How Family Members Protect Each Other

Dear Friends,

I hope this note finds you well and strong, full of trust and hope. And if not, I wish it for you and for those who need it most.

This post is about protection. It is just one glimpse of what protection looks like in real life. It is not a lecture or slide presentation, and it is not a treatise or dissertation covering the entire scope of what protection can mean and how it can manifest. Instead, this is an invitation to consider ways you protect yourself and your loved ones in your daily life.

Perhaps you practice yoga to help protect yourself from the negative effects of toxic stress. Or, maybe you pray the Lorica of St. Patrick or the Lord’s prayer to protect, guard, or strengthen yourself & your loved ones for the challenges of the day ahead. Beyond yoga and prayer, we study, teach, learn, and practice other types of protection, as well, such as creating strong passwords for our digital lives, locking our car doors before heading into the store, washing our hands before eating, even tossing on a coat and popping open an umbrella to shield the rain.

We all have practices of protection. Depending on our race, sexuality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, culture, identity (or identities) those practices can look, feel, and function differently.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

I am learning about ways protection for Black families is different from the forms of protection I am familiar with as a white person. And I’m offering this post as a way for you to learn along with me.

I’d like to speak specifically to my white friends and readers now. I invite you to think of any time you have taught a young person how to stay safe out in the world. Maybe you are in the midst of child rearing right now. Perhaps you have raised many children and the memories are flooding back to you. Maybe you have cared for your nieces or nephews, your neighbors’ children or your friends’. And if you’re a teacher, a coach, an art or music instructor, or are in service to children and teenagers in any way, most likely you have shared advice or teachings with your youth that would serve them in their lives, not just in the activity and training you provide.

I invite you now, my white friends and readers, to please listen to this story. Please do not read it, but click on the play button so that you can hear the voice. This is a story from our current time. It is not fiction. It is not magical realism. It is not memoir. It is not historical fiction. It is real, lived experience, and it is fact.

How a Mother Protects Her Black Teenage Son from the World.

Thank you for taking the time to follow the link above.

May you be blessed with the strength to bear your blessings,


The Catholic Yogi

A Perspective on Break Week

Hey Yogis,

Martin Luther King, Jr. day marks the beginning of our week away from studio classes (at least my studio classes!).  I’ll be spending some time reconnecting with my closest people, the little ones, the medium one, and the big one.  And hopefully trying something new to broaden my perspective.  My invitation to you is to do the same:  connect with your people & explore:  Keep trying different yoga styles online and in person.  Keep trying different teachers within the same tradition or style.  Or dip your toe into a new movement practice like Qigong, Tai Chi, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, or join your people in some of their favorite activities.

Speaking of perspective, when I find interesting quotes or pictu20190110_071606253820426862122972.jpgres, I print them out and hang them on my walls, so I’m reminded to look beyond my present thoughts, ideas, and opinions.  Currently, I’ve got a lot up there in the kitchen, as well as some random ones in the hallways.

One day I noticed markings on my signs, went up close to take a look, found that someone had been doing some underlining.   A few days later I noticed the little one flitting around the house with her pencil, popping up to my “sacred signage,” and making marks!!  I noticed that this caused me anxiety, as well as surprisingly strong feelings of attachment to these insignificant pieces of paper.  After reminding myself that the pieces of paper are, indeed, insignificant (compared to my love for this little graffiti artist), I smiled, exclaimed my surprise at this turn of events, and kindly asked her to stop.  At which point she sheepishly began erasing the underlines.

Two things happened:  first, my ego-self immediately felt the sacred signage would be even more damaged by the erasures, and second, my true-self realized that I had been too attached and too harsh.  So I told my little one not to worry about the marks but to refrain from making any new ones.


She told me she was sorry and explained that she’d only been underlining the most important words.  I walked over to see which words she had chosen and found these:  Pause, Courage, Mystery, Love, Admiration.

Wow!  I thought,  this was profound.  “Emma,” I said, “You can underline the words on my signs any time!”

“Well,” she replied, “I really just wanted to try out my new mini pencil.”

There are so many different ways of seeing.


My prayer for all of us is this:

May we practice awareness,
look closely,
pay attention,
and suspend judgement.

May we pause,
take courage,
embrace the mystery,
and love one another
as though our lives depend on it,
as though we are extensions of the same Ground of Being.

May we take time
to look for the jewels
in our own lives and the lives of others,
even when the jewels are hidden in the dirt
and buried beneath the snow:

and Admiration.

…and try out something new…!

Amen?  Amen.