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11 Reasons Why Not to Practice, and How to Tell if They’re Wise (or cop outs)

Dear Ones,

Some mornings, simply getting out of bed feels cruel. The night before, you set your alarm an hour early, with the very best intentions.

I will do 10 Sun Salutations, with the sunrise! I will sip green tea and read Rumi! I will dream journal before the kids are up!

But all those good intentions scatter when the angry BEEP BEEP of your alarm clock sounds. You tuck your hands back under the comforter, and bed feels like the only safe haven from whiz and whirl you know the day will bring.

I’ll just doze another twenty minutes. I deserve more sleep. Isn’t it enlightened and feminine of me to be gentle with myself, when I’m tired? Wait — or will I be stronger and more spiritual if I make myself practice, no matter what? How can I tell which I’m supposed to do? Oh, a little yoga won’t make THAT big of a difference, anyway …

Before you know it, the cat is purring you back to sleep. You wake up an hour later and have just enough time to eat cold spaghetti over the sink before running out the door. All those Reasons Why Not won out, yet again. And while they always make sense (another hour of sleep always sounds good!), are they really wise?

We all have our Reasons Why Not.

Sometimes, they’re worth listening to. Sometimes, they simply mean we don’t have enough information. But most times, they’re the voice of our inner critic or saboteur, clipping our wings just when we’re about to soar.

Today (both here and on the podcast), I want to honor these questions, fill in some gaps, and speak directly to your Reasons Why Not, to help guide you back to your own, inner knowing.

What if life is happening for you, not to you? What if everything that you’re experiencing is an answer to your deepest prayer? What if your greatest challenges were doorways into your greatness?

In the sixth and final Dakini’s Den episode, I share an excerpt from a class where I speak about resilience, overcoming challenging emotions, and viewing life as your initiation.

If you’re feeling beaten down by the circumstances of your life, today’s talk with inspire and uplift you.

Listen in to today’s episode on “Your Life is Your Initiation” here:

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I’ve heard a number of these Reasons Why Not lately, as some of you have written to me with questions and concerns, wondering whether it’s right for you to join A Year of SHE & the SHE Leadership Circle: our 12-month Spiritual Practice Community & Mastermind for Women (doors close on Friday).

Oh, Sara, I’d love to join, and am howling YES, but I want to spend more time offline this year and prioritize spaciousness/I’ll just read your blog instead/I’m focusing on my golden retriever rescue organization this year, etc.

Have any of these Reasons Why Not (a.k.a. RWN) come up for you, as you’ve considered joining A Year of SHE or the SHE Leadership Circle this year? And, even if you’re sure that these programs aren’t for you, you may find these RWN popping up in other areas of your life.

#1 RWN: Surely I don’t deserve something so lavish and self-indulgent.

Truth: The inner critic loves telling us what we don’t deserve. But we’re not talking about an extravagant 7-course meal, here — we’re talking about your spiritual practice: that which matters most. The only thing that can ever free you from your neuroses, and allow you to live your deepest priorities, amidst that truth that you will inevitably lose everything you’ve ever loved and cared about. You are the brilliant combustion of stardust and consciousness, incarnate in a woman’s body, striving and breathing and heartbeat-ing your way to awakened joy. What don’t you deserve?!

#2 RWN: I can do it on my own. I’ll just read your books!

Truth: Reading the truth (knowledge) and living the truth (experience) are two totally different things. My books (and other books) can offer fabulous signposts and jolts of insight, but weaving these practices into your daily life takes ongoing work. It takes support. It takes ongoing mentorship and community. I would never, ever think that I could guide myself out of my own neurotic loops without the skillful support of in-person teachers. If I do that, please stop reading my emails and help dig my head out of my you-know-what. Are you self-sabotaging by denying yourself the support you know you need?

#3 RWN: I’m craving more spaciousness and less To Do’s this year.

Truth: I know that when I don’t put spiritual practice and self-study at the heart of my life, then no matter how much white space I put into my calendar, my mind remains crowded with not-very-helpful thoughts. It’s a paradox- by taking the time to practice, with teachers and community, you create more space. A Year of SHE offers so many lifestyle tools to support precisely this. Plus, our gatherings don’t pile on more information and To Do’s: they help you carve out the time and spaciousness you need to drop the busy-ness, drop into your body, and cultivate your relationship with your infinitely wise inner SHE.

#4 RWN: I’m just too busy, dagnabbit.

Truth: You might be right on this one. Spiritual practice does take time and dedication. If this isn’t the right time for you, please honor that. But if you know, deepdeep down, that this is what truly matters to you, AND you’re willing to put in some time, your transformation may astound you. I never could have created my business, written my books, or overcome deep wounds/physical ailments/addictions if I didn’t rock my spiritual practice, daily. A Year of SHE presents a new paradigm: we put the soul first, and practicalities second. The soul is like the ocean; the day-to-day practicalities are the sailboat upon it. Which one do you think is more important?

#5 RWN: Ugh, not another online thing. I need to unplug more this year!

Truth: I hear you, girl. We are a community of conscious women, and we all feel the impact of too much time online. That’s why everything we offer is downloadable to your desktop, so you can engage with it all offline. There are always a percentage of women who prefer participating this way, and we support it 100%. I also share resources and guidance for how to practice good “digital hygiene” throughout. (And yet: you might be amazed by the intimacy and depth we can create together, online, too.)

#6 RWN: I keep thinking I’m decided … but then I flip-flop …

Truth: Do you experience this kind of uncertainty more often than you’d like? Our deciding power comes from where we’re rooted, in our being (and how deep our self-trust goes). A Year of SHE will help you settle deeper into yourself, so you can feel more sure about every decision you make.

#7 RWN: I don’t need another thing to fail at. I know I should meditate more, but I just don’t do it.

Truth: A quick meditation here or there is lovely, but it’s ongoing practice, paired with regular retreats, that truly transforms your body, mind, and life. That’s why it brings up so much resistance and fear! In A Year of SHE, you will receive tools to work directly with this resistance (not against it), along with the teachings, mentoring, and community support you need to make everything stick. Once you build a solid foundation for your spiritual practice, that inevitable resistance becomes far easier to handle.

#8 RWN: I’m not sure whether Sara is the right teacher for me.

Truth: Finding the right teacher is important– but maybe you’re not looking for her in the right place. I personally prefer to refer to myself as a guide, because your true teacher is inside YOU. Do you have reliable tools to guide you to the truth within yourself? That’s what A Year of SHE is all about, especially the daily workbook lessons in A Course in Miracles that we’ll do together.

#9 RWN: I want to teach women’s yoga … isn’t this all covered, there?

Truth: The foundational, in-depth experience of women’s yoga and spiritual practice you’ll get in A Year of SHE is a fantastic and essential addition to yoga teacher’s training, but it is NOT widely taught. It will deepen your own practice (essential for a great teacher) and equip you to “meet” your students right where they’re at. That’s why I’m so excited to welcome more and more women’s yoga teachers to this program.

#10 RWN: It’s too expensive.

Truth: Honor your limits. But also consider: this is the lowest monthly price point I have ever offered, to make it as accessible as possible to a wide range of women. The monthly cost is about half the price of  a gym or yoga studio membership, but unlike these, which only address your physical self, A Year of SHE nurtures every dimension of YOU: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and relational. This integrated path is what a woman really needs to be fully empowered, in practice and in life.

#11 RWN: I’ll do something else with Sara later in the year.

The Truth: I only open registration for these programs once a year. And I honestly have no idea if I will offer this again in 2010.  If you’d love to work with me, now is your chance.

And, if you know that you’re ready to join us for A Year of SHE or the SHE Leadership Circle, you can register here. We’d love for you to join us!

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