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Seeking… (the “missing” Wednesday post) January 20, 2022

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Art, Books, Dharma, Donate, Faith, Gratitude, Healing Stories, Health, Hope, Karma, Life, Love, Music, Mysticism, One Hoop, Pain, Philosophy, Poetry, Science, Suffering, Super Heroes, Wisdom, Women, Writing, Yoga.
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Portions of the following were originally posted in 2021. However, this is an expanded and updated version, because…. Well, you’ll see.

This is the post for Wednesday, January 19th. You can request audio recording of Wednesday’s practices via a comment below or (for a slightly faster reply) you can email me at myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.]

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”


– Dolly Parton


“When I’m inspired, I get excited because I can’t wait to see what I’ll come up with next.”


– Dolly Parton

There are certain puns, specifically homonym puns, that work really well in class but don’t work at all when read. For instance, when you read “the Dolly Lama,” you might think it’s a type-o and that I meant “Llama” – and that I somehow got confused about the animal when talking about the famous cloned sheep. However, when I explain that “Lama” is a term for “teacher” and an honorific specifically used in Tibetan Buddhism things become a little clearer. Hearing it, you might think I’m saying “Dalai Lama,” but, when you read it – and I refer to her as she – there’s no confusion about the identity of this famous teacher.

Born January 19, 1946, Dolly Rebecca Parton is a seeker, a dreamer, a reader, a writer, a producer, an entrepreneur, a shopper, a philanthropist, a healer, and a teacher – although she has referred to herself as “A poor sinful creature.” Over the years, I had somehow forgotten that she was also someone who practiced yoga. You might wonder how I could forget something like that, but in all fairness, the November/December 1984 Yoga Journal article that talked about musicians and actors practicing yoga in Nashville didn’t include a picture of Dolly actually practicing any poses.

If you imagine that for a moment – Dolly in Virabhadrasana II – you’re not likely to forget the image. Especially since she continually proves herself as a warrior and a “Hero Friend.”

“As the two of us stretched and shared for 90 minutes each morning, I’d get the strangest feeling that there were four of us there, two teachers and two students: me teaching Dolly yoga techniques, Dolly teaching me the value of laughter, spontaneity, nonjudgement, trust – and so much more. Then we’d slip out of our roles and slip into meditation, the four of us becoming two, becoming one.”


– quoted from the Nov/Dec 1984 Yoga Journal article entitled, “Yoga’s Nashville Connection: Well-being and fame co-exist, say these ‘top 10’ hit-makers from country music city.” by Robbie Williams

Reading my list of descriptors, you might think, “Oh, Myra, you left out that she’s a musician, a singer.” But, honestly, when I read about the life of Dolly Parton – the well lived life of the “Dolly Lama” – I feel like her being a singer and a musician are the least interesting things about her. Saying that her music is one of the least interesting things about her does not, in any way, take away or dimension her accomplishments as a musician. Dolly Parton and her fans have assured that nothing can do that!

She has written over 3,000 songs and sold more than 100 million records worldwide. As I update this, she has won eleven Grammys (including a Lifetime Achievement Award) and received 51 Grammy nominations. She has also won ten out of 45 Country Music Awards (CMA) and is one of only seven women to win the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award. (Seven, that is, since you don’t count Taylor Swift and Barbara Mandrell twice and the Chicks are counted as a single group.)

Additionally, Dolly has thirteen Academy of Country Music Awards (including Entertainer of the Year); several People’s Choice Awards; at least three American Music Awards; and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1969, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986, the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999, and a plethora of other hall of fames – including the Happiness Hall of Fame in 2016. Her influence has also been acknowledged by Ms. Magazine and Time, plus she has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Nashville StarWalk. Oh, and then there’s that statue in her hometown!

While she is not an EGOT (a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), she has been nominated at least once for all four awards. She’s also the focus of a podcast, Dolly Parton’s America, but for anyone thinking she’s just an American Country music star, keep in mind that her biggest audience (170,000 people) was in Scotland.

Also, keep in mind that she’s not done yet! She’s still living and still writing. She’s still innovating… which is why I’ll keep updating.

She’s also still married, which might be a surprise for people who just know a song or two. Dolly Parton married Carl Thomas Dean on May 30, 1966. He’s not much for the spotlight and, last time I checked, had only seen her perform live once, but they’ve made it work for (going on) 56 years… and counting. She has said that he’s very romantic and that it’s their first marriage; then – with her customary twang – explained that it’s also their LAST marriage. And that right there, his romance combined with her humor (and twang), might be part of the reason their marriage works.

“I’m more successful now than I was then, but I still feel like the same girl. I’m just a working girl. I never think of myself as a star because, as somebody once said, ‘A star is nothing but a big ball of gas,’ – and I don’t want to be that.”


 – Dolly Parton’s response when asked how different she was from 1964 when she first arrived in Nashville, in an October 24,2014, billboard article entitled, “Dolly Parton Q & A: The Country Legend on 50 Years in Nashville and Why She Supports Her Gay Fans” by Deborah Evans Price


Another reason behind her successful marriage might be that Dolly Parton has never forgotten where she came from and has a heart that is, metaphysically speaking, bigger than her whole body. In that previously referenced Yoga Journal article from 1984, Robbie Williams noted, “Dolly Parton is very clear on her beliefs, priorities, and loyalties, and she seems to have identified her divine assignment in this lifetime.” In fact, the article goes on to describe signs and encounters that indicated Dolly knew at an early age that she had a great mission. That mission, in her own words: “channeling love energy ‘so I’ll stay happy and loving, and, hopefully, make other people happy, too.'”

Through her Dollywood Foundation, she has raised money and awareness for disaster relief (close to her home in Tennessee and overseas); HIV/AIDS related charities; cancer treatment; the ethical treatment of animals; and bald eagle conservation. She has also donated her time, energy, and considerable talent to these causes. Not to mention the fact that she has used her considerable wealth and clout to create jobs in economically-depressed areas. In 2020, she donated $1 million towards COVID-19 research and encouraged others (if they could afford it) to do the same. A few months later, Vanderbilt University announced that her donation helped fund the research that produced the Moderna vaccine.

Dolly Parton reads about 50 books a year and promotes literacy through her foundation. In fact, one of the biggest ongoing Dollywood Foundation programs is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which gives each enrolled child a book a month, from birth until they reach kindergarten (age 5). As of today (as I update this), 1,930,492 children in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Republic of Ireland have received 172,752,307 books!

Can you imagine the imagination that is driven by so much reading??

Can you imagine how so imagination changes the world?

“It was [ahead of its time]; and it did a lot of good. But, it evidently didn’t do enough good because we’re going to always have the same problems in the workplace with women and men….and there’s still work to be done. I still believe that women should get paid equal and should be treated with respect. I’m all about that, you know, and I don’t get out and have to preach it or march in the streets, I write about it.”


– Dolly Parton talking about the importance of the movie 9 to 5, in a 2019 ABC News Special entitled “Dolly Parton: Here She Comes Again!” with Robin Roberts


It is Dolly Parton’s imagination and hard work that have driven her to create so much wonder, beauty, and fun in the world. In addition to everything else – including helping to raise several of her 11 siblings (she is the fourth of 12) – Dolly Parton has written eight books, including her first novel and a cookbook; appeared in eight films; and created a theme park, a water park, multiple entertainment centers, and a production company. That novel (Run, Rose, Run), which was co-written with James Patterson and will be released on March 7, 2022, has it’s own soundtrack – consisting of 12 original songs by Dolly Parton.

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”


– Dolly Parton


“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”


– Dolly Parton

Eleven years ago, I was blogging as I practiced for a Yoga Journal challenge for the new year and I mentioned celebrating the Dolly Lama’s birthday, as I do. In that 2011 post, I admitted, “I can’t exactly call myself an uber-fan when it comes to Dolly Parton, but I like her and I can’t imagine being in a room with her for two seconds and not smiling. I also can’t imagine being a room with her for two minutes and not laughing. Plus, she’s inspiring. She is unapologetic about where she comes from, what she looks like, or how she sounds. There’s a lesson in that. She believes in having fun and being passionate about something. There’s a lesson in that. She’s also a lesson in giving and in looking within for the answers we seek. That last part is key, because (again) we are our own ultimate teacher. We just have to take the time to do a little self-study.”

I stand (and stan) by all of that. (Although, in hindsight, maybe I’m more of a fan than I thought. But, honestly, it’s hard not to be.)

Given all of the above – not to mention the fact that I’ve left some things out – you may be thinking, “What hasn’t Dolly Parton done?” Well, glad you asked. She has never posed nude for Playboy (or anybody else) – despite being asked repeatedly. She did, however, appear on the October 1978 cover… completely covered by a Playboy bunny outfit.

A bunny outfit that recently reappeared for Carl Dean’s birthday!

She has also, as I previously alluded, had a cloned sheep named in her honor. Dolly, because it was created using the breast tissue of an adult sheep.

“You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap!”


– Dolly Parton


“People say, ‘How you stay looking so young?’ I say, ‘Well, good lighting, good doctors, and good makeup.’


– Dolly Parton in a February 2019 BBC “Newsnight” interview with Stephen Smith

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “01192021 The Dolly Lama’]

NOTE: The playlists are slightly different, because the YouTube playlists includes some additional videos “after the practice” of songs included in the practice portion of the playlist.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”


– Dolly Parton


When the big things in your life get messy, you need to get up and get out. I make a point to appreciate all the little things in my life. I go out and smell the air after a good, hard rain. I re-read passages from my favorite books. I hold the little treasures that somebody special gave me. These small actions help remind me that there are so many great, glorious pieces of good in the world.


– quoted from Dream On: Celebrate the Dreamer in You by Dolly Parton



“If you see someone without a smile today, give ’em yours.”


– Dolly Parton






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