The more I see, the less I know.

It worries me when a doctor, a colleague, an acquaintance – or anyone, really – has an answer for everything. In my head, a red flag pops up as to the accuracy of their responses because there's just no way, right?! I mean, when I think about the ratio of what I do know to what I don't know, I'll be the first one to admit that it's staggering. And, though I don't even know this for certain, I would imagine that that ratio is, perhaps, the same for the majority of us.

I do know John Lennon's with me...
In some situations, I admit, it can be hard to say those three little words: I don't know. To our ears it sounds like a weakness or a liability in a world of layoffs and firings and let-gos. But consider this: to the yogi's ears, I don't know rings of wisdom and truth. Why? Because the world is vast – probably more so than you or I realize – and things are simple and complex and in so much abundance, that we could never wrap our arms around all of it or touch it all with our own two hands. Which makes I don't know openness by admission. It's a strength because it shows a willingness to learn something new. To discover a truth. To change a point of view. To learn. To grow. To love. To see something through new eyes. I don't know is spiritual evolution in motion.

So let's say it more often.

Keepin' It Real

From close to day one, many of us are brought up to know that lying to others isn't kosher. What's a little trickier, however, and what gets far less attention, is the importance of being just as upfront and honest with ourselves. 

Why? Because honesty isn't only words. It's not just a spoken art. Honesty is how we think. How we live. How we choose to spend our time and who we spend it with. In totality, it's how we put one foot in front of the other and walk through this world, around this earth.

Just as little white lies creep up into our throats unexpectedly, it's a tall order to be honest all the time. We're programmed to self-protect with dishonesty, to deny things, to remove ourselves from wrongdoing. It's my guess, however, that we're all – you and me – moving through life with some thing (or more than a few things) we're being dishonest with ourselves about.

And since we're all evolving and changing all the time, that's nothing to be ashamed of. But can you, can I, can we change it? Find a truth that's hiding under a cloak or veil? I think it's possible. And I think we'll be better for it.

How Affirmations Can Help You

I used to work with a woman who was bright and smart and well read and funny. So funny. But as time went on, it become obvious that her humor stemmed from not just the things she thought were silly about life or herself, but all of the reasons why she saw herself as less-than. Suddenly, what used to invoke laughter led to me saying hey now – that's not true. 

I don't work with her anymore, but it's my guess she's still the same. After all, we all self-talk, and, for many of us, it's often negative. And not overtly or obviously so, but in a sneaky, sideways, offhand sigh or doubt – or even in the form of wishing something about ourselves was different or better. 

Though it's always good to be humble, why, for some of us, the human mind is so incredibly self-deprecating, I'll never know. If you're constantly down on yourself or wishing away who and how you are, the good news is there's something that can lift you out of the mud – no changing required. Honestly. Because you? My guess is you're fine. Great, even.

What is required are affirmations. Yogis use them in class and many others use them too. At their simplest, affirmations are positive self-talk, repeated to yourself daily or even more often. These words and phrases carry loads power and potential for love, gratitude and destroying negative energy.
Besides their capability for overturning self-deprecation or feelings of worthlessness, affirmations are beautiful because they can be created by or for you. For example, imagine someone says to him/herself:
I have thunder thighs, and I hate them.

Well, a good affirmation could be, I have strong legs that let me run, jump and play and carry me throughout life. Make sense? Does it seem too simple and silly? Perhaps it is. But you'll never know until you try, and, like all else keep trying. And in case you're not ready to come up with your own affirmations, here are a few of my favorites, which you can use too. :)
Perfection isn't what I'm after or what life is about.
 This is what I can do today. Don’t push; just soften into it.
All good things may not come to me, but I can handle them with grace and peace.
I can handle anything and everything with grace and peace.
My attitude is one of gratitude.
 I have brains in my head. I have feet in my shoes. 
I can steer myself in any direction I choose.
(Adapted from Dr. Seuss)
My heart is open, and I am ready to love 
and be loved.

Music for Yoga Class or Personal Practice or Anytime

I can't put my finger on exactly why, but piano music has been speaking to me lately – and, even though I've never been to a class that had a piano-centric playlist, I kept thinking that its versatility and fluidity would be perfect for yoga. So, I set out to find the right songs for a few classes I was subbing, and, sure enough, quite a few made the cut.

Centering and Warmup/Pratapana
  • Breath by Breath | Album: Yoga Piano | Artist: Yoga Piano Music
  • Lavender Hills | Album: Piano Yoga | Artist: Brian Crain
  • The Blue Sky | Album: Yoga Piano | Artist: Yoga Piano Music 

  • Scarborough Fair | Album: Yoga | Artist: Yoga
  • Summer | Album: Relaxing Piano Music for Meditation, Relaxation and Yoga | Artist/Rec. Co: Autumn Hill Records
  • Cannon in D | Album: Relaxing Piano Music for Meditation, Relaxation and Yoga | Artist/Rec. Co: Autumn Hill Records
  • What a Wonderful World | Album: Spa Sensations, Relaxing Piano Music for Yoga Class | Artist/Rec. Co: Shamrock-n-Roll *other instruments as well
  • Amazing Grace | Album: Spa Sensations, Relaxing Piano Music for Yoga Class | Artist/Rec. Co: Shamrock-n-Roll
  • Summer Piano | Album: Solo Piano for Spa, Massage, Yoga, Meditation, Relaxation and Tai Chi | Artist: The Solo Piano Presenters

Cooldown and Savasana
  • Piano Dreams | Album: Best of Spa Music, Yoga, Meditation, Massage and Spa | Artist: Michael Silverman  
  • Sleeping Beauty | Album: Solo Piano for Spa, Massage, Yoga, Meditation, Relaxation and Tai Chi | Artist: The Solo Piano Presenters *love to let a song drain out to silence for the rest of savasana

Benefit of the doubt...

I was driving through a crazy narrow parking lot – also known as the nearest post office – when a little black car shot out from one of the spots. "Hey now..." popped into my head. Fortunately, I was inching along like a grandma, so no harm was done. I stopped just in time from hitting him right in the passenger-side doors.
Photo Credit:
As I was absorbing the situation – my foot still on the brake – his car was suddenly in drive. He angled the car sharp and sped forward, almost side-swiping me.

Jerk, right?

Maybe. But probably not.

Sure, he wasn't doing the right thing at the right time (or obeying any rules of the road or safety), but...was it intentional? Could it be that he's just one of many people in this world having a rough go of things? Could he have a screaming child in the backseat? Just lost a loved one? Muddling through a worse-than-usual bad day? Maybe it's all of the above.

via Pinterest
While I wish he had been more careful, the moral of this little story isn't about the other guy. It's that it's easiest to go through life assuming that things are a personal affront. I mean, if our egos are in the driver's seat (and they usually are), everything feels like it's being done to us and not simply happening around us. But seriously. We all have a lot going on, a lot expected from us and then a little more heaped on top of that, which makes us pretty prone to operating without thinking and to making mistakes. Not to or at someone, necessarily. But in general. So let's calm down and give one another the benefit of the doubt. We all need it sometimes.