Friday, July 10, 2009

Books, Karma Class and Letting Go

I heart books, did I ever mention that? When I was younger I used to hide behind reading. As a sensitive child I never understood the inner workings of school girl friendships/gossip and didn't do all that well with teasing. I wasn't pretty, I wasn't funny... I was smart. So; instead of socializing I used to stay inside and lose myself in stories.

University was the very best thing I have ever done: leaving my small high school filled with malicious gossip and drama to find other people like me! Friends who were sincere, loving, kind and unselfconcious. I can still devour books, I love holding them and collecting them. This is one area that I'm not very excited about "greening". Reading a novel from a screen just isn't the same. I can't carry it with me to read snippets like a crazed, deprived word addict. My eyes get tired of staring at the computer and if it's a non-fiction novel, well I can't very well scribble my thoughts all over the screen now can I? We have books scattered everywhere in our apartment, holding up plants and waiting to be read.
(our book shelf... I heart it very much!)

Right now I'm finally reading "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert and I have to admit that it is phenomenal. For some reason I thought it would just be a whiny, annoying story about this woman's spiritual journey... and of course those of you who have read it know- it's SO not. As I'm reading about her experience at the Ashram and her perspective of the Divine I find that lately I've been holding on to a lot of negativity... and I should let it go. Most likely leftover tension from my crazy month of May, the full moon and my beautiful moontime visit. Still, last night during Karma class I practiced letting go negative thoughts. I hated the class, truthfully. The instructor (although very sweet) led us through a truly challenging practice, without mention of option for modification and with repeated admission that it was in reaction to her challenging "bootcamp" practice this week. I kept feeling myself getting angry, for those yogis around me who obviously were in pain and weren't being assisted, for my own body that was telling me to take the modifications that I knew and for my ego for feeling like the instructor was going to be disappointed that I wasn't trying the full pose... and then becoming angry that I was made to feel this way.

Then... I thought of letting go. I could choose to be angry and upset or I could choose to just do what my body felt and let go any feelings that I needed to please my instructor. The only person there I had to please was myself. So I did, sort of. Well, I practiced letting go to be honest. By the end of the class, during savasana when someone's cell phone started ringing, it didn't bother me so much. Just a little. Ok, maybe a teensy bit. But I didn't leave the class rip roaring mad- which is a bonus! :)
(books being read- Eat Pray Love & Omnivore's Dilemma and waiting to be read)

After class Andrew and I went to visit our friend's 6 month old who is in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. She has a rare craniofacial syndrome that will require dozens (over 20 at least) of major surgeries before she turns 5 years old. We've been visiting her on and off over the past few months as her mother lives in New Brunswick and cannot (with two other children, her twin 6 month old and a 18 month old-ish) be here all the time. This little one has already had five surgeries and yesterday had an emergency tracheostomy (while still recovering from her last major cranio-facial surgery). Her visit put things in perspective.

Maybe because I know as a professional everything that can result from her syndrome, her future needs and struggles, what having a trach and G-tube means for future feeding and communication skills... all the therapy and work looming ahead. It was heartwrenching but inspiring to see her little body fight fight fight. Even with her differences she was just so cute. She is the reason I love working with children who have special needs. They inspire me, they make me laugh.

One bitty little disappointing Karma class is nothing compared to that.

Blessings and Happy Weekend- I will have updates from our (finally!) next Guerrilla Yoga in the Park tomorrow morning!

(article and photo credit:


  1. An inspiring post, thank you!

  2. Well thats odd, because it appears to me that you ARE funny, pretty and smart :)

  3. I don't read none o' them books...them's too hard...nonetheless, apparently Elizabeth Gilbert was a student and currently a friend of my yoga teacher...though, contrarian that I am, hearing so many good things about her and the book from the people around me strangely seems to make me want to read it less...but, maybe I will, anyway...

    Don't think I know what a Karma class is...though you've probably mentioned it in previous posts that've gone in one each and out the other...besides, them blogs is too hard for me to read most o' the time, too...anyway, based on what you've described here, I don't know if I'll want to find out anytime soon...

    Anyway, I often look at the recovering addicts I work with--coming from such awful backgrounds, so incredibly scarred, struggling against such incredible odds, and yet still trying to get well...which certainly puts things in perspective for me...

  4. Did I love Eat Pray Love... so much that I read it twice and I will probably read it again in the coming year. I am also reading The Omnivore's Dilemma which is very eye opening on where our food comes from.

    Excellent post, love it.

  5. Oh man, I love books, too! I can't go green too much here, I admit. I won't read off the computer (thought I'm thinking of getting a Kindle someday for reading books I don't feel I need to keep), either. And I have to admit, my dream is still to be a novelist - on paper, not in Cyberland!

    I read Eat, Pray, Love in January, right after my boyfriend and I split up. It was just what I needed, except that...I was kinda annoyed by the ending for some reason. But I still plan on reading that again someday soon.

    Blessings to your friend's baby. What a trooper! It's amazing the strength of a child - and as you said, that really puts things into perspective!

  6. I, too, loved Eat, Love, Pray. You might want to check Elizabeth Gilbert out on She gives an inspiring talk on nurturing creativity!

  7. Rose: thank you :)

    Andrew: haha you are SILLY. and I heart you too.

    Dr Jay: you are one strange man haha. Yes- as a fellow contrarian, I also resisted the urge to read her book for the simple fact that people kept saying it was awesome. I'm glad I read it now.
    Karma yoga is a community class where the entire payment goes to charity.

    Vickie: it IS eye opening isn't it?? changed the way I think about food. :)

    YogaWitch/Greenspell: I also just finished the ending (seriously, I JUST put down the book) and am disappointed... but it was fantastic up until that last bit :)
    Thank you so much for the kind words for her baby :) She is a beautiful, perfect soul.

    YogaDiva: she does a talk on TED? haha, fantastic! :)

  8. Ditto, ditto, ditto. Seriously, you will love the talk on TED - I just watched it (about genious as loaned to us, not some quality of the artist). I encountered E.P.L. as an audio book downloaded from the public library - read by Liz G. - she is a wonderfully engaging reader. (I've now listened to it twice.) (FINALLY found a "gentle" yoga class, which I really need - a wonderful meditative 90 minute session on the teacher's home.)

  9. I love to read too but I don't love to collect books - I move too often to collecting things. I check them out from the library instead of buying them or I buy second hand at the library book sale and then donate the books back to the library when I am done reading them so they can be sold again in the annual book sale/fundraiser. (I do own Eat, Pray, Love though - it's so great.)

  10. i really enjoyed this post. it's funny, i just recently put up a post about my own book case. "eat, pray, love" was fantastic. i read it so slow because i didn't want it to end :) good for you for letting go. i think holding in negativity only hurts yourself (and maybe the people closest to you) in the end. i know it's hard to do that. i just try to focus on what i'm grateful for when negative thoughts creep in. and my thoughts go out to the little one, she's a tough one, that is for sure! have a great weekend!

  11. Lots of stuff covered in this post. There are always things that will put things into perspective for you if you can't do it yourself:)

  12. What disappointed you about the book? My only annoyance was that it was such a happy ending. Not that I didn't want her to have a happy ending, of course...just that it seemed too perfect, finding her special guy after her journey. It was like a movie ending, I guess I mean to say.

    I still loved it, though, and can't wait to read it again at some point.

  13. (I'm writing this as i hear Paul McCartney on his ONLY North American stop... from my apartment- it's LOUD, The crowd is the coolest thing to hear)

    Mary Ellen: YAY for finding a new yoga instructor!!! :) Congrats!!

    Sara: sigh- you are so good! Libraries are the way to go :)

    Melita: fun!! Thank you so much for the blessings- we're visiting her again tomorrow.

    Grace: yup, seems these external events are still a part of my journey :)

    Greenspell: yes the book was phenomenal except for the last little bit. i was sad that she stopped visiting the medicine man- kinda like all of a sudden, after finding her man, all her life- independent lessons were thrown to the wind. I skimmed through the rest.
    but i agree, allll the rest was awesome. :)

  14. What a great post!
    I loved Eat~Pray~Love, and read it about 3 times. (Did you know it's being made into a movie?)
    And I love your love of books...I'm the same way. Stacks of them scattered throughout my apartment.
    Your thoughts on your karma class and perspective are very inspiring!

  15. Yeah, I hear ya. I hope this doesn't sound awful, but I really want to read a true story that has a happy ending WITHOUT finding the perfect guy.

    I always wanted to be a writer and thought it would be a hoot to write a book called something like: In Paris with Your Ex. But I have no idea how to write it...not that anyone would honestly be interested! :)

  16. Got your note about the book. Thank you! You are so sweet!


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