Category Archives: YDW

The Dirty Business of 4-Letter Words


I remember the first time I realized that words have power and that some words shouldn’t be said.  I was probably 3 years old and I was with  my mother going to the post office or the bank or some other errand and I referred to someone as a “freak.”  My mother lost her shit.  This was in the late 70’s and the pain of Vietnam was still fairly fresh in my mother’s mind.  She lost friends in that mess.  Anyway, she told me about how some people don’t have legs because they were “lost” in the war, or that some people have disabilities or disfigurements but that doesn’t make them any different than the rest of us.  It went on and and on and on and, honestly, I was just a 3 year old repeating what I had heard someone else say, so I had no intention of sparking a lecture.  But I have never forgotten it.  At that moment, I understood that words have power and that there are consequences for using them (of course, being as young as I was, the only real consequence I saw was getting in trouble with my mom, but whatever, that’s not the point.)

As I grew older, I learned more 4 letter words: Damn. Shit. Crap. Fuck.  I also learned that some 4 letter words have more or less than 4 letters: bitch, shut-up, ass, etc.  This was confusing to me – what were the rules?  How could you tell if a word was “bad” if it had more or less than 4 letters? And why were they bad?  I mean, they are just a collection of letters.  If my breakfast cereal randomly spelled out one of these nefarious words, would I get in trouble? Was the cereal evil? And who made the decision that these words were bad?  What if those people were stupid?  What if they were wrong?

And still I grew.  I always wondered about those words and why and how and who, but I just lived believing that they were wrong and bad.  And, of course, that meant I said them at every single opportunity until they lost their power to shock, to awe, to thrill.  They became what they are – a collection of letters expressing feelings or emotions or ideas.  The same as punctuation marks, they enforced my point.

Since those words weren’t bad to me anymore, I suddenly found myself with a whole new list of words that were bad and hated: salve, slacks, ointment, scrumptious, luscious, and slurp (among others.)  I nearly come out of my skin when I hear these words.  I mean, seriously, slacks?  Are you kidding me?  The are pants, for crying out loud.  Interestingly enough, the words “slacks” doesn’t bother me in the slightest when used as a verb, but use it as a noun and we can no longer be friends. I don’t have any reason for those words to drive me insane.  Okay, that’s not true.  I do have reasons.  Say them outloud. Right now.  Yeah, see, they’re awful, aren’t they?  Horrible, terrible, nasty-bad, egregious words.  I think they’re horrible because of the images they evoke, the feeling in the mouth while saying them, the way they make me feel when I’m exposed to them.

I was thinking about those words this morning and, when I realized that they are bad because of how they make me feel, I suddenly thought of a whole new list of bad, 4-letter words. Fat. Ugly. Stupid. Poor.  Incapable. Worthless. Lacking.  Need.  Hate. Than (think about it – ‘than’ is a word of comparison and that never turns out well.) Broken. Old. Limited. Can’t. Should.  Shouldn’t. Must.  Wrong. Perfection.

I have to stop listing these words.  It’s too depressing.

What would it be like if we replaced those words?  What if we disallowed those words in our life?  What if we never said them to anyone else?  That seems simple enough, but here’s the real challenge: what if we never said them ever again to ourselves?


What if we replaced them with words like: Love. Enough. Trust. Heal. Rest. Peace. Kindness. Beautiful. Healthy. Worthy. Plenty. Truth. Strong. Loveable. Faith. Courage. Can. Progress. Wise. Unique.   How would that feel?  How would it feel to say those words?  How would it feel to hear those words? What would it be like to believe those words about our world, our family, ourselves?

Words have power.  They change who you are, what you believe, how you feel.  One word at a time, we’re deciding our lives. We can make a choice.  What will you choose?  What are your 4-letter words?  What do you choose to replace them with? How does it make you feel?



Results Show


You cannot swing a loaf of bread these days without hitting someone trying to tell you why their way of working out / working in / working / avoiding work /whatever will get you the best results.   It’s all in the media, but it’s coming out of folks mouths, too! Just yesterday, 4 of my Facebook friends had status updates about “proven results” or “the best results” or “the results you want.”   I went to the grocery store and heard total strangers talking to each other saying things like, “That’s the diet supplement you need if you want to get results.” It’s everywhere, I’m saying.

My initial response was to roll my eyes.  Results results results results.  Revolt.

Why do I feel this way? Why do I react to that language with such disgust?  I didn’t used to.  I used to be all about the finish line, the goal, the results I wanted.  And I also used to be miserable, full of self loathing, judgement, competition, greed,  and dissatisfaction, unless, of course I reached “the results I wanted.”  Think there’s a connection there?

Being so focused on results sets you up for total misery.  If you DON’T reach the results you want, does that mean you are a failure?  A loser? Wrong?  If you DO reach the results you want, does that mean that you are superior?  A winner?  Worthy?  It’s all such bullshit.  It’s all about attachment and attachment leads to misery.  No wonder our world is filled with such pain!

What about the journey? What about acceptance?  What about universal light and worth just because you are on this planet?  What about what you learn about yourself on the way? What about contentment and acceptance and love?

Don’t get me wrong.  Goals are important.  Goals keep us moving forward.  Goals stretch our brains.  I love goals.  I guess, however, that over the years my goals have changed.  I used to have goals along the lines of being a certain size, losing a certain amount of weight, having pancake flat abs, etc.  When I look at them now, I realize how incredibly limiting, even harmful, those goals are.  These days I have goals of being completely present in the moment, detaching from the outcome, expanding fully through my heart and mind, living compassionately, accepting myself and others exactly as we are, honoring The Divine in all of us, moving with the breath, and love love love.  Some days are better than others, certainly, but there is no finish line here.  There is no end, no final destination, no moment of Pass / Fail.  It’s ALL pass, ALL win, ALL glory and grace and peace and laurel branches and gold medals and celebration.

When I am on my mat, I try new things.  I might try a new arm balance or handstand variation or maybe I’m working on something a little bit less flashy but more intense, such as learning to care for an injury by being gentle.  Never, however, during these new trials, do I give a flying fig about what it looks like.  I don’t care if I make it today or tomorrow or next year or the 5th of Never because I know it’s not about that.  It’s about dedication, commitment, contentment, acceptance, openness, the breath, the moment, trust, faith, inner strength, courage, serenity, and balance, balance, balance.

I encourage you to throw away your attachment to results.  Live NOW.  It doesn’t matter that no one will be standing behind the microphone saying, “The envelope please …..”  You won’t care because you will have already won.

Your Daily WORD


“We are not grand because we are at the top of the food chain or because we can alter our environment — the environment will outlast us with its unfathomable forces and unyielding powers.  But rather than be bound and defeated by our insignificance, we are bold because we exercise our will anyway, despite the ephemeral and delicate presence we have in this desert, on this planet, in this universe.”

— Aron Ralston

p7, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, 2004

Stacked in Heels: Adventures in Sirsa Tagging


Do you all know Cora Wen?  If you don’t you should.  Cora is pretty  much epic awesomeness rolled up in pajamas and a ponytail.  Having more than a decade on me, she calls herself a YogaCrone, but she seems anything but crone-ish.  Cora is the Sirsasana queen.  She travels the world and throws down in headstands in the wildest places while her beloved Jack snaps picture after breathtaking picture.  Cora calls it Sirsa Graffiti or Sirsa Tagging.  Cora’s love for yoga and her light heart are infectious in the most delicious playful kind of way.

At the beginning of the year, Cora challenged us all to participate in Sirsa Challenge 2010. (Please don’t skip over that link – click on it and check out the video and pics.. unreal!)  You know me, I love a great challenge.  Having recently conquered my fear of Sirsa 1, I was excited to join in on the challenge.  That is until it came time to actually put it into practice!

Yesterday I took my kids to the local art and archeology museum.  It’s a great place and I know that if Cora had been there, we’d only be seeing the soles of her feet as she flipped upside down by all the cool stuff.  I had planned to do my first sirsa tagging there but, admittedly, I chickened out.  What if I couldn’t do it? What if I got in trouble?  What if I … well, you get the idea.  Not to be swayed, however, I felt the need to move forward and do something toward the challenge, so I did a headstand in my front yard on a gardening break.

It’s clearly not as awesome as doing out in public, but there were plenty of folks driving by looking at me like I am insane.  It was a start and it was terrific!  I was totally amazed at what the fresh green earth felt like on the top of my head. Seriously, I don’t think I had felt that in at least 25 years.  The whole world was brighter, fresher, and pretty much just more awesome that it had been in a long time.  Still, however, it wasn’t technically Sirsa tagging and that bummed me out.

“Talking” with Cora this morning on Twitter, I can to realize that it was fear keeping me from flinging my feet over my head at the museum and that Yoga is all about overcoming our fears, right?  I asked myself what Yoga does for me and it gives me permission to love myself just as I am.  It gives me the ability to be okay with ME whether anyone else is okay with me or not.  Cora responded “#Yoga transforms, yoga heals….”  And that, my friends, is your Daily Word. 😀

So I got to thinking on that and loaded up both my boys to go run errands.  As we pulled out of the driveway, I told them that I would be doing headstands in public today as a challenge for myself, as a way to remember my bravery, my courage, and my sense of play and adventure.  The 7 yo was having NONE of that, but the 9yo was all over it like stink on a hippie!  It seems I had found my photographer!

We first went to the bank and I gathered up all my energy and strength and tried to do one on the sidewalk outside the front door.  I have never done a headstand on concrete with no mat before and I was nervous.  I got up, but rolled right out of it seconds later before a pic could be taken.  I was shakey and scared, but I did it … sorta.  Still it wasn’t enough for me, but I decided that maybe I should find somewhere less … bankish.  I was bound and determined to do it and do it TODAY.

So we headed off to Target. I had my mind set on the shoe department.  Low and behold, they were restocking the entire shoe area and there were employees in all but one of the aisles.  I would not resist, though, and found myself in the one unoccupied shoe aisle.  Interestingly, it was stocked with high heels, so I took my heels high!

My 9yo was giggling like crazy and my 7yo has mastered that, “Moooooooom, stop embarrassing me” look, so he was fine, but I was SOARING!  Endorphins and pride and … playfulness just filled me up!  I went on to shop feeling like I had a little secret.  I can now say that I have done a headstand in Target.  How many folks can say that?

After lunch, we headed to the library.  My brain was already spinning with ideas of locations.  I wanted to do it outside originally by these crazy huge sculptures, but the concrete there gave me bank flashbacks, so we headed inside and, after getting some books, I found my place deep in the stacks.  Again, 9yo was alive with the camera “Work it, look this way, make love to the iPhone…” and the 7yo was beginning to assume that this is what will happen every time we leave the house :rolls eyes:, and I was almost giggling with the thought of folks thinking the library is not a happening place when in reality, there’s a 30-someting woman upstairs with two small boys doing a headstand in non-fiction.  TRUE LIFE: Yoga is for everywhere.  I took a deep breath, stacked my elbows under me, my hips over my shoulders, and stood on my head, perfectly stacked in the stacks.

It’s euphoric.  It’s exciting.  It’s funny.  It’s challenging.  It’s slightly naughty.  It’s awesome and I’m so glad I did this today.  I have a feeling I’ll be doing it embarrassingly often (Sorry, Sage.)  I feel SO alive, present, and participating, I cannot imagine stopping. I think of places around town that are just screaming to have a headstand.  Who am I to deny them such pleasure?  Won’t you join me?

Who’s in?  Who’s going to accept Cora’s Challenge?  Let’s do it together, one upsidedown moment at a time.  I’ll meet you at the bank – I’m going to get that sucker yet!

Your Daily WORD! *


How should those who enter
the path apply their minds?
All things are originally uncreated
and presently undying.
Just let your mind be free;
you don’t have to restrain it.
See directly and hear directly;
come directly and go directly.
When you must go, then go;
when you must stay, then stay.
This is the true path.
A scripture says,
“Conditional existence is
the site of enlightenment,
insofar as you know it as it really is.”

– Niu-t’ou Hui-chung (683-769)

*So do “Today’s Affirmation to Take To The Mat,” but I think I’m also going to start doing “Your daily WORD” : little quotes, sayings, poems, or Koans that make you wanna say, “Umhum, I know that’s right!”