Weekend Reading
October 27, 2019

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

A couple of days ago one of my yoga teachers messaged me to say that she missed seeing me in class. No pressure, she assured me, but she and the other members of that class (it’s a tight-knit weekend group) missed seeing my face.

I hadn’t been going to that class as regularly as usual: a combination of being busy, being down, and being a little bit isolated. The text didn’t make me feel pressured; I was touched to receive it, and it illuminated something interesting. When I turn inward, it’s usually my way of taking care of myself, or trying to. Sometimes it’s what I need, and sometimes I could afford to push myself out in the world more than I do; I don’t always know what will help more, solitude or socializing.

But it never occurs to me, when I’m keeping to myself, that anyone might notice but me. I don’t always give thought to how friends might feel if they don’t hear from me for a while, or whether members of the communities that I’m a part of might miss having me around.

This isn’t a matter of not caring. It’s a result of my own feelings of shame and unworthiness when I’ve been going through a spell of depression or difficulty. I don’t always like who I become during these periods, so it’s easy to assume that I’ll be less likable to others, too.

I see the faultiness of this kind of thinking; I know that the essence of true friendship is that we show up just as we are, trusting that loving relationships accommodate good moments and bad. But it’s hard to remember this when you’re feeling tired of yourself.

On Saturday, I showed up for my class. I didn’t enjoy the physical practice the way I normally do; I could feel my own stiffness and slowness. But it was really nice to be around my yoga friends for this first time in a while. It made me feel a little more self-accepting and at peace, which is of course what yoga is really all about.

Today, I’m more aware of my interconnectedness and more committed to showing up for community, whether I feel worthy of a place in it or not. Sometimes seeing is believing, and the smiles and hugs I got over the weekend were all the proof I need to be reminded of my own fundamental OK-ness.

I’m OK. We all are. Happy Sunday, and here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

These simple vegan cream cheese pinwheels are a handy recipe for holiday gatherings.

As if vegan meatball parm soup isn’t comfort food enough, bread bowls!

I love the idea of cauliflower piccata.

Double dessert today! First, vegan honeycomb, which I’ve never seen before. Chocolate dipped, no less.

And these chocolate caramel cookies, because they look irresistable.

Reads

1. Speaking of yoga teachers past and present, I really appreciated Michael Joel Hall’s articulation of the concept of “distress tolerance,” which he describes as “the feeling of dealing with things as they are—even when we don’t like how they are.” He’s used this concept to craft a thoughtful asana sequence for political resilience.

2. If you take baked potatoes as seriously as I do, you may enjoy this article.

3. The New York Times features Margaret Renkl’s lovely meditation on rest as a form of holiness.

4. A really interesting op-ed on untreated concussions among survivors of domestic violence, and the lack of attention given to intimate partner violence in our conversation about TBI in general.

5. Finally, I learned so much about peanut sauce from reading this article.

Issuing a reminder to myself, and to all of you, that we’re all needed out in the world and among each other. Hope your Mondays get off to a lovely start.

xo

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    3 Comments
  1. I always love your words, but your timing here was astute for me. I have been struggling again with anxiety; which usually leads to me either controlling or avoiding, and not doing things I love (like yoga). I have started dragging myself to practice, this morning on a particularly exhausted, unwell morning. I saw all the people I practice with; and they seemed very glad to see me. I found comfort in just holding the same poses, and sharing that with others. It was healing, and reaffirming. Thank you for sharing <3

  2. Bless you, Gena, for this one and last week, for the lovely honesty about the spectrum of limitation and risk involved in learning to be present with how we are in any given moment. I am a woman of few words lately, but I wanted you to know I am still reading, benefitting, considering and sending you lots of love.

  3. Gena,

    Gosh do I relate to everything you’ve written. I have been in the worst mental health of my adult life for the past few weeks. I am in the midst of a yoga teacher traning, and even getting to my mat at home feels almost impossible some days. I stepped into my training Saturday morning feeling absolutely a mess and I left today feeling exactly the opposite, the happiest and most in community that I’ve felt in weeks. You put words to my struggles. I’m glad you’re feeling better just as I am.

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