Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2013

Sometimes the news leaves me overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that our government will never be able to work together. Overwhelmed at all that needs to be fixed – education, the environment, the economy… So, today I am grateful to be reminded of the bravery, the strength and courage that Martin Luther King Jr. showed us. I am grateful to be reminded that he wasn’t too overwhelmed to dream. A lesson for all of us.

And while these thoughts reflect a very serious message, there is also room for levity and lightness. I love this blog post from the New Yorker; can’t wait to share my new playlist with you this week!

Lately I’ve noticed a repeating theme in conversation with friends… It seems that we all struggle with finding balance and understanding in what our relationships should give us. How much is fair to expect from a partner or friendship? How much should we be able to give ourselves? How do we know?

Wish I had the answer for you. I don’t. But, I do have a thought… When we talk about self-study, about knowing ourselves, there is a powerful nugget we easily overlook: what we notice in other people (whether through annoyance or admiration) is something that we already possess in ourselves. What we perceive is that which we are projecting out into the world. Whoa.

The first time I stumbled across this jewel, I thought of all those things that frustrate me with other people. In my previous career, I would spend hours complaining about clients that drove me nuts. To suddenly have the table flipped and the suggestion be that all those annoying habits are ones that I might (and do) possess was a pretty hard pill to swallow.

Ready for an even harder pill to swallow? How about those things we love about our friends and partners? Those qualities that we “need” in a relationship; that we expect our relationships to give us, yeah, we possess those qualities too.

bouquet

So the question becomes, can we turn the mirror on ourselves and take a look at these qualities. Can we grow the traits we need (love, respect, trust) and can we soften around those we don’t (impatience, callousness, dishonesty)? I think our practice might allow us this chance. Being on our mats, breathing, it can helps us to grow our relationships with ourselves first. The practice encourages us to take responsibility for ourselves: to be safe in the physical practice, to witness the honest emotions that arise, to treat ourselves with kindness. Allowing this practice to spill into our lives off the mat might help us to be who we need to be inside and to move forward a bit more confidently with what we need in our relationships on the outside. What do you think?

Yoga & Ayurveda

January 7, 2013


I’ve had this book on my shelf for about 3 months now but I’ve finally plucked it from its hidden spot and put it on my bedside table. Want to read this one together? Let me know if you pick it up; I’m starting it this week!

Mushroom & Lima Bean Stew

January 7, 2013

I ripped this recipe out of an issue of Whole Living magazine a few years ago and it has become my go-to, flu-preventing, belly-filling winter stew. It takes a bit of time since you are starting with dried beans but, trust me, it is so worth the effort. Hardy, healthy and warming. If you are doing my cleanse this month, just skip the oil and substitue a splash of broth instead.

Mushroom & Lima Bean Stew

Ingredients
1 cup dried lima beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 ounces portobello mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch kale (8 oz.), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced (6 cups)
Kosher salt

Directions
Soak beans overnight in water. Drain.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium
flame. Add onions and garlic. Cook until
tender, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a
bowl. Turn heat to medium high. Working
in batches, add mushrooms; cook
until golden brown. Transfer to bowl and
add more oil to cook remaining mushrooms.
Return mushrooms and onions to
pot and add squash, beans, bay leaf,
and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to
a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover
partially. Cook until beans are just tender,
about 50 to 60 minutes. Stir in kale and
cook until tender, about 5 minutes more.
Season with salt.

Unplanning Ourselves

January 7, 2013

schedule photo
Over the weekend, I had the chance to sit down and read. Yet, instead of picking up one of the many books waiting patiently to be read, I was called to a well-worn, much thumbed through copy of The Yamas & Niyamas by Deborah Adele. I suspect the reason this book is such a staple in my studies and practice is that every time I pick it up I read something new. Literally. It as if what I need to hear is hidden in these pages until just that moment when I am open to reading it.

So this weekend, I pick up my book, open randomly and read, “rather than planning ourselves, what if we practiced unplanning ourselves.”

While my physical self remained composed and pretended to be normal, my soul jumped up, shouted “YES!” and did a fist pump worthy of Judd Nelson and The Breakfast Club.

Have you ever noticed the endless lists we impose on ourselves? Things we will do, ways we will behave, how we will improve… On and on the list grows and likely the more and more unhappy we become. Always striving to attain – a better pose, a bigger bank account, a more impressive job title.

Instead of planning ourselves, can we unplan? Unpack some of that pressure and see what lies beneath? Can we love our present selves for exactly who we are, as imperfect and perfect as we are?

With this lightness, might we fly just a little higher?

As I sit here writing this, a friend has come up to say hello and shared this quote from The Upanishads:

“Those who know the self & those who know it not, do the same thing, but it is not the same: The act done with knowledge, with inner awareness and faith, grows in power.”

Let’s unplan ourselves and know ourselves.

Beginner Series: A introduction to Vinyasa Yoga
January 5 – 26, 2013
Saturdays, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Interested in yoga, but nervous about dropping in to any old class? Already have a practice but want to deepen your understanding? Join me for Atlanta Hot Yoga’s Four Week Beginner Series and learn what you need to know to be safe and confident in any yoga class!

Learn key techniques such as:

popular breathing techniques
alignment cues to keep your joints safe and build strength
intro to Vinyasa
how and when to use props

$40/person

First five students to sign-up will receive a $20 credit towards their next package at Atlanta Hot Yoga.

Questions or Ready to Sign-up: ask at Atlanta Hot Yoga or email register@merylarnett.com.

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