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.
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.
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.
I wrapped up my summer coursework this week, including my Program Planning class, which was not exactly what I thought it would be. I was expecting us to spend a lot of time writing guides, studying policy, and reading briefs and papers, as we have in other classes that are geared toward public health initiatives. Instead, we spent nearly the entire class discussing Ann Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. It’s a book I read a long time ago, because…
Oftentimes when I read about the importance of saying no and setting boundaries, the advice seems to assume that the things being declined aren’t all that desirable: unmanageable amounts of work, exhausting social commitments, and so on. This week, I learned how hard it is to turn down things that might be very enjoyable, but yet feel like too much. As soon as I was on the mend, I wanted so badly to connect with friends, get back to work, and feel more…
It feels so strange to be typing “2015” as a part of these posts! How time flies. I hope that everyone has enjoyed this first weekend of the new year. I’m back from Vieques, and while I miss it, I can’t say I’m not happy to be immersed in a cityscape again. It’s also a joy to be reunited with my kitchen. Like many folks, I love to mix up and invigorate my culinary routine in January, and the following recipes have inspired me already….
Happy Sunday! By the time this post goes live, I’ll be headed out of town to spend some time with one of my closest friends from college. I have the treat of seeing him a few times a year, since his folks are in New York, but it’s rare for us to have a five uninterrupted days together. I can’t wait. My hope was of course to have all of my ducks in a row before I left: school projects wrapped up neatly…