Hold it Lightly
By Kristine Kaoverii Weber | December 24, 2022
I recently spent a weekend with my parents. I love them, but some of their social and political views are different than mine – so I hold it lightly. We don’t have to agree on everything.
I think my neighbor’s Christmas decorations are a bit over the top, but she seems to get joy from them – so I hold it lightly. It’s her house and she can decorate it however she likes.
A close friend is vegan and I’m not, another is paleo, and I’m not – so I hold it lightly. We are allowed to eat different things.
I find some of the music my son listens to insipid – so I hold it lightly (and request that he turns the volume down 😁).
We do not have to agree with everyone about everything – perhaps, most importantly, with the people that we most love and/or respect.
It took me many years to realize that. And I can’t think of a better way to get through the holidays with people you love (and/or are related to) who have different opinions. Patanjali says a key tool of self-realization is vairāgya, non-attachment. It’s the antidote to raga, attachment.
Sometimes you just gotta let that sh*t go.
It also took me many years to realize that it was okay to have opinions of my own, that I don’t need to hide my thoughts and feelings when others assert theirs to help them feel better or to like me – even if I disagree with them. That doesn’t mean that I’m interested or enjoy arguing with everyone all the time about everything and nothing.
As I became a more seasoned blogger, asserting my more seasoned opinions (mostly about yoga) I ruffled more feathers. But I also started to notice that many public people, with their public opinions, don’t care if you agree with them or not, or even if you like them or not – I’m thinking people like Joe Rogan, Stephen Colbert, Ben Shapiro, and Jordan Peterson. All men – because men tend to be acculturated not only to believe that their opinions matter and that they are entitled to share them – but also that someone disagreeing with them or even not liking them is nothing to worry about. Yes, there are several public women who also share their strong opinions, but they also get more haters.
So, it took me a long time to realize I am allowed to have an opinion, and I’m allowed to express it. And it’s okay if people disagree with me – even my family and friends. And if they don’t like me for my opinions, that’s actually okay too – even when it hurts.
I think it’s also important to differentiate something here – holding the innocuous opinions of the people in your life, or public people, lightly is different than standing up to nefarious opinions. Some opinions deserve a strong response. And it’s important to be clear about when you’re willing to stand up against opinions that are toxic or harmful. That’s not easy. But as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, you have to take action in this world, inaction is not an option, keeping your mouth shut, even though it seems like you’re doing nothing, is actually often complicitous.
When it comes to discerning if and how to respond to opinions, for me, the questions are:
- Can I walk through life holding minor perceived differences and offenses lightly?
- Can I take responsibility for my own feelings and not project my hurts onto others who are not responsible for them?
- Can I appropriately change the subject, change the channel, walk away, let it go?
- Since some things need strong responses, and others need to be held lightly – how do I learn to draw the line?
We all must choose our battles wisely. We have limited time, energy, and bandwidth. I do not have time to argue on Facebook or Reddit all day and I’m not interested in using my time that way. I know where my lane is, and I prefer to spend my time focusing on those particular obstacles and road blocks on my own path.
About others’ opinions, many people will say “It’s fine as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” Of course, that’s the first principle of yoga – ahimsa, non-harming, and that’s a great litmus test. But there are another nine moral principles in the tradition that can help navigate our chosen battles as well. For example, is it truthful? Is it honest? Is it sustainable? Is it thoughtful? Is it clear or clean? etc. And then what do I have the bandwidth to stand up to? What is relevant and important to me?
At this time of year, I’m much more interested in having a sweet time with the people I care about than seeking a fleeting reward – the pointless adrenaline rush of winning an unimportant argument.
I hope that you enjoy this holiday season – and enjoy the peace and ease of holding stuff that doesn’t matter much lightly.
I want to share a little holiday gift I made for you – a 15 minute Yoga for Essential Holiday Season Rest. I hope you enjoy the practice!
Want to Flourish in 2023? Please check out my mini-course, ‘Visioning 2023: A Subtle® Yoga Guided Journey for Creating a Joyful, Expansive Year’
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Thank you, Kristine, for your thoughtful post. Timely and supportive, bringing yogic philosophy to the present moment. Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, safe and warm holiday season.
Thank you Laura – happy holidays to you too!
Kristine, you are a light in my life, I have been struggling with finding out my husband of 50 had a 5 year affair. To remain in Ahisma is the most difficult thing for me. I read your blogs and daily try and practice yoga, to keep some of myself ok . Thank you for all your offerings 🙏🏼🙏🏼✨
OMG Nancy, I’m so sorry. I believe that there is a part of ourselves that’s always okay, even in the darkest hour. I hope that part of yourself shines light on the rest of you right now when you need it. Take care and know that you are a beautiful person. Sending love. xoxo
Well said Kristine! Thank you for your thoughts and your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your emails over the last year – blessings and light to you! Happy Holidays!!
Thanks so much Amy! Happy holidays to you too. xoxo
Loved this, Kristine! Thank you.
How can we talk of ahimsa and participate in the torture and, slaughter of animals. And the environmental devastation meat egg and dairy industry causes. This confuses me time and again. Eating is not victimless. Someone’s decorations are a whole different category. My heart breaks each time one of my heros reveals they support cruelty.
So very well stated….Hold it Lightly….can be a new mantra!
Yes I need it!
Thank you for your wise words Kristine. I always enjoy reading your blogs and ‘holding it lightly’ is truly wise during holidays.
Such helpful reminders for how to interact and speak or not speak. Sometimes holding silence can be most helpful.
it’s true! thanks Carol.
This was truly a beautiful post. Thank you.
Well said, thank you. Along with Lee Harris’s Cultivate Joy and your Hold it Lightly I feel so encouraged and supported, connected with this vast network we are all part of. Overlapping our choice to enable kindness in all it’s forms to counteract the fear and divisiveness which so many on every ‘side’ seem to be hooked into at present. All the very best to you and your family in this festive time and here’s to holding it lightly, living the light as we continue into the ongoing interesting and adventurous times next year and beyond.
Thank you Shakti. Happy Holidays to you too!
Good insight. Thank you
Thank you for your wise thoughts. These practices of holding things lightly & valuing my own opinions is part of what I am learning these days… it’s so nice to see them in print from someone whose thoughts I value!
Thank you Peggy!
Excellent blog, K.K. (-: Seems that I have been receiving several opportunities lately to practice vairagya. Because of my yoga practice I am able to recognize them for the “gifts” that they are. Blessings today and all through the coming year to you! Thank you for the little video.
Thank you for your wise words on this Christmas morning; I shall try my best to hold things lightly and to focus on the things that really matter…
Thank you for such wise words and ideas a great way of making things make sense.
Words are powerful, aren’t they. Over the holidays, I’ve adopted the mantra “relax around it”…it has saved my sanity more than once. I love your “hold it lightly” as it feels much the same to me. I visualize relaxing my grip, which sends waves of softening to places that I didn’t realize I was clenching. Thank you Kristine for sharing your wisdom and care.
Your words and perspective have great power.
Thank you Beverly, I like your visualization, it’s a perfect complement!
Kristine, thank you for your insights and gentle wisdom. I always find your words a timely inspiration. I only wish I could hold on to the thoughts and the mindset better. i really love the “Hold it lightly”, not taking life too harshly, adding an element of gentleness to oneself and others. thank you also for the gift of yoga, and how you share your knowledge in such a useful way. i appreciate you!
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Thank you Kristine for this post. You have a happy knack of putting into words feelings that many others (including me!) find difficult to express. (More attention to the throat chakra needed here!)
Words matter…especially those that are rattling around in the head unspoken.
Thank you Maureen. Yes, those rattling words!
Always so so so good Kristine. Your nuggets of wisdom are always so much appreciated. Thank you for sharing your life experiences and wisdom with us.