you’re in amidst the muck, it seems impossible to step outside of your mind and try to find the lesson, or better yet to see the situation for what it is.

It might seem “Pollyanna,” but several years ago I decided to try and find the silver lining in any situation.  No matter what is happening, I try to take a step back and see the big picture.   In February, I was hit with a couple of large back to back home repair bills. In a former time period, I would have sunk into a pit, seeing only the negatives of the money flying out of my pocketbook.  But since the shift in my perspective, I celebrate the fact that I have a home that I can repair.  I’m grateful that I can afford to pay for these substantial repairs, and I’m supremely thankful that everyone in my life is happy and healthy.  When you walk backwards up the spiral of tumbled dominoes and step out of the maze, you see a beautiful design of interconnected pieces that individually have tumbled over. Continue reading

Freedom through Forgiveness

Hands with forgive stoneI don’t know about you, but I used to be the kind of person that could really hold a grudge, I mean championship, award-winning grudge-holding.  I thought I was honoring myself my not giving up that punishment of another.

The truth is, holding on to that animosity is toxic.  Do you really feel better now that you’ve officially cut someone out of your life, “defriended” them on Facebook, or just froze them out passively hoping to forget those hard feelings?

Whether you make a grand gesture to reconnect with someone whom you feel has wronged you or simply choose to consciously forgive them in your heart, you will immediately feel a sense of completeness.  That “closure” you were looking for wasn’t in the venom.  The antidote is forgiveness.

Sometimes the hardest things we do in life turn out to be the best for us; the most rewarding.  Sending love to a boss who seems to have it out for you, or an ex who has hurt you may seem impossible.  “Why would I send them love?  They don’t care about me…, [insert additional justifications here.]” Why?  Because we are all connected.   Don’t believe in the new age concept?  How about physics?   Mass–energy equivalence states that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. That is, mass is a property of all energy, and energy is a property of all mass; both are connected by a constant.  That all energy is relative is represented by the famous equation E = mc2.

So, knowing that at a fundamental level, we are all one energy, it becomes conceptually easier to believe that forgiveness of others is forgiveness of ourselves.

This type of exoneration, goes both ways.  For it means that we should extend the same opportunity to people with whom you may need to make amends.  Apologizing affords someone whom we may have hurt the opportunity to forgive.  It’s definitely not easy to approach someone from your past, hat in hand, but you can feel the” rightness” in your soul.

First and foremost, though, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, forgiveness and acceptance starts with yourself.  How could you begin to acquit others for their harms against us if we don’t go easier on the person in the mirror?

It’s taken me a long time to cultivate peace with exactly who I am right now through yoga.  Letting go of self-punitive judgement on the mat taught me that I haven’t always been kind or merciful with myself.   In the beginning, if I couldn’t quite rise up and sink effortlessly into Warrior I from a high lunge, I’d deduct points mentally. I was literally robbing myself of the money I’d paid to take the class.  So, gradually, I began to relinquish control and establish myself firmly in my perfect imperfection.

Let go of the toxic harboring, open your heart and give yourself the opportunity to experience freedom through forgiveness.

Namaste.

-Your Charmed Yogi