Relationships

How to Stand Still

How to Stand Still

A few years ago, I was at a difficult personal crossroads…

I had just ended a tumultuous relationship and handed in a project that had been my focus for months. Back then, I lived and worked from a tiny solo apartment, and the days stretched silently before me. Unsure of my next steps, I needed something to help fill the hours while I put myself back together. This is how, like hundreds of thousands before me, I found myself at yoga teacher training.

On our first day of class, we sat cross-legged on the floor of a subterranean NYC yoga studio, a couple dozen seekers in spandex. One by one, we shared our reasons for being there — why we were drawn to the practice and what we hoped to get out of it. There were people in recovery from addiction or eating disorders, grappling with a partner’s illness, going through a divorce, grieving a loss, making a career change. And then a few who just really liked yoga.

While my motivations were mainly spiritual, I had a more measurable aim, as well.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a phobia of being upside down. A roller coaster that makes complete loops? No, thank you. When the other kids’ cartwheels looked like perfect wagon wheels, mine was closer to a sideways flop.

Adulthood was blessedly devoid of upside-down-ness, until it came to the end of a yoga class. This is the part that often includes inversions — headstands, handstands, and any position where your feet are over your head. Inevitably, everyone around me would lift off, while I would place my hands to the mat, kicking up just high enough for my inner alarm to sound and then careening back down again.

But now, I was after reinvention. If I could overcome my fear, I reasoned, I would be ushering in a totally new era. If I could very literally flip my perspective, maybe I would see the world in a whole new way.

Once everyone had a chance to get acquainted, the first order of business was to workshop a pose that would serve as the foundation for our entire practice — tadasana, or mountain pose. For the unacquainted, tadasana is perhaps the simplest of all the yoga poses. In a nutshell, you just stand there.

There is more nuance to it, of course. This is how it goes:

Begin by planting your feet firmly on the ground, with your big toes touching. Draw your spine long and straight — imagine you’re a puppet and someone is pulling an invisible string at the top of your head, lifting you toward the sky. Draw your quads up, so your legs feel strong and solid. Gently turn your palms to face forward, like you are ready to receive.

Once you’ve made your way into tadasana, close your eyes. Notice how you can feel your heart beating in the center of your body. Observe that no matter how still you are, your body subtly sways, reacting to both the energy within and the energy around it.

Tadasana teaches us that even in the midst of stillness, there is a lot going on. And that even in the midst of chaos, we have the capacity to be still. “You are not your emotions,” said our teacher. “Notice how ‘I feel‘ is different than ‘I am.'”

As the weeks progressed, no matter how intricate or complicated our lessons became, we always returned to tadasana. This pose, we learned, was like coming back home.

For one blissful week, everything we did remained upright. And then the day came. It was time to workshop handstands. We all stood facing the wall, where everyone sprang onto their hands and kicked their feet upward like very nimble donkeys. Except for me. I was more like an awkward wheelbarrow.

“A fear of being inverted is actually a fear of death,” said the instructor, guiding my feet toward the sky.

“Don’t worry, Caroline!” called one of my classmates. “It’s just a fear of death! That should be easy enough to get over.” (Because yes, even a yoga class has a clown.)

I’d like to tell you all about my killer handstand. I’d love to paint a perfect movie montage where I triumphantly leave the studio by walking out… on my hands. But alas, I did not. To this day, I remain the wheelbarrowiest wheelbarrow that ever was, and I am okay with that.

Because I’ll always have tadasana.

In the end, learning to stand on my own two feet was more transformative than learning to stand on my hands. Just as in class, it is a place I come back to over and over again, especially in times of chaos.

I have been reminded of this many times in recent weeks, as we are faced with so much uncertainty. Staying home has been rebranded as a time to reorganize the spice cabinet, learn a new language, read a book a week, and spiritually reinvent ourselves, all while turning the living room into a school and a home gym. That’s all well and good if it enriches you, but it’s also fine if it doesn’t. It’s okay to wrap yourself in a blanket and pretend to be a burrito for a while. It’s okay to just stand still.

What I learned in that basement room is that there is a little harbor inside of us. Sometimes, you don’t have to be the thing you thought you needed to be — brave, loud, big, small, filled with all the answers. You just have to be. That is enough.


P.S. Single woman seeks role model and 12 women on becoming the person you’re meant to be.

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow.)

  1. Gabrielle says...

    This post really resonated with me! I also signed up for yoga teacher training after a breakup and despite years of practice, I’m still terrified of headstands. It’s hard to see others kick up so easily, and I know I could do it with more practice. I remind myself that yoga is not about ego, and no one is bad at yoga just because they choose not to do the fancy “instagrammable” poses.
    Thank you for this post, your writing is always a breath of fresh air!

  2. Great post! Very inspiring. You’re message really hit home.

    Thank you for posting.

    -Maria

  3. Nifty says...

    Oh my goodness I’m scared of kicking up too! I’ve been putting a bit of pressure on myself to get there, but suddenly feel that I can relax on that and just enjoy the yoga.

  4. Margaret says...

    I do not usually comment on CoJ posts, but I felt the need to share that I absolutely loved this one.

  5. Lisa says...

    Such a beautiful article, and it made me really appreciate mountain pose more in my own practice.

    This, however, chilled me: “A fear of being inverted is actually a fear of death,”. When my son was very little, if he was upset, if you tipped him upside down he would start laughing and he loved it. My daughter on the other hand hated it – she would get really terrified and she was little. Thing is, when she was born she was very ill and spent the first few days of her life in the neonatal unit, within half an hour of being born was in a ventilator, so had a near death experience as a newborn. I always wonder what impact that has had on her – from a tiny baby she has nightmares (her brother didn’t) and she was very attached to me, and now this. She’s fine now though – she has actually just tried to do a headstand in her cot (she’s 2…)

  6. Stephanie says...

    I read something recently that humans who are in survival mode have the instinct to focus on one thing and that is survival. This is why reading, cleaning out a closet, or learning a new hobby may feel impossible right now. You are surviving and that is enough.

  7. S says...

    This post is perfection. Thank you.

  8. Elise says...

    Great post Caroline, you are so right. Tadasanas are just it.

  9. Sarah says...

    Thank you, Caroline. Sometimes just standing still on your own two feet feels like the hardest thing we could ever do. Thank you for acknowledging that.

  10. Emily C says...

    Beautifully written. Thank you :)

  11. Nic says...

    Thank you for this. I really love your writing Caroline. :-)

  12. Bisbee says...

    This was an absolute pleasure to read.

    Today is the first day I did a Yoga for Beginners YouTube. I took a class many years ago, but recall nothing. I will do the video again…and again…until I feel like I can go on to another . It was a chance to begin something at almost 69 and unable to walk for exercise due to a knee problem that I am terrified of reoccurring.

  13. Jeanette says...

    So beautifully written. I love this. It reminds me of BRene brown’s teachings ‘I am enough’ even if I skipped my outdoor run, and asked for a few hours off of work to huddle in bed, eat frozen pizza and watch tiger king. Oh and then also do Tenasana :)

  14. Naomi says...

    Thank you! Like many who have commented, this was exactly what I needed to hear today. I keep returning to it in my thoughts.

  15. Chelsea K says...

    And now I’m crying.

    As always, your writing is beautiful, Caroline. Exactly what I needed to hear today x

  16. Laura says...

    Great Caroline as always.

  17. Madeline says...

    So beautiful. Thank you <3

  18. Sophie says...

    This gave me tears. Thank you for this. <3

  19. alexis says...

    Thank you for this. Reading it was what I didn’t know I needed. Hoping for safety and health for everyone.

  20. Jamie says...

    So beautiful!

  21. Christina Manolaki says...

    Caroline,

    I’m a writer and I envy your writing! Thank you!

    Applauding from Barcelona

    Christina

  22. Katha says...

    Thank you! Beautiful! Now I don’t feel such a failure for not making the best out of a pandemic.

    • Lynda says...

      So true, I’ve been feeling like such a failure because I haven’t baked the bread, or watched the movies and I read more books before this thing happened than since, just trying to keep both mentally and physically safe is taking everything I have. Thank you Katha and thank you Caroline.

    • Abby says...

      Sorry for having been the one who baked sourdough bread, spring-cleaned all the windows of her apartment, did online yoga classes and shared all of that on social media. I feel bad about having made other people feel bad about themselves now. Let me tell you: that was only the first week. I am now starting week four of physical distancing and all I want is to crawl up in bed, eat chocolate covered dinosaur biscuits and watch Gilmore Girls.

  23. Rebecca says...

    This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!

  24. Kylie says...

    This was so good, Caroline!

  25. These days, I recognize a different type of anxiety in myself. Every morning when I wake up, I feel the anxiety to “make this a good one” and “don’t waste your time” and “what else can you do”. The truth is there is not much I can do when work has dried up, but I can be kind to myself and to my partner, and that’s enough. I can just send a message to my friends, and that’s enough. I can marinate that tempeh in the fridge, and that’s enough. Maybe even read ten pages, and that’s enough.

    What I’m saying is that my way of overcoming that anxiety is assigning a lot of meaning to the small things, both before and after I do them. And that is enough. I am enough.

    • Laura says...

      I love this. Thank you for sharing!

    • Rae says...

      Beautiful Caroline and beautiful Mickey. Thank you both for sharing. I have hope that some of this lesson will stay with us when we move out of this horrible time. That taking care of others, sending kind words, making food will continue to be recognized as meaningful.

  26. Vikas says...

    Great. The easiest of things are the most difficult.

  27. Robin says...

    I have to say, one of my strengths is standing still. I usually have a few hours each evening to do nothing. “Not doing anything” could be staring into my wood stove, having a bath, drinking a beer on the deck, playing with my dog, flipping through cookbooks. Granted, I don’t have kids (we can’t, sadly). And of course there are busy seasons in life. But I also don’t worry about things like decanting dry goods into fancy containers, tracking my daily expenses, dusting, or setting goals I’ll never achieve, like going on a diet. Anyways, this was an interesting post, because it’s helped me realize that I’m fortunate to be able to shirk any pressure to “do things”. I have friends who are perpetual doers, and constantly overwhelmed, but also insist on cooking whole-food meals from scratch for every weeknight dinner, and things like that. For people who are staying home right now, it can be a good time to realize that we can all slow down, and that slowing down is good for us.

  28. Heather says...

    This is beautiful and was much needed today. Thank you!

  29. Bonnie says...

    Bravo Caroline! Hope you wear your favorite red lipstick to yoga xo

  30. Marcia says...

    Just lovely. Thank you.

  31. Ingrid says...

    Lovely, Caroline. Lovely.

  32. Valerie says...

    The last 3 sentences got me teary-eyed.

  33. celeste says...

    Yes! I have an aversion to inversions hahaha and so I just make up my own flow to fill the space. I’m always adapting moves in group fitness. It’s like jazz.

  34. Jean says...

    Thank you Caroline, this is just what I needed to hear today.

  35. AT says...

    Thank you, Caroline, and thank you, Cup of Jo. I am hoping to find that harbor.

  36. Kathleen says...

    Beautiful writing. Thank you

  37. Inês says...

    I absolutely love your writing, it’s always touching and puts a smile on my face everytime :)
    Love from Portugal

  38. Midge says...

    This made me weepy.

    • This resonated with me so much! Ever since I had my children (now ages 13 + 16 yrs old) I became ghastly afraid of all the inversions during my yoga practice. Like refused to do them, end of story. I kept thinking, what if I slip & fall while upside down and break my neck! Or other equally irrational thoughts. I guess I know now, it was related to the fear of death.
      Anyway, I’m also happy to be a member of the wheelbarrowiest of wheelbarrowers club!

  39. Kimberly says...

    Thank you.

  40. Eleanor Frances says...

    There is an old Jewish phrase………….dayenu………it is enough

  41. D.H. says...

    This post’s reflection, to the current state of our world, made me think of words from author and meditation teacher, Ron W. Rathbun:

    “What we want, is not what we need; because nothing outside us, can fulfill us. How we feel, is determined by us, not something else.”

    Our outside world might be closed, but, our inside world is always open.

    • Rusty says...

      Thank you for sharing that quote. Just what I needed, right here, right now. x

  42. sheila says...

    I needed to hear this today. Your words are powerful, Caroline. Thank you so much xoxo

  43. Leah says...

    I really love your writing, Caroline, and my favorite bit was the movie montage that didn’t happen.

  44. Jessica says...

    Thank you for this. I really needed these words today and I appreciate your perspective. <3

  45. Ana O says...

    This was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you Caroline.

  46. jane says...

    I love how you wrapped it back to “standing on your own two feet”. It exchange for the excellence of this insightful read it seems like the perfect time and place to share one of my favorite essays on yoga written by Elizabeth Gilbert for the NYT’s. . . from after Eat Love Pray was published but in the quiet space just before it blew up:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/magazine/yoga-yall.html

    • Annie says...

      Love this! Thanks for sharing :)

    • Lili says...

      I almost cried from laughter! :)

  47. Christina says...

    It took me 6 years of practicing ashtanga yoga several times a week to finally get into headstand, and even then, my yoga teacher tricked me into doing it on my own. She was pretending she was right in front of me, holding my legs, but really she walked away when she saw I was balancing. After 11 years of yoga and 9 years of Ashtanga, I still struggle with it every once in a while.

    Some people are headstand people, and some are not. I feel ya.

  48. Danielle says...

    This was so lovely – thank you for sharing and for all the good work your team shares with us!!

  49. Annemr says...

    Thanks you for your words today Caroline (I type from under my weighted blanket). I started tearing up and now realize that maybe I’m not as okay as I though. This is all a lot! Working from home, teaching my kids, walking the dogs, fixing meals, exercising… on top of all of the terrible news and continuing worry for those you love. Thank you for making me realize it’s ok to sit here under my blanket and let my kids watch tv while I try to calm myself.

    • Celeste says...

      You sound like you’re doing a lovely job Annemr! You’re right it is very tough to be a teacher now.

  50. Your beautiful writing always is just what I needed to hear.

    Thank you, Caroline.

  51. Holly says...

    ALSO… Can you post this on the Instagram?
    I want to share with friends :)

  52. Holly says...

    Teared up while reading this.
    This was truly a magnificent read.
    Thank you Caroline <3

  53. Stephanie Pan says...

    ” They also serve who only stand and wait.” – John Milton

  54. pb says...

    well damn, caroline. you’re such a beautiful writer. that last line shot straight through me. thank you.

  55. Na. ma. ste. What a glorious piece this is. Xx

  56. Bethany says...

    Caroline,
    What a beautiful reminder that our value as humans is not in what we produce (or learn or do or ….). We can just BE and we still matter.

  57. Lauren E. says...

    This post felt like a meditation in itself. Just beautiful.

  58. Rosie says...

    Thank you for this.

  59. Lisette says...

    This is wonderful, you are such a great writer and it’s exactly what I needed today!

  60. maria says...

    Caroline, this is one of my favorite essays of yours. You’re so good lady.

  61. Jacqueline says...

    What a lovely tribute to Tadasana, and a beautiful reminder that we are enough, just as we are.

  62. Eun Hye Yoon says...

    you have brighten my day and the days to come. Thank you for sharing this.

  63. Elly says...

    Wonderful evocative writing, as per usual Caroline! It reminds me of an idea I’ve come across recently, used first by Dr Russ Harris (I think!), of ‘dropping an anchor’ when you find yourself in an ’emotional storm’: in times of difficulty and personal struggle. An anchor can be anything that helps you to stay grounded in the present moment and more settled in yourself (tadasana is a good example of an anchor!). The storm doesn’t go away when we drop the anchor but we’re able to find ways to hold ourselves steady until it does, eventually, pass. It’s very normal and natural for us all to feel like we’re in the midst of a storm at the moment and all we can do is try our best to keep steady and help loved ones do the same

    • MariaE. says...

      Your words are as beautiful as Caroline’s. Thank you!

    • Misha says...

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s so helpful to me to have that visual of an anchor right now. ⚓️

  64. Kelly says...

    Thank you for this.

    Namaste

  65. Tatitangkad says...

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for reminding me that I don’t need to be anything else other than myself. It seemed simple enough but I keep forgetting, especially now that i’ve become even more dependent on social media to stay connected.

  66. Haley says...

    Chills. Thank you, Caroline.

    This gets to the essence of what my yoga teacher training experience was like, in words I have not yet managed to get out. No handstands, no frilly poses can impact me the way that tadasana can. So deceptively simple, so deeply important, especially right now.

  67. karen says...

    Magical words, Caroline.

    I’ve never been to yoga class, but I can assure you, I’d be the clown.

  68. Sarah K. says...

    Absolutely love everything about this.

  69. Alexis says...

    Caroline, you words always feel as if you are speaking straight to my heart while also holding all of humanity. Thank you for sharing this.

    I’ve struggled with working full time in the little sunroom porch that had been my dedicated yoga/meditation/art space. Now, I find it challenging to do much of anything else in there besides work and be a burrito. Today I ate my lunch on my zafu while watching youtube videos. And while *I* was relishing in this joyful little break, I had these emotions of judgement and comparison arise because I wasn’t using my break to dance or practice yoga or do something creative like all of the social media posts i’ve been seeing! I want to create and move my body but I simply don’t have much energy for it outside of daily walks. And then I read this. Thank you for reminding me that I can stand still and breathe and simply process my emotions and that is completely enough.

    Thank you for continuing to offer your vulnerable/honest/authentic self here!!

  70. florence says...

    Thank you for these words and thoughts! As a creative working from home, with two little ones, I feel all this pressure to “create” during this time. I had grand ideas to reupholster my headboard, repaint a wall, and naively signed up for an online class from Yale two weeks ago, LOL. But, I’m barely surviving, let alone thriving, with no desire or space to create. If I can sleep 7-8 hours without being woken up two times by my three-year old, that’s a win. Sadly, I haven’t had a win in a week or so now, haha. Thus, I’m going to have to be ok with just getting out of pajamas in the morning as I’m so exhausted, and with no end in sight as to when things will get back to “normal,” I will just take one day at a time.

    • agnès says...

      You have two little ones, that’s so much work right now. That’s just what the world needs. It’s a difficult time, be gentle with yourself. Sending love from France.

    • Abesha1 says...

      Also not getting many nights of unbroken sleep here… I love being at home generally, but I find it oddly harder when I’m tired. I think maybe it’s harder to feel the tired when you’re out and about? So I’m working on going to sleep when he does, even though that’s the quiet time…

  71. I love this! Also it reminds me that I want to do yoga teach training – I was signed up once before but ended up moving for a job 5 years ago and haven’t made time to sign up again. But soon, after grad school.

  72. Hilz says...

    Thank You, Caroline ! This is beautiful and was needed for me this morning. I continue to deal with how productive I want to be during this time . It’s been hard to maintain motivation and work toward a new normal as my life was turned upside down .

  73. Ashley says...

    Lovely post – thanks! I have the same fear but it extended to diving.

  74. sara says...

    Thank you for the words, they are just what I needed.

    I have a 14 year old son, here at home who is doing right now nothing, sleeping long, lying in bed, playing with the cats… Normally he would have have now vacation, so there is also no homework to do.

    He is just to be and I’m leaning to be passion and ok with it.

    I, one the other hand, working, I’m 6 hours out of the house while everything around me is in a weekend mood. So I come back pumped full of energy and see what has to be done.

  75. Annie says...

    Thank you for this. (It’s also making me cry!) In this time of great uncertainty, I’ve found that I have to really focus on the present, on what IS right now – whether it’s my breath, my family around me, or my relative comfort. Sending love and strength.

  76. Vivi says...

    Your writing is beautiful as always, Caroline. In simple ways, you find exactly the right words to express a certain message or feeling. I loved the last paragraph especially.

  77. Andrea says...

    I love this post, I would like to try yoga as well :)
    x, Andrea

  78. Yvonne says...

    Hi Caroline: I just LOVE you and your wonderful posts. I am also afraid of handstands. I get very anxious but I try to have compassion toward myself and know that one day I will be able to do it. Be kind to yourself and don’t compare. I have been where you are and I keep telling myself that I am ok no matter what. Keep your beautiful posts coming! Thank you for sharing! Stay well

  79. Kate says...

    Definitely one of your best pieces, Caroline. Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing. <3

  80. BRAVA!

  81. So much yes. This was beautiful. I am also a yoga teacher and have a fear of inversions. It’s the transitions, the getting there that terrifies me. Maybe indicative of life? Who knows. But I just loved the entire sentiment of this piece. And it reminds me of an affirmation I have worked with in the past but need now more than ever-be where your feet are. ❤️

  82. Sarah says...

    Caroline, thank you. I’m too exhausted to think of a better way to say it, so just thank you!

    • Grace says...

      YES! My favorite comment of the day.

  83. Maryn says...

    New favorite CoJ piece. So beautiful. Thank you! (And I appreciate knowing that I’m not the only one who can’t do a handstand or anything like unto it.)

  84. Jill says...

    Damn Caroline. What an essay.

    In the end, learning to stand on my own two feet was more transformative than learning to stand on my hands. ♥

  85. Bianca says...

    This moved me to tears. What a beautiful piece of writing. I don’t even know why I’m crying but perhaps I could use this time to figure out why it resonated so much with me. Thank you, Caroline.

  86. Caroline, thank you so much for this. Exactly what I needed at this moment.

  87. Karina says...

    That was beautiful. Thank you for writing like you do!
    I usually work from home all the time but there’s the gym classes and friends and all kind of things that break up the day/the week. Now all of it is gone and every day is the same (what day is it anyway?) and I miss people. I just really miss people.

    And I feel a connection because I could never do a handstand either. I worried about falling to the other side. That said I couldn’t do one against a wall either. A fear of death? I never heard that before but it makes sense to me at the moment.

  88. Agnès says...

    oh thank you so much Caroline, that post just helped me cry a little. I don’t want to be crafty or read all the books; I’m just tired, I want my life back, I want to go home (I’m at my fathers’ with my family, as he can not live on his own). It’s been 3 weeks for us. I’m exhausted. (there are days like that, I’me fine on the whole).

  89. Tiffanie says...

    This is absolutely perfect and just what I needed today. Thank you, Caroline.

  90. Yishey Choden says...

    I love this so much. Thank you, Caroline. On days when your emotions are a roller coaster (and there have been quite a few of those these last 2 weeks), “You are not your emotions,” said our teacher. “Notice how ‘I feel‘ is different than ‘I am.’” will help me navigate them.
    This and Brene Brown’s podcast on FFT (effing First Time). So good.

  91. Caitlin says...

    This is lovely. Thank you!

  92. Sarah says...

    Caroline’s writing feels like the biggest hug I’ve needed for the past month. I cried at the end, and then read the whole thing over again to savor her turns of phrase. Those last two paragraphs were everything I’ve been needing to hear. God I love this space. Sending lots of love and stillness to everyone who needs it today!

  93. Kate says...

    I’m going to come back to this to read and internalize that paragraph on tadasana. It’s such a good time to turn inward (indeed, what else can we do) and I’m grateful for your writing!

    On all these Zoom calls I’ve come to realize that I can’t sit still to save my life. Everyone else is calmly taking part in the meetings, and I’m fidgeting and crossing and uncrossing my legs and sitting criss cross applesauce and then switching my legs again and then looking out the window and sitting sideways and leaning on one hand, then the other….I don’t understand how people sit still!

  94. Erica says...

    This was beautiful. Thanks, Caroline. From a fellow former yoga teacher training attendee who still can’t handstand :)

  95. Joi Caplen says...

    I really didn’t want to read this but now I’m crying from it.
    The truth and beauty and honesty hit me.
    Thank you

  96. thanks for this.

  97. Em says...

    ‘I’d love to paint a perfect movie montage where I triumphantly leave the studio by walking out… on my hands.’
    Still chuckling at the image! Thanks as always Caroline; you’re such a talent. I’m absolutely baffled as to how this awful situation has so quickly become competitive and commercialised. We just can’t seem to help ourselves from trying to optimise everything! Mustn’t stand still, mustn’t ‘waste’ a second…

  98. Joyce says...

    I love this. I find it so interesting that—even when stuck at home—there is so much focus on the DO. Doing, doing, doing. I have a quote taped over my sink that I look at while washing dishes: “If you seek tranquility, do less.” —Marcus Aurelius.

    It took having a baby in November and a pandemic in March, but I am finally permitting myself to DO less. I made a list of all the things I won’t do in April. I will not learn Spanish, I will not read Infinite Jest, I will not do yoga every day (though, I, too, did Yoga Teacher Training). For me, now is not the time to do. It is, as you said, the time to be. I found listing all the things I don’t intend to do this month quite a freeing exercise, so wanted to share with this community of lovely people in case it resonates with anyone. xo.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that idea, joyce!

    • Em says...

      Yesss Joyce! Or rather no to everything!

    • Tenley says...

      This is so lovely, Joyce. (also, I laughed at the not reading Infinite Jest…I recently dropped that off my “someday” to-dos as well!)

    • Alexis says...

      Joyce! This is everything! I keep making lists of what I think I should be doing and then feel guilty for not reorganizing a closet or making cards to send to friends. What freedom in making a “won’t do” list!

    • L says...

      This is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while – how our society rewards the appearance of busy-ness. Sometimes it seems almost like a status symbol. I think it comes out of good intentions and our idea of who we are as a society but…I don’t know if that judgement is still serving us. The ways we internalize it can be pretty destructive. And now if we are moving in so many ways to a more automated society it might be time to reconsider how harshly we judge ourselves and others and how “busy” we are. This is not to take away from the amazing things that people are doing and some of the rock star parents, etc., that have no choice about busy-ness. It just seems like there are a lot of people who feel like they have to perform a busy life in order to feel like they have value and hopefully we can start to ease away from that social imperative. Much love to you all out there.

    • CS says...

      L that is really well put. Thank you.

    • Katha says...

      Thank you Joyce! That is a new perspective I very much needed. Not just these days.
      Looking forward to writing my Won’t Do List.

    • HH says...

      Love this and also L’s comment. It is a strange blessing in the midst of so much horror to closely observe tiny miracles: my cactus sprouting minuscule new growths, families walking together outside the window, my cats snoring, bees at work. To have time to pray and think. To pay attention to each inflection in my two-year-old niece’s voice when she calls me and after saying hello, spends four minutes breathing. To see my parents not cropped by the boundaries of the screen on the rare days we meet. How I want to hug them. But seeing them is itself a gift. Each day, there are tiny wondrous things, things which weeks ago would have seemed so little, which are now elevated to the importance they deserve. They seem miraculous, these moments.

  99. Heidi says...

    My teacher told us in my yoga teacher training that handstand is just tadasana upside down. 😄
    Never really got there either.