Awaken Wonder

Whitney Lawless, E-RYT-500, tiny bites about yoga and life


This is Cosmo. He said it’d be ok to share this pic and our conversation over popcorn on the porch this morning. At almost 5, the themes are big.
Robbers are people that make bad choices. If the army kills robbers by accident, then it’s ok. Robbers only come to houses when no one or no dogs are home. It’s ok to let the robbers steal things. Is our house kind of safe, or VERY safe? Sometimes the army kills people they don’t mean to. If the army killed all the bad guys in the world by accident…

Me: I don’t think it’s possible for the army to kill all the people in the world. 

Him: Oh yeah mom, just the robbers.
All the time I think about how to raise boys well in this time and place. Not just telling them what I think about the world, but teaching through action how I expect them to communicate, interact, and behave. The hard part is doing the things that I am not as evolved in.

I was raised by a super resourceful single mom. Being married was not ever in my dream of what it meant to have a family. So now I’m here, an ardent feminist, raising boys with a husband and realizing that my attitude around roles in the family needs to shift. Dads can be awesome and capable of showing up, and brilliant in their own special kind of magic. But I have to allow that space to unfold. Otherwise I’m just reiterating the past.

I’m doing my best to take it one convo at a time. One hiccup. One victory. To be courageous and have faith that if I let go a little, everything won’t fall apart.

Some days are for poems

If every step on your path were measured

Not as an accomplishment or a failure

But as a cup full of elixir –

Sometimes splashing over the edges like tears,

and others stilling quietly as you prepare


to meet the unknown.

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photo credit: Toby Lawless

Staying course

One of the things that I am coming to terms with right now, or maybe finally accepting, is that who I am as a mother is not incidental to my real life, (the one where I sew all day and there is not piles of laundry building up) but my present life. The resistance of the irrefutable present is far from how I want to spend my time. So on my birthday, I turned my attention to how I can re-inspire myself with movement. Ideas: go outside everyday, maybe twice! with the kids. Don’t limit myself to only yoga moves. Dance, shake, jump and stretch my limbs in service of life needs. Breathe deeply and regularly.

My idea was to collect these awesome examples about different ways to move that make us feel alive. Or some sh*t like that. And seriously, I love that idea. It is just WAY different from my how my life works right now. I made it through a few days of trying and then fell off the wagon. (this has totally happened before!) Usually, I just let my idea slip away and pretend that I didn’t tell a whole group of my students that I was gonna do something on my blog, and that they should read about it(arghhh). But not this time. I’m gonna stick with it for these 38 days, and then I’m gonna do it again. Something that is. Because movement is what our bodies were made to do! It feels so good. If you move your body and breathe, it might remind you of yourself. It might also remind you of places where you are in pain or just feel awkward from being out of the habit of consciously moving this amazing organism.

Here’s some pictures of what I’ve done the past couple of days. Onward!!


8/38 legs up the wall


9/38 walks 



moving under nw skies

Days 3-5 the kids and I got outside and walked. Here are some shots from our adventures in the neighborhood and beyond. IMG_3235IMG_3238IMG_3239IMG_3247IMG_3250IMG_3251

After a long day of training today, I’m gonna go lay myself on the floor and feel the force of gravity. I’m amazed somedays that I can stand up and move with all the stuff that keeps happening to my little body. I’m so grateful for this body, and the chance to explore my limitations and the places where they crack and wisdom seeps in.


This is what we do a lot after 5pm. Day 2/38 #movingintobeing

A video posted by Whitney Lawless (@wonderhunter) on


38 Cake is great.


Because my birthday is close to New Years, I usually wait till now to think and reflect on things for the coming months and year. I could make a long list of things that I would like add into my days, but instead I’m gonna work with just one. Join me for the next 38 days for my Moving into Being exercise. More to come on that. For tonight though, hula hooping. (thanks Jer!)

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Maintain healthy boundaries AND be nice!

Saying no is a cultivated practice. Being Nice is a common courtesy. And these things are not at odds! Everyone can practice creating respectful boundaries around what is sacred and necessary and still be able to really throw down when needed. It’s simple. Just say, “No. Thank you”

Saying no is not for the faint of heart. Depending on where we come from and any family of origin stuff that is still alive and well, it may be even harder. Personally, I have a ton of abandonment issues, both locational and emotional. When people don’t show up in the way they said they would – even if it’s really small – it crosses a line for me. I used to deem people “untrustworthy” and not look back. It was an important tool for me AT AGE 3, but not a sustainable way of being in the world as I wanted to be at the time, and now. Friends are really important to me, and everyone make mistakes and forget things daily. So in my own work, I’m constantly (and quickly) trying to assess what is truly important and what is no big deal.

The “no” itself is not harmful. More often than not, an honest no is liberating to say and to hear. Sometimes I think we assume too easily in relationship, either that the other person knows exactly what’s going on or has no idea. (That’s probably just me.) Most of us are acutely intuitive beings, whether we are aware of it or not.

I corresponded with a dear friend while they were serving time in their early 20’s. I got a letter where they told me about a therapy that included the idea of being the same person you are in public that you are in private. Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries is exactly this. It means that we respect ourselves in public as well as in private. In front of our partners, colleagues, family, children, and pets, for all to see. If we can do that, even once more a day than usual, we are on the right path.

4 ways to PRACTICE:

  1. Recall the scenario where you dread saying no. Or where you’ve always wanted to but have not been able to. Now imagine yourself in your mind gracefully saying, “No thanks!” Scene.
  2. Be honest. If you mean no, say no instead of, “I can’t” “Not today” or the ubiquitous “I’m too busy”. It’s more respectful to others and to yourself.
  3. Just say it. It will probably feel weird in the moment, and maybe for a little bit afterwards. Later on, reflect on your decision and pay particular attention to how you feel. If it worked, you will most likely feel like you have more energy (and you do!), courage and self-respect.
  4. Say it fast! The quicker you respond, especially in an expected situation, the easier it is to stick with it.                   (note on this: I just was trying a free week of Crossfit and we got to the sit ups part of the warm up. I don’t do sit ups right now because of muscle separation in my rectus from being pregnant. It would have been really easy for my competitive nature to be swept up by the loud music, and the whole as-much-as-fast-as-hard vibe. But I said quickly, and awkwardly: I don’t do sit ups, my abs are separated, guts pop out. “Right” the guy says, “My wife has that.” And I still felt whole cause I didn’t betray myself.)

Sometimes this saying no thing takes some forethought and planning. Visits with family or in-laws are a great time to practice. When we respect ourselves and our boundaries, it grants permission for those around us to do so as well. Stay your path! Don’t be dissuaded by haters! Push back may mean your boundaries are working.

Here is a short list to leave you with. Be willing. Be courageous. Take action!

10 simple things to say to decline. To be clear, this is for the times when you have no honest interest in saying yes, but you don’t know how to say no. In order of politeness:

  1. Thank you for the invitation/opportunity/offer, but I’m going to politely decline.
  2. No, thank you.
  3. No.
  4. Um, no.
  5. Noooooooooooo (sung)
  6. No (whispered)
  7. No! (yelled)
  8. Are you kidding?!! No way.
  9. I’m sure your mother would be happy to join you.
  10. Go fuck yourself.

See the common thread? It’s just about figuring how to get the no out of your mouth.

Day 41. A day in the life.

Yesterday was a day of real life yoga. We ran super productive errands all morning as a family and then I drove to Seattle for a rehearsal, are some delicious ice cream in the *freezing* cold drizzle, ran into a long lost friend, got my hair cut, saw old friends, learned some new songs, had a deep conversation with the street meat seller and worked stuff out for the shindig tonight.

All in all it was a pretty good day. Meeting my friend was both joyous and awkward, an echo of my past failings and current hopes. My haircut was weird and my nourishment was nonsense. It’s not the typical day of yoga I count for my challenge, but it’s the awake-in-the-world stuff that I hope for off my mat. On the yoga mat is just practice.


Day 40.

I lost some posts there. I lost a day or so of practice too, but not all. Today this morning was sweet. I practiced in the kitchen while he treasure hunted things in the drawer. Onward and upward.


Day 35. To clear the heart.

Today I chanted for 30 minutes around the house. It turned a semi-anxious Whitney into a super grounded Whitney. Not immediately, but it lasted for a while. Yum yum shanti shanti.