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I Can’t Say That… Can I? August 30, 2020

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.

“Beauty cannot exist without ugliness.

Virtue cannot exist without vice.

Living, we know death.

Struggling, we know ease.

Rising high, we know the depths.

Being quiet, we understand noise.

Everything gives rise to its opposite, therefore we work without conscious effort and teach without agenda.

We enjoy everything and possess nothing.

Our accomplishments do not emerge from our ego, so we do not cling to them.

Thus they benefit all beings.”


– (2) quoted from  A Path and A Practice: Using Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life by William Martin

Every once in a while it is good to check in with your bandwidth. I don’t mean the electronic frequencies that transmit a signal (although, I supposed it’s good to check that too). I’m talking about “the energy or mental capacity to deal with a situation.”  Even though I didn’t use those exact words, I was explaining to a couple of dear, dear friends that given all the things that brought me back to Texas – not to mention all the things that have happened since I’ve been here – coupled with all the things that have happened this year (and, yeah, let’s be real, the last few years), I sometimes feel like I don’t have the bandwidth to take on certain classes/practices the way I use to approach them. Getting a good night sleep (no laughing, y’all who know me) can be helpful in that it provides a little reset and I wake up with a little more mind space and a little more energy to address certain things. Other times, the reset button just allows me to let go of something I was holding on to, something that no longer serves me or something that is just not serving me in this moment. Because, I have found, that if something serves me – even if it’s challenging – it actually increases my bandwidth.

For example, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as a Supreme Court justice today in 1967. He had already established a legacy within the Civil Rights Movement, a legacy that still serves us today, and he would serve on the United States Supreme Court for 24 years before retiring. There’s a part of me that always wants to remember and honor the many ways in which Justice Marshall served the country and upheld the finer points of the United States Constitution – especially as it could be a way to also remember Chadwick Boseman, the amazing actor who portrayed him in Marshall. I even get a little jazzed about the idea – but it’s not the only thing on the docket…and so I don’t have the bandwidth today. Good thing I remembered his birthday (because now you can refer back to this) and honored his legacy (which you can see here).

“We will see that the true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life, a life nurtured through two turbulent centuries of our own making, and a life embodying much good fortune that was not.”

– conclusion to the speech given by Supreme Court Justice (and former NAACP chief counsel) Thurgood Marshall at The Annual Seminar of the San Francisco Patent and Trademark Law Association, Maui, Hawaii May 6, 1987

Being a Texan, from Houston no less, I also get jazzed because it’s the anniversary of the birth of Molly Ivins. Born today in Monterey, California in 1944, she grew up in Houston and became a national icon (especially in light of the fact that Texas was once its own nation). She was a larger-than-life, force of nature who knew President George W. Bush when they were teenagers, referred to him as “Shrub” (among other less than flattering things), and said, “The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be President of the United States, please, pay attention.” In her nationally syndicated column and best-selling books, she took equal aim at Democrats like President Bill Clinton (calling him “weaker than bus-station chili” which is a Godzilla-sized insult in Texas). Of herself, Molly Ivins wrote that she “remains cheerful despite Texas politics. She emphasizes the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never has to write fiction.”

If you’ve ever wondered what Molly Ivins could and couldn’t say, she’s probably made you smile and, as several of us discussed at Nokomis Yoga a while back, the world could use a little Molly Ivins right now – unfortunately, I don’t have the bandwidth for much more than this.

The Second Battle of Bull Run (also known as the Battle of Second Manassas) ended today in 1862. Like the First Battle, it was a critical battle that left thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers dead, wounded, missing, and broken. It was a blow to the Union morale and a significant tactical victory for the Confederates, which emboldened General Robert E. Lee to push forward with his Maryland campaign. It was part of the reason General John Pope was relieved of command and reassigned to Minnesota (where he, unfortunately, created a lot of suffering). According to many historians, including those who believe in the “Lost Cause,” the Second Bull Run was also a critical battle because of the way it changed the relationship between Lee and Lieutenant General James Longstreet (also known as “Lee’s War Horse’). While the Confederate Army may not have won this particular battle without Longstreet, his questioning of Lee (i.e., insubordination) at the Battle of Gettysburg is highlighted as a factor in the confederacy’s ultimate defeat.

Typically I would mention some of this in class, because our history is important – and it is critical to the way we move forward. But, alas, I don’t have the bandwidth (and since I didn’t pose on Friday, I have only this.)

“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’s back 1234567890”


– The first message from Washington to Moscow via the “hotline,” sent to ensure the keyboard and printer worked correctly, 08/30/1963

With all due respect to Cold War aficionados and/or fans of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, I will add as a footnote that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born today in 1797 and that the Moscow-Washington hotline (also known as the Washington-Moscow Direct Communications Link) was activated today in 1963. Frankenstein’s “monster” wanted people to see him for who he was on the inside, but everyone was too distracted by the outside. In the same way, popular culture as focused on the idea that the “hotline” was a red phone when, in fact, it was not only not red – it was never a phone! While the technology was tested on a regular basis, its first official use (by the United States) as a “hotline” occurred November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Soviet Union’s first official usage occurred June 5, 1967, at the beginning of the Six-Day War (in the Middle East).

While I could, easily, work Ms. Shelley and the hotline into a pretty straightforward vinyasa practice; it seems a little unfair to leave out everything else. And so, I free up some bandwidth by letting it all go.

  Or do, I?

“‘You are in the wrong,’ replied the fiend; ‘and instead of threatening, I am content to reason with you. I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all…? Shall I respect man when he condemns me? Let him live with me in the interchange of kindness, and instead of injury I would bestow every benefit upon him with tears of gratitude at his acceptance. But that cannot be; the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our union. Yet mine shall not be the submission of abject slavery. I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly towards you my archenemy…’”


– quoted from Chapter 17 of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

After all is said and done, there is a part of me, like Mary Shelley, that finds a kindred spirit in the heart of the “monster.” There is that part of me that would like to know only peace and love; and would choose to practice those favorite mantras (“Peace In, Peace Out; Inhale Love, Exhale Kindness”) as if we live in a vacuum. There is also a part of me that recognizes why so many in the world are turning towards the “monster’s” other choice. And, in this moment, I seek (and seek to teach) the practice that helps us deliberately choose peace and love in light of the situations that cause others to rage.

“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”


– quoted from the movie based on Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Please join me for a 65-minute virtual yoga practice on Zoom today (Sunday, August 30th) at 2:30 PM. You can use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. PLEASE NOTE: Zoom 5.0 is in effect. If you have not upgraded, you will need to give yourself extra time to log into Zoom. You can always request an audio recording of this practice (or any practice) via email or a comment below.


Today’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. (This is the playlist dated “07292020 Breathing, Noting, Here & at the UN”)

“Nothing is more painful to the human mind than, after the feelings have been worked up by a quick succession of events, the dead calmness of inaction and certainty which follows and deprives the soul both of hope and fear.”


– quoted from Chapter 9 of Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


“This is a path of letting go so there will be room to live.

If we hold on to opinions, our minds will become dull and useless.

Let go of opinions.

If we hold on to possessions, we will always be at risk.

Let go of possessions. If we hold on to ego, we will continue to suffer.

Let go of ego.

Working without thought of praise or blame is the way of true contentment.”


– (9) quoted from  A Path and A Practice: Using Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching as a Guide to an Awakened Spiritual Life by William Martin

2022 Errata: This post originally contained date related typos.



1. sandrarazieli - August 30, 2020

For not much bandwidth you sure gave a lot! May you get good sleep too!

ajoyfulpractice - August 31, 2020


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