The month of January has been crazy – snow, a double ear infection, a virus, a foot of snow, an out-of-town guest, more snow, and an electrical fire at our daycare (yes, seriously! everyone is fine) – but I wanted to share this great post: Raising a Kind Daughter. With a daughter to raise, I really enjoyed this writer’s perspective (and with all the various reasons my daughter has been unable to go to daycare this month, I needed the reminder!).
Practicing Satya and Ahimsa at Work January 16, 2014
Lately I’ve been thinking about my own behavior and wanting to get better at practicing kindness, and going along with it, the intersections of satya and ahimsa. Back when I first began my yoga teacher training journey, I thought a lot about satya and ahimsa, but then the topic sort of fell off my mind’s back burner and I hadn’t considered it in a while. Lately, though, I’ve been noticing myself engaging in some inappropriate behavior and comments, especially at work.
For example, one of my colleagues in my office – we’ll call him Larry – has a droning, lengthy way of talking that makes him difficult to listen to, and he’s in a position where he periodically conducts trainings, all of which seem to do in an hour what could have been accomplished in 20 minutes with time for questions. This would be bad enough, but Larry is also not a very friendly or nice man, and my friends who have worked with him more closely report that he’s also not very good at his job. However, not even all of this taken together is justification for making fun of him behind his back. I’ve caught myself saying some rather cruel things about Larry when he comes up in conversation, just for the purpose of getting a laugh. No one deserves to be the butt of a joke – who knows what’s going on in Larry’s life that makes him act the way he does? And all of the things I’ve said about Larry may be technically true, but did they need to be said? Or did they need to be said that way? Practicing satya demands that I be truthful, but it doesn’t demand that I say every truth out loud; practicing ahimsa means not letting violence into my speech. This is one of those instances where, if I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all.
One of my colleagues at another company, Bob, sent an email asking about a project. I had told Bob about the project back in May and we’d even paid Bob’s first invoice for work on this project, so I got annoyed. Instead of just giving Bob the information he needed, I dug up the earlier correspondence and forwarded that along too, and then sent an email to another involved editor at my company, basically saying “That Bob! He needs to get his act together!” Now, maybe Bob did need to get his act together – it seems that there was something incorrect in his records, which was why it didn’t come up when he looked for the project – but there was no need for me to act the way I did. Everybody makes mistakes, and Bob is no exception. I should have just given him the information he needed in a non-judgmental way. And the extra email to my coworker was completely out of line. Again, practicing that balance of satya and ahimsa would have helped me here – delivering the truth and no more, in a kind and compassionate way.
I think part of this issue stems from my own uncertainty in my job. I was moved to another group last summer, and we’re still shaking out some of our roles. Sometimes I have a lot of very important time sensitive work to do; other times I am processing invoices or doing other basic work because our group doesn’t have an editorial assistant; still other times, I am waiting for work to be given to me. I am supposed to have my own projects, but because of my boss’s deeper involvement in the overall product, much of the workflow is still tied up around her and has to go through her first; often I feel like I am waiting for her to give me tasks to do, which is frustrating because I’m used to working independently. I think I’ve been taking this frustration out on others – putting down people like Larry and Bob to make myself feel more secure and more important.
But the office isn’t a playground, and this behavior is childish. What I need to do instead is to open myself to learning new things – if I can learn more about what my boss does on our overarching product, I’ll be able to work more autonomously and will be able to help her more with her heavy workload, balancing out the work between us. Opening my heart and practicing humility on the larger scale, practicing satya and ahimsa in the short-term – these will help me to navigate these challenges and respond to my colleagues with the compassion they deserve.
My Year in Blogging: 2012 and 2013 January 9, 2014
Each year, WordPress sends me a report of my year in blogging. Last year, I meant to post about it but just basically filed it and left it alone, so I thought this year it would be fun to do a bit of a comparison. Here are the links to the full reports: 2012 and 2013.
My blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2013, as compared to 18,000 times in 2012. That’s despite the fact that I added fewer posts in 2012 – I posted 76 times in 2012 versus 90 times in 2013. (I feel like I posted less and less often in 2013, but I’m guessing the volume difference came from the extended blog break I took after having YB in July 2012.) All of the most popular posts were from 2011 and 2012, too – none of the most popular posts were from 2013.
In both 2012 and 2013, the most popular posts were all “pose of the month” posts or sequences of yoga poses (a gentle prenatal sequence I did in 2012 ranked for both years). I think I was doing a lot less actual yoga posting in 2013; I feel like I posted more about spirituality, goals and resolutions, and about my family life in 2013. Those sorts of posts are less likely to get hits from internet searches, and are less likely to be read more than once or referenced regularly. That probably explains the decrease in blog views, since I was producing less of the hard yoga content?
My posts on Thread-The-Needle, Gorilla Pose, and Malasana (Squat) were among the top five posts for both 2012 and 2013. For each of these poses, I seem to remember the posts being difficult to find sources for, so it could be that these are topics not covered as well by the general internets. I’m glad that people are continuing to find my write-ups of these asanas helpful.
People who found my blog by searching online often used these search terms: yoga humor, prenatal yoga sequence, what to say during savasana, thread the needle yoga pose, and upavesasana. (And if you google upavesasana – a less common name for malasana – my post is the second link!)
In the new year, I’d like to come back to the pose-of-the-month concept (although it may be more like “the pose of the semester” or “the quarterly pose” or even just a “Pose Breakdown” – happy to take suggestions on a more accurate name for this!). I enjoyed doing those, and it seems like they’re useful to people. I hope too that at least a few of the people who found me by looking for a specific pose found something else here that they liked as well.
The daily struggle to be a better person January 2, 2014
To start the new year off right, I wanted to share this quote from Cheryl Strayed’s Facebook page:
Is there ever an end to the daily struggle to be a better person? I’m not asking this rhetorically. I’m wondering if there’s a time when you reach it, when you say “I can no longer think of any way to be a better person.” (Or maybe there are people who do not ponder every day how they can be a better person?) When I say “better person” I don’t mean that I constantly tell myself how awful I am but rather I’m very aware of the ways in which I could’ve done better as a friend, as a mom, as a spouse, as a sister, as a writer, as a woman with some serious aspirations for this thing called “balance” (ie: time for exercise, lounging, sex, thrift-store shopping, voracious reading). On a pretty much daily basis I think of how I’ve failed in many of these areas. It’s not a self-hate thing, but rather a deep desire I have to someday fall asleep thinking, “Well done, Strayed. You’ve got it down.” I’m reflecting on this as the first day of 2014 comes to an end here on the west coast of America. Not thinking “Well done, Strayed” but thinking instead, “Maybe next year. Maybe tomorrow. Keep going. Keep walking. Just try to do better in every action, intention, thought and deed.” Happy new year, my friends. I hope 2014 is a revelation and a firecracker for you.
I LOVE this. Strayed is a writer I really admire, both personally and professionally, and I think she really hits the nail on the head here. May we all keep striving to be better people in the coming year.