bossypants on a bra, beauty and more

i’m trying to keep my summertime reading light.
light, meaning semi-un-educational-or-spiritual.
i walked right on by this section
and went straight for the celebrity/artist/autobiographies.
probably not the lightest i could’ve gone, but they’re what i’m craving, so there you go.

Composed, by Roseanne Cash made me cry. many times. not the lightness i was after, but message after message that will stay with me forever. she beautifully captures a difficult love for her father, along with a desperate quest to find her own voice and container for creativity despite not wanting to follow in his celebrity footsteps. all kinds of a-ha’s in this one. a spiritual keeper, despite my best efforts.

Now, I wouldn’t call Bossypants, by Tina Fey necessarily “spiritual,” although she does deliver her share of a-ha’s. more crudely delivered than typical texts of choice…but, if you’re looking for reality with levity, she nails it.

in the spirit of summertime lightness, fingers crossed even the fellah’s will find the funny in these…

on her battle with guilt over not breast-feeding…
“when people say you really, really must do something…it means you really don’t have to. no one ever says, ‘you really, really must deliver the baby during labor.’ when it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.”

on what a wise friend told her about fashion…
“don’t wear what fashion designers tell you to wear. wear what they wear. most designers, no matter what they throw on the runway, favor simple, flattering pieces for themselves.”

her most important rule of beauty…
“who cares?”

on career advice for young women…
“people will try to trick you that you are in competition with other women. don’t be fooled. you’re in competition with everyone. and… wear a bra. even if you think you don’t need it, because, you know what? you’re never going to regret it.”

in the chapter titled, what turning 40 means to me?
“i need to take my pants off when i get home from work. i didn’t used to have to do that. but now i do.”
(that’s the whole chapter. those two sentences.)

i hope at least one of these brought even the slightest grin.

if you happen to be craving something deeper, i am loving Oprah and Deepak’s 21-Day meditation on Grace and Gratitude. Even though it’s Day 11, they keep the last five days up. you can still jump in and get plenty of goodness.

i challenged myself to capture what each day’s message means to me, then share it on facebook/instagram. i was nervous to do it, but as we know… those nerves (aka: resistance) are simply a sign that this is something that means a lot to me.

i’ve been giving it a go…here, here, here and here.

if you’re craving more energy, lightness, kindness for yourself and those around you, i encourage you to give it a go too. because that’s how i’m feeling these days. apparently, this grace and gratitude thing works.

checkout counter wisdom



“how”s your day going?” asked Amy, as she was ringing up my groceries at Trader Joe’s.

i said, “great, how’s yours?”

she said, “really, really good, like over-the-top good because i got so much done before coming to work today.”

i asked her if she makes a to-do list online casino before she goes to bed, so she wakes up raring to go (because this tactic has been on my mind) and she said, no… her to-do process is this:

she tears the cover off greeting cards people have given her, writes her to do list on the back, then every time she crosses off an item, she sends light to the person who gave it to her.

today, she had used a card from her dad.
her list was extra long.
so she had sent him extra love.
this is why she felt so good today.

jaw dropped.

give gratitude.
grace responds.
life lessons are all around you.
just ask.
love her.

old faithfuls. on the road and in my activity bag…

this one’s coming at ya from vacation…
a road trip through park city, yellowstone, bozeman.
where the deer and the antelope play.

antelope yellowstone
literally. just look outside.
where the sky does seem bigger,
in the most awesome way.

old faithful.

as i left yellowstone, the land of Old Faithful, i pulled out an old faithful of my own from my over-packed book bag (the one affectionately known as my “activity bag,” like i’m five or something… )

anyway, the old faithful that was calling to me was, “Yoga Mala,” by Pattahbi Jois, the teacher responsible for bringing Ashtanga yoga to the US in the 70’s. now, i believe all yoga is good yoga, but i will say that the one style or system of yoga that is my old faithful is a traditional Ashtanga practice. i find the familiar sequence, connected by vinyasa (moving with breath, like we do at Session) soothing, comforting, grounding, energizing… life-changing.

here are a few things that Jois and my Ashtanga teachers have drilled into my head over the years…the underlying reminders that keep me coming back to yoga over and over:

practice and all is coming.

no matter the question, this is the answer. can’t get your foot behind your head? practice. can’t decide whether to change jobs? practice. kids driving you mad? practice. craving sugar? practice. every day. in some way. the way to all of the off-the-mat-goodness that DOES come with yoga, whether you’re striving for that or not, is the physical practice. reading about it, wearing the garb and taking pictures of it don’t cut it. ya gotta do it. a lot. with heart.

Yoga Mala says it a lot more eloquently here:

“there are many types of malas… Jois’s mala is a garland of yoga, in which each vinyasa is like a sacred bead to be counted and focused on, and each asana is like a fragrant flower strung on the thread of the breath. just as japamala adorns the neck and a pushpamala (garland of flowers) adorns the gods, so too does this garland of yoga, when diligently practiced, adorn our entire being with peace, health, radiance, and ultimately, self-knowledge.”

sun salutations save lives.

Jois says, when one practices Surya Namaskara (aka sun salutes.. demonstrated here, absolutely beautifully by Seane Corn) with intention, mindful of gaze, breath and bandhas, before asanas, they will receive whatever they desire.

hhhmm… they will receive whatever they desire.

he says a lot more than this, but that one stuck  😉 if all you do is get on your mat and do sun salutes, with even, steady breath and focus, life will shift. illness will be cured. even the mental kind.

(that is how they used yoga back then. in fact, when asked if he received a teaching certificate of any kind after training for 25 years with this teacher, he said, “yes and his test was very difficult: Krishnamacharya gave me one sick man and said, Fix him!”)

there is no end to this.

as one pose is mastered, another is given. the purpose of each one is to prepare you for the next, so you lose attachment to getting anywhere specific real fast. or i did, anyway. i’m not that bendy.

this “practice” has made me a lot more patient and accepting of long, complicated journeys and learning processes… like divorce, moving, leaving jobs, learning piano, navigating relationship, finding my voice, following curiosity, trying new ways, finding my own.

it takes lifetimes to be drawn to yoga.

now, there’s no way of knowing this for sure, of course. i just like the idea of it. it explains why some of us feel so pulled toward it…and some aren’t. it doesn’t make us special, it’s just that maybe we’re being led. maybe our body needs it. maybe our life depends on it.

i think this is why it’s so hard to get friends and family to jump on the yoga wagon when we know it is exactly what they need to cure whatever ails them… it’s just not their thing.  yet.

even Pattahbi Jois, born and raised in India, yoga’s motherland mind you, felt compelled to hide his desire to do yoga from his family. at 12 years old, he left the house early in the morning to study yoga with his teacher, before school.

once officially dubbed a young man in Brahmin terms, he left home, with only two rupees in his pocket, without telling his family where he was going. he was off to study sanskrit and yoga in Mysore, India and  was afraid his family would not let him go. he knew this was his life’s work. he had to go. (btw, he wrote his father after three years to tell him where he was… all turned out well.)

so, even he had to fight resistance to do yoga!

thankfully, he did keep practicing and all did come to him.
he now rests peacefully, proud of his life’s work,
watching all yogis from above,
gently nudging us whenever we’re pulled away,
gently whispering, “practice and all is coming.”

which is exactly what i did this morning,
after a few days away, i got on my mat.
in my pajamas. and practiced.
and boy, do i feel better.
i hope this inspires you to find your old faithful.
whatever makes you feel your best.
fingers crossed it’s yoga 🙂

Page 1 of 6612345...102030...Last »
© Copyright Denese Russell: Writings | created by: IZUMI STUDIOS