Peacing It Together


Oh hey, readers!

I’ve written before about how timing is impeccable. I’ve had a few ideas swirling around my existence lately, so of course I’m going to explore them all in one post. All things are connected.

My left-brain says, “geez, this could be too much, how will the readers follow you?”

My right-brain, however, merely smiles. Her voice is silent, and the thought comes all at once. More as a feeling. They will follow.

My yoga training manual describes the first limb of Ashtanga yoga, the five yamas, or disciplines. I admit, I’ve had to allow some of these yamas to present their truths as examples in my life, because initially on paper, I was confused by a lot of their definitions. We discussed them in class, yes, and despite or because of the combination of three different languages, my left-brain threw in the towel. But my intuition said, don’t worry about it. Wait. The time has come, and I now understand two rather similar yamas – asteya which means “not-taking” or perhaps more aptly for our current Western society – “non-consumerism” and aparigraha, meaning “non-possessiveness” or “generosity.” How very alike, no? How do I tell those two apart, and how do they relate to my day to day?

Considering it’s been several years since I’ve had the desire to spend my babysitting money at the mall, or put my paycheck into a savings account for a new car, the “non-consumerism” verbiage didn’t seem to apply to my life anymore. But what is consumerism? It is not just the accumulation of material things, but it is filling a void with those things. It is purchasing happiness. When do we possess? To fill that same void? When are we generous? When we give from the opposite of that void – from fulfillment.

The first line of my novel is a real kicker. It’s perhaps not an original idea, but I had never heard it spoken before – “inspiration vs. obligation.” Like the two yamas, these ideas are similar, but we can feel just as strongly as we can rationalize the difference between inspiration and obligation. It’s feeling that will more aptly tell us whether we’re doing something because we are inspired, or because we are obligated. Does it feel great? Does it feel like genuine creativity? Or something that feels sub-par to meet the deadline? If we are in tune with our intuition, we know.

To intuitively hop across examples and ideas, a moment ago I was starting a book called a Leap of Perception by Penney Peirce. I know I have a book to write, an entire megalith of story and teaching to prepare, but something tells me to wait.

“But I haven’t done a blog post in so long!” my left-brain protests.



I settled into this gloriously spring-infused winter day by grabbing that new book and gulping in the fresh air of an open window. I watched the cats do the same, their noses drinking in new scents, and the world, the world!

“The world is waiting for you and your leaps of perception! If you’re not going to write, then at least be out in the world on this fine day!”

Shhh, left-brain. These thoughts are born of my cultural training, “do this, do that. Do, do, do!”  I’m not knocking it; it has its purpose.  I have experienced and produced much because of that drive. My gut, however, rules the roost more often, because the elation of doing what feels right in the moment trumps any sense of obligation. And so I inhaled, felt the same bliss that connects the cats to the world, and I started reading.

I only got a few pages in, perhaps the introduction; the numerals on the bottom of the pages were still roman. Only then did the “work”/wisdom come to me. I’m peacing it together. Yes! Peace! Quiet, stillness, listening to your intuition – that’s what brings in the great messages of our personal wisdom. When we are at peace, the universe turns her magic. A manifestation (the finished novel) might not be front and center, but it’s coming. And often, it’s peace we must attain to be the most productive in “making things happen.”  Penney Peirce said the same about the book I had in my hands.  She thought, “oh yes, time to write another book” but in order to create Leap of Perception, her intuition told her to wait.  “The fruit wasn’t ripe yet.”  She had more years, experiences, and illuminations to collect.

So what does this have to do with asteya and aparigraha? Well, everything. I’ve come to see these two yamas as partners. I believe aparigraha, or generosity, is inspiration. We do something because it feels honest and good, and there is no other reward than to have a meaningful connection. Asteya, or not-taking, deems that we honor those transactions that are given from inspiration, rather than obligation. If we demand something of somebody who is not inspired or willing to give it, then we are not going to receive authenticity from that person. We would be trying to fill a void, and most likely that transaction would result in dissatisfaction. Perhaps the way consumerism can. We can fill a home with things, or a life with luxurious vacations, but if these actions aren’t born from inspiration, we are left searching for genuine connection (one born from aparigraha) to life and others.

Asteya is awareness of what you’re receiving. If it’s something that’s handed over from obligation, perhaps refuse. Or if it feels flat or disappointing, think about how it was produced. An example: demanding rudely for that extra shot of espresso absent in your regular coffee because the barista-in-training fumbled in the morning rush. Even after hustling that shot in the drink, perhaps the coffee tastes like water.  Perhaps it gives you a bad case of the shits. But if you let it slide, you might find you get the next extra shot for free, or because you chose a generous smile to her instead of demands, she catches the mistake and gives you a whole other drink and cookie gratis AND a smile in return.

Of course this idea extends beyond coffee to connections of all sorts. Aparigraha and asteya are simply transactions of energy. They are alive in our connections with food, our technologies, our pets, and certainly people. Do we converse with inspiration or obligation with our partners? Our friends? Our parents? Our society?


Yoga is union of yourself and your body. If you are making too many demands on your body because you think you should be stronger or more flexible, then you are not being generous. If I write my novel for a self-imposed deadline of a month from now, then I am not acting from inspiration. That deadline feels flat, too quick, to much born from obligation to my readers.

I am in the business of inspiration. And recognizing when something is illusion.  The void is an illusion.  We are born fulfilled, we need only relax.  Simply peace it together.

“Obligation?  To what readers?”

They will come. When the time is right. This blog post is done. Now go enjoy the sunshine…and the world.



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