Monday, May 2, 2011

“Prayer without action is no prayer at all.”


Yoga Update (4/25-5/01/11)

This is another one of those days when current events are overshadowing any sense of self-importance I carry around with me.  Osama bin Laden is dead.  Ten years after the hunt began, we have found him, and now he’s God’s problem.  Or Satan’s.  Or maybe he’s just gone now, gone to the sea and the oblivion that is death.  I don’t know.  I’m an agnostic, so I really don’t know.

I’m not sure how to feel about this piece of news.  I won’t argue that it’s a tragedy that bin Laden is dead.  He used his time on earth to do atrocious things, so the rest of us are probably better off without him hiding in a cave somewhere.  But I can’t embrace the idea that a death is something to celebrate.  Maybe it’s my Buddhist tendencies, but revenge is not something I embrace, and neither is murder.  We Americans murdered a man in the name of national security, and while I can accept that people feel relief, I will not be celebrating this murder.  Perhaps it was justified, perhaps it was necessary, but I reserve my joy for things that affirm my belief in life and peace and mercy.  Neither bin Laden’s life nor his death is worth celebrating.

I was reading this piece by Bill McKibben, and when I bumped into a quote from Mother Teresa, its simple wisdom struck me as profound.  She said, “Prayer without action is no prayer at all. You have to work as if everything depended on you, and leave the rest to God.”  Now, I know that Mother Teresa was a religious person, so she prayed to God.  I’m a little more on the fence about God, but what I do believe in is human goodness.  Maybe it sounds trite, or cliché, or like a bad Disney movie, but as much as I can see that humans have the potential for egregious acts of violence, I also believe in humanity’s ability to do good, to help others, and to make heartbreaking sacrifices so that others may live.  I want to live my life with Mother Teresa’s words in mind: work hard, be devoted, be dedicated, hope that I’ve helped someone, and leave the rest to humanity.

It’s all I can really do anyway.

I like to think that yoga gives me the strength and peace of mind to stay dedicated to the things that matter most to me.  Even on the days when I can only do five minutes of yoga before bed, those five minutes calm me down and remind me that if I take care of myself, I have so much more to give.  I might do yoga sometimes in pursuit of a flatter stomach or something equally vain, but I am devoted to it because of the way it makes me feel: more like the person I want to be, well-fed belly and all.

Here’s what I did this week on the mat:

Monday (4/25): I want an easy, low-effort yoga class for tonight.  I choose Lunar Flow, which is easy peasy!  Perfect for my lazy evening.

Tuesday (4/26): On, I look for their “Yoga for Cramps” class, but I come away empty-handed.  So it’s pajama yoga again!  The forward bends and back bends help to soothe my achy back.

Wednesday (4/27): I take the evening off of yoga and spend it in domestic goddess mode.  I make a new soup (a lentil-filled riff on this one—delicious!).  I do a thorough clean-up job in the kitchen, and I spend some time ironing wrinkled but clean clothes to get my closet into shape.  I feel I don’t have these sorts of evenings often enough, the ones that are both soothing in their simplicity as well as satisfying in the way that they make me feel ready for whatever’s next.

Thursday (4/28): I have a DIY yoga evening, including some time in wheel pose.  Whee!

Friday (4/29): I skip yoga tonight and go for a run instead.  Running, I missed you!

Saturday (4/30): Whoa, baby, my legs are hurting today.  Between running on Friday and biking into the crazy winds, my quads are feeling the burn.  I don’t do yoga today because the idea of more exercise is almost enough to make me weep.  Texas winds, 1.  Rose-Anne, 0.

Sunday (5/1):  My legs and back are still sore, and today’s bike session didn’t help matters.  I do a long pajama yoga session because I desperately need to stretch my legs.  By the time I go to bed, I’m feeling much better.  Yoga, you’re the best!

May you have a peaceful and productive week, my dear readers.


  1. I'm at work, so this is just a quick comment to say that I agree with all of the above. I don't find celebrating anyone's death appropriate or compassionate. Quiet respect and contemplative gratitude are more my style. I'm glad you feel the same.


  2. Oh, Chrissy. Thank you for your comment. I'm glad that you have similar feelings about bin Laden's death. I feel like this event is a good example of the difference between revenge and justice.

    Maybe this is too hippy-dippy for most people, but I feel like the world would be a better place if we all spent more time praying, or doing yoga, or whatever it is that helps you cultivate a grateful heart. xo