“A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. “What are you doing, son?” the man asks. “You see how many starfish there are? You’ll never make a difference.” The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. “It sure made a difference to that one,” he said.”

Nicholas D. Kristof, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Asteya: Non-stealing

Each month I’ve been studying a different yama sutra in yoga. Think of a yama as ethics or a good rule for living by. A sutra can be thought of as a rule. (If you’re not a yoga person, that is ok! Just a little context for you.)

The yama asteya is translated to mean ‘non-stealing.’ Now of course we all know that the literal idea of stealing is a bad one. You don’t go to a person’s house and just take what you want, or go to a store and steal a shirt. Here we are talking about something less literal. Non-stealing is an important concept to apply to yourself and to the people around you.

Let’s think of an example.

You’re catching up with a friend at church, or a coworker at lunch and they are telling you about something that happened to them. If you jump in and say “oh yeah that happened to me once” and begin to tell your experience, you have just stolen them of their time to express what they are going through or what they may be feeling. The idea of ‘one upping’ another is a form of non-stealing. Your life and experiences don’t out weigh someone else’s just because they are yours.

Here’s an example of stealing from yourself.

You’re in a yoga class (or working out, reading, praying or hanging out with friends….whatever you do that is relaxing) and all you can think about is planning for the next thing. You’re going through your grocery list, you’re thinking about the trip you’re taking next month and the present you need to buy for that wedding. You are robbing yourself of living in the moment. It makes me think of the quote:

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon

And how right that is! Take a minute and view your surroundings, notice the things you see, the smells, the feeling you have there; enjoy each moment.

Based on the book The Yamas and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele I’ve been pondering questions about asteya such as:

  • How do I steal other people’s time?
  • Am I being a forklift for others and lifting them up (instead of only comparing their experiences to my own?
  • How am I stealing from the earth? Am I treating it like I own it, or just as though I live here? Can one actually own the earth?
  • Where am I giving back without expecting anything in return? Where am I taking without giving back?

This concept hit me in a new way this past week. My husband and I have been taking Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and working on our finances. In this final week we talked about how, as christians, the money we have is not ours. Sure we work hard and are entrusted with it, but it is our duty to give generously and be stewards of this money. This struck me as another form of asteya. We can’t hold on too tightly to money or material possessions, because in the end they aren’t ours and they aren’t going to make our lives better.

I love when two parts of my life overlap. We must live life with open hands and hearts, not taking, but giving!

What thing in your life do you have a death grip on? Is it something you can let go that might open yourself up for something even better? Are you living in the moment or stealing from yourself precious moments you may never get back?

Ponder on this and see how you can practice asteya in your life.

~Shelby

Courage

Have you ever thought about the word courage? This word has repeatedly forced it’s way into my path since 2019 has started. My phone background has a quote that says

Let this be the year you go after courage.

I’ve been hearing it in bible verses and in songs. I’ve been reading in my yoga book about ahimsa, and the courage to be kind to yourself; the courage to say no or the courage to be kind to all can be easier said than done. Quotes from one of my favorite movies (#disney4life) says

Have courage and be kind.

But what does it mean to HAVE courage. As I began thinking about it, the times I can reflect back on ‘having’ courage were times I felt the least courageous. Courage often comes at times when you feel low, insecure, or afraid. So for me, I don’t always remember the courageousness of my actions, but the fear that caused them in the first place.

That’s a mindset I know I’d like to change.

Having (taking/using/being of) courage is an action. When you’re fearful, you have a choice to slink away or a choice to be courageous. Saying what you’re really thinking is courageous. Standing up for yourself is courageous. Asking for help is courageous. Being a light for others is courageous.

In the midst of my husband job searching, both in our state and out, I find myself being courageous by waiting. I’m a doer; waiting for God’s plan is incredibly hard. I also find myself showing courage as I take time to work on my weaknesses and value my own strengths. Using this idea of ‘having’ courage is something I’m mulling over in my head. Courage will never be something you wish you didn’t have.

As I was scrolling through Pinterest last week I came across a quote that says

You can have courage, or comfort, but you cannot have both.

I think about how hard many of us work to be comfortable. To me, being comfortable always meant not worrying about paying bills or letting money be a source of anxiety. Being in a place where I’m comfortable, I see myself longing for more; surely there is more good to be done, more adventures to be had. Finding courage in our comfortable places is how we grow. It’s something we must work for. If courage was something that came naturally, we wouldn’t need to choose to do it.

We should all be choosing courage!

As I continue this week, mulling over how to find courage in the comfort, I’m curious to see what can happen. How can I be courageous at school? How can I push my friendships by being courageous? How can I influence my students?

How will you be courageous?

2019, it’s time for a change. It’s time for courage.

 

Related imageImage result for have courage and be kind cinderellaImage result for verse courage

Educated

This December I had the privilege of reading Educated by Tara Westover. I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. Thinking it would be more about the education aspect of Tara’s life than her life growing up without it, I was shocked and in awe of her courage as the story unfolds. Her memoir tells of her life growing up without education and how she breaks away from her eccentric family, going to college and eventually getting a PhD.

When we read books we often picture ourselves in the shoes of the main character. I found myself identifying with her desire to believe everything her family said growing up and struggling to realize their beliefs didn’t have to define her. Education, and I would throw in travel as well, opens your eyes from what your small world is to what it could be. Wrestling with changing your beliefs as an adult is an internal struggle that is almost impossible to verbalize.

Two quotes in her book struck me. First:

“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.”
Tara Westover, Educated

The people you love, the people you spend your time with, shape who you are. What do you do when you find yourself in an unexpected disagreement with a friend? How is it possible this family member can think so differently than me? Perhaps the hardest part of growing up is realizing that all the people you hold dear won’t always agree with you. People that you work with with and meet might not even LIKE you.

This can either be your greatest defeat, or greatest asset. The ability to love someone despite your differences is powerful. The same goes for yourself. You must still love and believe in yourself; you must be ok knowing that you might be different than the people you hold love.

Tara found that in her book. She found a way to respect her family without condoning their behavior. She has not cheated what she believes to be right, even though it meant losing people she thought would be there for her forever.

The second quote I loved was:

“We are all of us more complicated than the roles we are assigned in the stories other people tell”
Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir

The truth is, no one in this world can know you like you do. Family, friends, colleagues know us for different reasons. So what happens when you start to grow or change? I like this quote because Tara describes something many of us have felt. Growing up, learning, and molding into the humans we want to be might mean changing what you previously agreed on with friends.

Just because someone has assigned you as a specific role in their head does not mean you are obligated to fulfill that role for them. Ultimately you must be confident in what you know, strong in how you do it, and have faith that you are on the right path. For me, that’s learning to listen and wait for God’s direction. For you, that might mean simply believing in yourself and not what others tell you is true.

As we move into 2019 I’m encouraging myself and others to be the best authentic version of themselves. What’s the point of people pleasing if it means losing yourself in the process? You can do this!

Happy New Year

~Shelby

P.S. Read Educated.  Grab a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Love Thy Neighbor

I came across this shirt today and thought it summed up the idea of true LOVE for others (picture below). How often have we heard ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ or ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The concept seems simple right? First, you must love and respect yourself. You must be kind in your thoughts, gentle to your shortcomings and give yourself grace on the hardest days. Sometimes it’s hard to do that, but when it comes to loving ourselves the concept is much easier. We strive to feed ourselves, fulfill our basic needs, necessities and fulfill general duties to our families and friends.

Even at the most surface level, this concept should be easily applied to anyone else you come across. Being kind, respectful, providing help if you can, giving grace when people mess up should be our default…and yet it is so easy to judge and be hateful. This is where many people get it wrong. We were not put on this earth to judge. We all make mistakes, sin and fail. We are called to live a life of love. To serve others the way Christ did. How many stories are there in the bible that has Jesus talking to tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners? Do you see him segregating himself from those he deems unworthy? No. So why do we?

To the clerk at the grocery store, the homeless person you pass on the way to work, the hateful family member, other professions, beliefs, nations, religions, nationalities, prostitutes, sinners and tax collectors….we owe love. We teach by loving and caring.

Something Marshall, my husband, and I often talk about is that respecting someone’s point of view, listening to their thoughts and validating their thought process does not mean you have to agree with it. You can kindly listen and not agree. You can respect and have different views. You can love without jeopardizing your own beliefs. Why is this so hard to grasp?

So remember today:
Love thy foreign, homeless, prostitute, imprisoned, disabled, gay, straight, transgender, enemy, blue collar, white collar, old, young, black, white, lonely, jewish, muslim, christian, atheist, male, female, racist, addicted, rich, poor, liberal, conservative, different from you __________ NEIGHBOR.

Love+Shirt+Main

What identifier do you need to fill in the blank so you remember this? Go out today and LOVE. Be kind, be strong and be loving to everyone you meet. Maybe pray a little too.

~Shelby

 

Images property of https://cyny.org/all/loveshirt. Also- go buy this shirt.

“Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.”

—Judy Garland

When we see people being successful it’s hard not to feel envious. It’s hard not to wonder why my life isn’t working out the same way their is.

Remember you don’t want to be a copy of someone else. You are meant to be completely unique and serve a totally different purpose on this earth.

Be new, be YOU, be innovative. Don’t be afraid to be different or like what you like. You excel and be bold in who you are. Be first-rate today.

Ask for it!

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. ~Oprah Winfrey

I’m motivated by quotes. It’s like little truth nuggets that boost me throughout the week. I happened upon this today and had to share.

This quote is so pertinent to a goal I have going on this week. I struggle to say what’s on my mind. I’m afraid of hurting other’s feelings, or being rejected by other people. So I tend to not stand up for myself or voice any issues I’m experiencing.

Do you do this? We need to have courage to, kindly and bravely, ask for the things we need. It’s okay to not agree with everything everyone says. If others are willing to speak their minds, you should feel comfortable doing so too.

If you speak from a place of love and fairness, you need not worry about if your concerns will be rejected. Your voice needs to be heard, so speak your truth! Don’t let it build up from within. And feel freer knowing you’ve had courage to ask for what you’re needing today. You are worth it.

 

~Shelby