Patience

I'm currently learning to program. At thirty-six, it's relatively late to start something new. That said, I think of friends, role-models, and sometimes great artistic heroes who've started something late in life for inspiration... 

I've never had trouble with academics, but at the same time, it's a challenge to recontextualize my brain around concepts that are long dormant, eg. anything 'math'. It's hard not to compare myself to the professionals around me, to know that everyone is ahead of me, or better than me, which will always be the case.

I wasn't expecting an emotional roller coaster of the magnitude that I'm experiencing. Being unable to solve a problem for hours, thinking I have a solution, and then learning it's incorrect or, worse, inefficient and elementary -- interspersed with moments of self-proclaimed genius when I have solved something --- can be intellectually and physically nerve-racking. I feel a small shiver go through by body just writing about it!

We're told that women constantly battle feelings of inadequacy, and I feel that now more than ever. I question not only my own intellect, but whether I've truly challenged myself and powered through frustration in the past, and whether I am able to. Sometimes I have to remind myself be patient and compassionate with myself.

Often in yoga, we counsel non-striving. This can be a difficult concept to buy into in the corporate world, even if you're conscientious about it. 'Non-striving' runs directly counter to the generally accepted principles of goal-setting, high-performance, and 'getting ahead'. Is it possible to align both schools of thought or are they naturally opposed? Yoga helps me dial back my inherent intensity, but the in-the-moment contentment is only temporal, like a patch. 

In yoga we often notice how our bodies are different from day to day. A pose that we can ease into one day might be challenging on another. We tell students to be patient with their bodies, and to not push past where they are today. Is it possible to apply this same patience to our minds? I'm still figuring this out.

Stilettos

Ok, ladies and gentlemen, this blog seems to have been all sutras and no stilettos. I'm changing that with my first 'stilettos' post. What do I mean by stilettos? 

When I started this blog, I thought about the tension between the things we love, and the things we we want to love. How do you combine meditation and spirituality with the spicy things in life? Sometimes it seems more noble to renounce the material things in life in favor of the ephemeral, but I know that is not who I am.

I love fashion, decor, and lifestyle. Today, I decided to check out the Everlane open studio event. I'm officially a convert to the chic, simple, light, and comfortable styles that Everlane offers. They're also great for apres yoga! I like the oversized easy fits and airy fabrics.

Here are some photos from the event!

The everlane office is very Brooklyn design chic.

The everlane office is very Brooklyn design chic.

Everlane's bags are unstructured and functional.

Everlane's bags are unstructured and functional.

Selfie. I like Everlane's soft fabrics and translatable styles. They're ready for work and play!

Selfie. I like Everlane's soft fabrics and translatable styles. They're ready for work and play!

The bf will be happy here!

The bf will be happy here!

 

 

Meditations

When I was a kid I grew up with the Buddhist religion as part of my culture. My grandmother would pray before an altar and my mother would pray before bed every night. In Thailand, Buddhism is more of a cultural practice than a religion, more of a community and ritual, than a set of prescribed tenets or values. While the culture internalizes certain values of acceptance, tolerance, and charity, they are not necessarily attributed directly to Buddhism.

The traditional Thai Buddhist prayer is Namo Tassa Bhagavoto, which monks chant in repetition for hours. It's quite beautiful and sonorous to witness this live, and it can be transfixing.

In yoga, we often begin with an invocation or chant. It's a bit reminiscent of the Buddhist chants of my childhood, except often with a musical Western spin.

We are told that yoga is preparation for meditation, that it prepares us to be still in both meditation and in life, which calls to mind the monks who sit and chant as part of their daily prayer and mediation practice. Perhaps it brings them closer to the cosmos, or God.

In college, I practiced silent mediation. It's challenging to 'watch' your mind and the way your thoughts wander and sit with your imperfect mind.

I often contemplate how to reconcile meditative practices with the Western world, how to bring sitting quietly into my routine. I've recently explored guided meditation, which I find more accessible, and also calming. As an addition to this practice, I decided to introduce chanting into to my meditation practice. I play a CD of chants and sit in a dark room in front of a window. It's calming and beautiful. 

Today I tried it with a Western song, and I realized that music itself helps to access a different level of consciousness that is as close to God or meditation as it gets. After all, these expressions are all of them ways to tap into our higher selves, selves that exist beyond the scope of language. 

So whether it's silent meditation, guided meditation, chanting, or just listening to music and focusing quietly, just takes some time to sit still, and enjoy it deeply.