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Shannon Brady

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>greater than, <less than

Rankings. Top ten. Who wore it better. The best of…

Constant comparison has had a toxic effect on me over the years, and, I suppose, on others as well – especially women. A key component in my path toward taming the monkey mind and finding joy in the moment is recognizing the urge to compare every time it arises, and stopping it in its tracks.

It’s hard though. Scan a magazine rack and half the covers have a ‘top ten’ or ‘best of’ headline. Look between the pages and you find celebrities laid bare trying to look their best with commentary comparing them to another rising star, or worse, to themselves in their ‘better, younger, days’. Flip on the TV and lovelorn hopefuls after the Bachelor’s heart are sharing with the world why they’re prettier, smarter, sexier, than their fellow goldilocked brethren.   Right now as I write, I’m half-watching three tattoo artists being judged for their needle-savvy.  Even my job requires digging for and posting rankings that put the fine state of New Jersey in a glowing light.

Daily reminders in yoga class to “look inward”, and “not compare your practice to others in the room” help a bit, but I confess. One lovely young woman in my morning class at Gratitude Yoga who effortlessly springs from downward dog into handstand with no sign of teetering can sometimes leave all efforts to look within spew outward. But here’s the thing – lately I’ve started paying attention to moments like this when I start to compare, and take a different approach.  Now, I simply admire and appreciate her beautiful practice, her commitment to this way of life, and my own progress in both yoga and understanding myself.  And then I smile the next time my feet slam against the wall with next handstand drill. One day. Just not today 🙂

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