On journaling as the great non-performance +
new virtual yoga offering: Retreat Within 🌙

Morning, friends!

It snowed here last week in the desert. It always just feels right to kick things off with a weather report, so there you have it.
Quite honestly, I have tried writing this newsletter every week for the past month, and each time I got like halfway through and then all of my energy just deflated.
But, I was on a call the other day and someone was apologizing to someone about not getting back about something, and eventually someone else just said something like: "I think we can all let ourselves off the hook for any and all things right now."

And I mean... Amen.

It was indeed a month where I felt like I couldn't keep up, not just with deadlines and life housekeeping, but also with worldly events. It felt as though any perspective I might hold one evening could very well drastically change by the next morning due to new information, or at least feel somewhat irrelevant or out of date.

On January 7th (ya know, the day after January 6th) I spent time re-reading my old journal from when I was 13. There's an entry from September 11th, and I re-read my words that night as a sort of strange reprieve from the news cycle.

Sometimes the news feels like it moves too fast while also being the same old story again and again. Do you know what I mean?

Then, I journaled. This felt like a good practice. This felt somehow like a more productive, or at least more soothing, use of my time versus spending 100% of it following headlines, which would inevitably transform at an almost too-speedy rate into memes. (Does it feel like we are meme-ifying grief too quickly? I have no idea but sometimes for me it does.)

Memes can't be found in my journal pages. The pages are messy, embarrassing, raw, strange and sometimes with unfortunate holes, but often filled with gems of wisdom because they capture moments I absolutely would have since forgotten or missed the nuance of in hindsight.

Having done a lot of work learning how to love and appreciate my inner child, I often find these entries impressive. A 13-year-old me knew that watching that same clip of explosions on the news again wouldn't serve me. And 32-year-old me could learn a thing or two from her as she spends hour upon hour consuming social media trying to be "informed." And so, I learn from this past version of myself, as I flip instead through the pages of that whimsically illustrated hardbound journal that says, "Day Dreams" on one cover and "Night Dreams" on the other.

To describe my old journals is a whole other letter in itself, but the most striking take-away is how I seem to be managing surprisingly well to make sense of an event that was senseless. It feels as though we are asked to do this so very often, and sometimes I worry we are becoming almost de-sensitized to violence because of it.

At 13, I was not de-sensitized.

You can hear in my voice the struggle to create meaning, wavering from a rote "just the facts" striving-for-journalistic-integrity retelling to lines that earnestly reference "the great God above." It is as though I'm for the first time understanding that how a thing that happens in another's life will come to impact my own for the first time — but all I have been given is a clumsy, contrived vocabulary from people like the talking heads on TV, the grown-ups in the room, my priest, maybe a school teacher here and there. I am tripping over sentences about good vs. evil, at times a puppet that has been given names of people and countries I'd never known about before. It's as though I understood that there might be better questions to ask, and yet I don't have the words to articulate them. You can tell by the words that are scratched out and re-written that I'm conflicted by this.

Sometimes, I wonder what the Internet might look like if we all had the humility and fearlessness of a child with a pen and paper.

I meant to write this newsletter back at a time when it might have felt more "editorially" appropriate, and yet here we are. But it was a message that I really really wanted to still share, perhaps even with a greater intensity BECAUSE of the fact that it now feels oddly out of date. In a way, this illustrates the bizarre trajectory of the news cycle that we are expected to keep up with despite how unnatural that is.

I've found that I can slow down time for myself, setting the speed for my own "news cycle," by looking within when scary things happen like they did that day.

Indeed, having a perspective, and having perspective are not necessarily the same thing.

When I journal, I can use my own vocabulary, one that doesn't need to cater to an algorithm or be perfect. I can reflect and write things down and not have to worry about whether I am right (or more exactly, "more right" than another) or my views will be perceived in a certain way by anyone in particular.

I love and also hate and often resist journaling because it's a performance for no one. I wonder often, who the hell are these for, these journal entries? Writing them is quite like the act of aligning with our own integrity. We don't have to impress anyone with our ideas.

Someone asked the other day in one of those IG question prompt thingies: "Tell me you teach the other 7 limbs of yoga without actually saying that directly." And my response was: "Take out your journal." Because honestly, this is where I both do so much of the work, and it's where I'm just now starting lately to teach it to my students.

So I wanted to send this note to remind you, if the world feels confusing, or you can't keep up with the cycles of information, or you often find yourself going, "I have no clue what everyone is talking about — am I supposed to know? Do I now need to become an expert on decentralized finance? Must I spend the evening looking up the difference between insurrection and insurgency, protest and riot?" that 1) you're definitely not alone and 2) I mean, maybe but also, maybe not. Does it feel like your duty? Then sure. But does it just feel difficult and weird and scary? Then, you could also try meditating and journaling on it.

Sometimes, I think the world is full of misinformation and conspiracy theories because too many people are sounding off from a super-charged place of fear. When I'm being very pollyanna I think, "Shoot, if more people just had the tools to regulate their nervous systems, people might be able to trust again!" (Or like Anaïs Nin wrote, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.")

Most recently, I was mulling over this whole thing. It reminded me of this line from Greenlights where McConaghey offers the bumper sticker: "Be less impressed, and more involved." (The Redditors seemed to have doubled down on this: "Be less impressed, and more invested.") But more than anything, I kept coming back to the idea of betting against someone. That, for me, was the crux of the conversation.

I started to think about how I've done this before, in my mind, because that's how I was taught that the world worked. Someone had to fail so that I could win. Betting against someone tends to hinge on a scarcity mindset. You're putting your energy, your intention, into making someone smaller, your success hinging on their failure. My yoga teacher Aqeel always used to say, "Where your mind goes, your energy goes." If you're in class, but thinking about your car, your car is getting that energy.

So, I was thinking about what happens when we focus our energies on the hopeful demise of another, rather than on abundance, on our own success and how it creates more opportunity for others. Perhaps it's the age-old "I'm rubber, you're glue" maxim at play. Does intending to make someone small end up making you small, being that you are so focused on smallness?

Alas, I am no expert. And so, I will listen and pause, and turn inward and observe, and move and dance and breathe. And like the wise words of Maya Angelou remind me, when I know better, I will do better. In the meantime, while I know very little, I'll try to ask better questions. Even if they just live in the pages of my journal.



Journaling Prompt ✍

First, call to mind something you've heard in the news or a piece of information you've gotten lately that confused, stirred or excited you in some way. Write down all that you know about this news.

Next, write down five (or more) questions you still have. They can be any kind of question that pops up in your mind.

For a last step, write down how you will give yourself permission to not have all the answers to these questions. What comfort or wisdom can you still offer yourself? What kind of person will you be able to be, even without that information?

Upcoming Virtual Offering: Retreat Within 🌙

I'm excited to offer a new yoga series that's designed to cultivate a sense of ease, rest and rejuvenation for the wintertime (those in the southern hemisphere, you're still welcome!). We will close the series with a newly affirmed connection to the body, an understanding of where we can create ease, what our stress triggers are, and how to prioritize rest going forward.

The series will include the following:
  • Welcome circle on the new moon 2/11, 8pm-9:30pm ET with a workshop on setting up a soothing evening routine and impact of the moon's cycles on sleep, guided journaling and intention setting, a gentle, restorative movement practice, and guided rest.
  • Yin and restorative yoga practices, AKA bed yoga. These will be shapes, meditations and breathing techniques that you can do from a bed or while laying on the floor with blankets, either after you rise or before you go to sleep. There will be a couple live sessions in the evenings during the week, which will also be recorded.
  • A collection of unique guided rest recordings will be provided, designed to listen on your own when you need rest or before bed/to help you fall asleep.
  • A closing circle on 2/17 at 9am ET, morning of the full moon with reflection, dancing and music!
  • Also, there will be the option for all participants to set up a 1-1 Tarot reading with me as part of the offering, if you are interested.
  • Maybe some other goodies too!
Please fill out this wait list form if you'd like to join and I'll be in touch shortly with the details 💕The price will be $60.
From a past yoga series student:

"Who knew it was possible to look forward to anything on a December Monday morning?? But I really did! I learned through the format about what helps me stick to my home practice and what I really like: a set time, doing it in the morning, and journaling right after. :) I just can't say enough about how much I enjoyed it, and how much I feel I'm still benefiting and will continue to benefit from it." - Leeann

Worth a read 📚

📺 This TED Talk by Elizabeth Lesser — on how to talk to people you disagree with — is a classic but worth re-surfacing.
🤔 Why do people only see what they want to see? One answer: confirmation bias. [Effectiviology]

✋🦶 "Everything that happens to us, and every action we take, passes through the body...As such, the body is uniquely positioned to send honest signals." [Kevin Simler, Ribbon Farm] Have I mentioned that "signal" is my word of the year? I perk up now when I see it.

🌳 "This inward place is where we work with our own thoughts...and where we keep our own knowledge safe." - The Inward Migration in Apocalyptic Times [Alexis Wright, Emergence Magazine]

Tunes 🎶

Stream this playlist while you mull over any and all perspectives.
Thanks for signing up for Om Weekly! Your Tuesday mornings are about to get a little bit better (I hope). Either way, I promise you won't regret it.

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