SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO PUT THE GLASS DOWN


Have you ever been to a stress management class?

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When the presenter raises the glass of water, you expect the “half-empty or half-full” gambit, right?

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 But consider this question ~ How heavy is this glass of water?

Does the weight really matter, you’re thinking?

Here’s what I think ~ what matters is how long you are holding that glass. If you hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If you hold it for an hour, your arm will ache. If you hold it for a day, your arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each instance, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer you hold it, the heavier it gets.

The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.

So put that glass down…..

…and hit the mat.

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An eco-friendly one, of course. (Skip the overpriced overhyped Lululemon gear. Really, between the thigh-gap debacle and see-through scandal, why wouldn’t you?)  Not sure yoga is for you? Play with it. Bubble the pot, stand back and see what floats to the top.

Take a yoga class with skilled teachers.

Like Amanda…..

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…and Sandra.

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They bring a spiritual energy into the class, their every movement tiger-like ~ slow, methodical, precise, the result of intentional thought.  They are ready to stand and deliver what I need, whether it’s encouragement, a subtle touch or a back-to-the-basic adjustment.

Five people on a beach stand in the warrior pose.

This week I was a first-timer in their classes at the local Y.  They’re top-notch. They know how to work a room, letting me know they are watching and paying attention and there to help my practice.  Lucky me.

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If stress is getting the best of you, bypass the workshop.  Life takes you a lot of places, so adjust your compass.  Add yoga to your Grand Plan.

Yoga Cat

How do achieve inner peace?

Toni 1/24/14

The Way of Silence, a This I Believe Essay by Dianne Aprile – Issaquah, Washington As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, January 17, 2014

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(picture by Doreen Orciari)

I believe in silence. In its power and its persuasion.

I believe that the act of saying nothing often—no, usually—speaks louder than words ever could.

Monks know this. From Thich Nhat Hanh to Thomas Merton to the Dalai Lama, monks know and understand the deeply felt significance of the unspoken.

Poets know it, too. E. E. Cummings said: Silence is a looking bird. Not a singing bird. A looking bird. A bird observing, noticing, listening. Being. Here. Now.

But so do we ordinary women and men know the profound power of silence. Intuitively, we know it.

Consider the wordless communication between mother and newborn at her breast. Or the tacit tête-à-tête that exists in a hospital room where the dying lies in bed and the friend sits, silent, at her side.

I believe in the authority of silence.

What if governments, rather than reacting with statements and decrees, observed silence—briefly but routinely—at times of crisis? What if we, the citizens, stopped to quietly reflect on the day’s news, rather than jumping into the fray with rushed judgments and verbal crossfire?

Silence has its own eloquence.

Think of the times you dissolved a disagreement by not giving expression to the negative emotions it stirred in you.

I believe silence is a way of affirming life, even in a democracy—which, at its heart, is a public conversation. Let’s not forget: conversation implies alternating patterns of listening and talking—equal parts silence and speech.

Imagine an election campaign where no one spoke unless they had something to say. Where silence was imposed for, oh, a calming few minutes after a debate or a misspoken word—so we could meditate on what was said (and not said) before grumbling hordes of commentators burst forth to tell us what we heard.

Think of silence in music, the pause—that empty moment, a bridge between what came before and what is to come. A moment of awareness of the present, with a nod to the past and an ear turned to the future.

Silence, Mary Oliver says, gives poetry its rhythm and music. So too our lives need silence—patches of nothingness, ellipses of emptiness, to inform the drumbeat of our days. And of our duties.

Think of the heroes and movements that used silence to change the world. Silence, as in the refusal to act in bad faith, to follow immoral orders, to go along with wars and poverty and discrimination and the earth’s destruction.

I believe in silence, in its yearning for wholeness, its desire to close the breach, its urge to unite what’s come asunder.

Silence too often gets a bad rap. It’s not apathy or surrender. It’s not looking the other way.

Likewise, speaking is not necessarily speaking out. Sometimes words get in the way of reconciliation. They convey noise, not knowledge.

Imagine allowing conflict to settle, rather than engaging it—ratcheting up a level, and a level, and a level. Think of the Dalai Lama’s soundless smile, Gandhi’s quiet walk, Martin Luther King’s carefully placed pauses in his stirring orations. Think of anti-war protests where there were songs and speeches, and think of those conducted wholly in silence.

Imagine a nation that listened rather than blogged and posted. A nation that, in times of turmoil, gave itself permission to be still, to not speak, not act—until all that was unspoken was given time and space to make its case, to be taken into account.

Imagine that.

“Silence is never really silent,” the composer John Cage said.

This I believe.

Dianne Aprile is the author and editor of creative nonfiction books. A former journalist and jazz-club co-owner, she is the recipient of fellowships from Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Foundation for Women, and Washington state’s Artist Trust. Aprile is a member of the nonfiction faculty of Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in writing program. Her latest collaborative project, The Book, combines fine-art photographs by Julius Friedman with writers’ texts.

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