THIS. As a young community organizer working with women in disadvantaged communities, I witnessed women contributing to their communities on extraordinary levels while facing extraordinary challenges. What I discovered was that those who do extraordinary things, who thrive despite hardship, have a deep connection to faith. Even when they can't see the staircase.
We used to have a weekly meeting in East Harlem with women who were creating meaningful change in their community,... rocking raising money for safety improvements and taking the city to court to get rid of environmental pollution causing huge rates of asthma in children in their community, and when we'd start the meeting we'd ask them to say one good thing about their lives right now, and one not so good. The not so good replies were often about a family member being shot or starting to deal drugs...the good was always about faith. God. Church. Service to others.
At the end of the meeting we would hold hands and sing and clap and stomp to "This little heart of mine, I'm gonna let it shine," sending out light to their community, the world, and themselves. Many women would have to be held up as they sang, the weight of their lives so heavy. But it was faith, and the faith in the hands of the many other women who lifted them up, that helped them rise - even when they couldn't see the staircase.
All of Martin Luther King Jr's words are so powerful. My wish for you today is that you remember to have faith, take that step, even when you can't see the staircase. And help others to take that step.
Today is the sabbath - a day of rest.
The 2017 Yoga Journal Pose of the Year was announced a few weeks ago and it's, not surprisingly, savasana. Holy YES.
My crystal ball predict's this year's practice of the year will be Yoga Nidra. Oh, HOLY WOMANLY YES, do so many of us on this planet need deep restorative yogic sleep. The times are calling us to rest, to go within, to follow your truth. Yoga nidra helps us do this - effortlessly. (can I get a pompom shake for this!)....
These times urgently need us to pause, find our truth and wake up and express our truth. Especially women, whose voices have been silenced for centuries. THAT paradigm is changing. Bye bye. Hello deep rest and our true voice.
Today my "baby boy" turned seventeen at 3.34am. I love all of who he is, especially his kindness. Most days, I even appreciate that he thinks he knows it all, and at times I'm envious because as I get older I feel I know less and navigate mystery more. What I know for sure is that he is my teacher, and it started in my pregnancy with him and his birth.
In this month's Sunday Rest note, I'm writing about the night he was born, all the crazy, chuck perfect moments, and how to... shift from feeling "fine" to a well-rested woman who can birth anything.
To get my monthly rest note, and more, join the mailing list at daringtorest.com.
Happy BIRTHday to my boy...and ME. I worked hard that day.
beautiful photo by my special friend David Levine
Years ago, when my kids were toddlers and trying to even have a second of "me time" in the bathroom was the biggest operation I felt semi-capable of and often failed at, the idea that I could carve space to lie down and nap was laughable. And when I did attempt it, those days both of my boys were miraculously napping at the same time, I'd lay there with a huge bulldozer full of thoughts, making it impossible to relax. And then one day by accident I stumbled into a yo...ga studio to "do more" (loose the baby weight) and I discovered yoga nidra. My Super Nap. My "me time." My power-down pleasure. And so, still with 2 toddlers and ostensibly no time to nap I said CHUCK (AND FUCK) PERFECT. Mama's doing nothing. Powering down. No thoughts. Just open space. Pure freedom. And yes, it wasn't easy to get the rest I needed, yes I often met my tired hubby at the door when he came home and handed him two kids so this mom could get her Super Nap, and yes for a while I even monthly booked a hotel room for the night to get in 2 yoga nidra Super Naps, a full nights sleep, food brought to me (room service), and movies in bed on demand. At first #daringtorest was survival. Because forty-five minutes of yoga nidra feels like 3 hours of sleep in the body. Now I #daretorest because I'm worth it.
An interesting reframe: self-aware people use "what" instead of "why." So instead of "why" is something holding you back, ask "what's the thing holding you back?"
"Studies have shown that asking ourselves 'why' when introspecting can cause us to ruminate on negative feelings and emotions to the point where we fill in blanks with reasoning that can lead us away from true insight. But when we ask ourselves those 'what' questions, we can better “stay objective, future-focused an...d empowered to act on our new insights."
This is why I love listening for soul whispers when we're Daring to Rest -- the soul whispers come from a place of being the objective witness of your life. They answer the "what," not the "why." The "why" just keeps us in our story. The "what" sets us free.
Thoughts? I'd love to hear them!
Here's a peek inside the DARING TO REST 40-Day soulful sleep program for women...
#repost with permission from Phyllis: "Finishing up my first 40 day yoga nidra meditation!! An empty frame became the holder for my Soul Whispers. On day 38, my soul whisper was to place them in a box and put them in my car. Now I have a new sweet uplifting deck to pull from anytime I want when I'm out and about. Here's to the next 40 day journey!I also want you to know that I have NEVER finished a 40 day meditation until now!!! Shake those Pom poms!!!"
Partha Nandi, MD's Health Hero Magazine did such a beautiful job covering yoga nidra meditation and the Daring to Rest movement. From the cover "Daring to Rest - Women, Sleep and their Health" (right below the fabulous Gabby Bernstein - whose new book I can't wait to read)...to the yoga nidra meditation Q&A. I also wrote an original piece on my yoga nidra story.
You can check out the full issue here for free: https://askdrnandi.com/dr-nandis-health-hero-magazine-gabb…/
📷of me by the beautiful @judithraenyc
"Oh my gosh, yesterday I started day one - day one! Of your yoga nidra program. I did the first fifteen minutes, hmm, around seven or so. Not even close to bed. I didn't hear any soul whisper for a long time, but I was compelled to stay, and then, I just heard this quiet, oh so quiet, "hi". It was so beautiful and touching. And then I had the sleep of my life. I dreamt beautiful deep intense, curious dreams, and yet, it was peaceful - like I was on an adventure and dee...ply safe and cozy all at the same time. It was incredible. Day one! I felt such a strong desire to share my gratitude straight away."
Read more on today's blog here...
lots of food for thought on soul whispers, the wild woman, and of course our friend yoga nidra
Happy new year!
Here's to bringing forth your well-rested woman in 2018.
So many interesting layers to this piece, but two things stood out to me:
1. "Pulling your shoulders back is easy. Learning to be kind to yourself takes considerably more effort." - HOLY YES. This is the #1 reason I take a yoga nidra Super Nap...because it's as if I recited the Loving Kindness meditation a gazillion times. (I've posted it below).
2. “We just need to learn to make friends with our inner critic.”- HOLY YES, again. This is the #2 reason I take a yoga nidra Super... Nap. It calms my inner critic - big time.
I love that this piece doesn't have Self-Compassion picking a fight with Confidence. They are both needed. ("fake it until you make it" often works). But today, with all the crazy-busyness of life, we need to remember Self-Compassion. It's really the umbrella of everything.
LOVING KINDNESS MEDITATION
On page 146 of Daring to Rest, in the final 10 days of the program, I encourage you to "drink a cup of kindness" by adding a Loving Kindness Meditation to your yoga nidra meditation (or on it's own). Here's how:
Breathe in and out, a few times. Say out loud (or think them several times).
May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.
May I be free of mental suffering or distress.
May I be happy.
May I be free of physical pain and suffering.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.
After you repeat this for you, then do it for someone you love (lots of people start with their animals because they're so darn easy to love!), then say it for a neutral person (someone you don't like or dislike heavily), and finally, say it for someone you have difficulty loving.
Yikes. While this is funny, it looks more like exhaustion to me.
In 2018, let's flip this paradigm to one where we're well-rested and fully powered. The world needs women truly wide AWAKE.
(Cartoon by Maggie Larson in the New Yorker).
We're headed into the holidays, and you know what they say about being with lots of family members: this is advanced practice.
Add in all the travel, and nonstop activity, it's a perfect anxiety cocktail....
Here's a piece that had a surprisingly nice number of easy tips to help you manage anxiety. Do you have a favorite? Please share it in the comments!
Of course, my favorite is to meditate and pompom shakes for a yoga nidra Super Nap. This gentle easy practice reduces stress so quickly it's like an anti-anxiety pill. In fact, as this article points out, the tide is turning on how effective medication is. First try meditation!
We don't need to suffer or feel humiliated by anxiety any longer. I've been there too and have written about my history of panic attacks in DARING TO REST and in a few online and print magazines. Let's make 2018 the year to address it. Meet it. Say HELLO...and show anxiety the door to head on out.
If you want to take a yoga nidra Super Nap...
You can get a free one here to help you get through the holidays:
Or head to the Rest Shop for a wider selection:
Please, don't suffer anymore. Women are good at suffering. We accept "fine" and forget to demand and see that we're capable of so much more.
Had a blast talking with Emily Ann Peterson on her Bare Naked Bravery Podcast.
Our beloved yoga nidra Super Nap is on the map for 2018, friends!
Well-Rested women so rock....