I will…

I never know what it will be, but always after yoga, I sit for a few minutes on my mat, cross-legged, straight-backed, breathing slow, and I make myself a promise. It always starts with “I will…” and after that, anything goes.

“I will… be fearless.”

“I will… deal with that thing I don’t want to deal with.”

“I will… relax my shoulders.”

“I will… write my shitty first draft.”

On Friday morning after a strenuous session, I got into position on the edge of my mat, but before I took even the first breath, I heard myself make this promise, “I will plant myself firmly in the real world.”

It surprised me how clear and sudden the thought was, as if it had been crouched there inside me, waiting for its chance to escape, grabbing hold of my voice on its way out and then leaping forth, fully formed, insistent and exuberant as a child.

I got up and wrote it down because it felt so important, and then I kept writing to understand what it meant. I think I’ve been carrying this promise around for a long time, one downward dog away from expression.

Here’s what I wrote…

I will plant myself firmly in the real world.
I will feel the ground under my feet
…….and the significance of each forward step.
I will remember to look up at the sky.
I will pet my dogs, hug my boys, laugh.
I will talk about stuff that matters with people I love.
I will pay attention to how things take root.
I will hike trails
…….and kiss them too, in a long, precious line,
…….from his shoulder to his hip.
I will shimmy, dance, act out, make noise.
I will stretch myself
…….and then hold onto the stillness
…….for a few seconds longer than I think I can.
I will do the work, do the work, do the work.
I will be tender with other people’s hearts.
I will be fearless with my own.


What will you promise yourself today?



  1. Caroline on February 27, 2012 at 6:09 am

    I will succeed.

    Thanks J!

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 8:16 am

      HUGE smile. Me too! xo

  2. Jerrie on February 27, 2012 at 6:29 am

    This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
    My promise to myself today: I will speak the truth in love, I will be delicate and strong, I will hold on tight.

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

      I love “I will be delicate and strong.” I wish more people would promise themselves that.

  3. LunaJune on February 27, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I will again step out of my comfort zone when my soul tells me I should, even if I’m afraid I might look like a dork

    such a lovely poem
    and I think I shall dance today in some wonder that comes my way

    may your week unfold with magnificent manifestations ♥

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Yes! I’m ready for a week of magnificent manifestations! I wish that for you too. xo

  4. Amy on February 27, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I will stop after the 3rd…er 2nd…Oreo.

    I will play Go Fish with my daughter.

    I will start on my tax prep.

    I will! If it kills me!

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Ack! The t-word! I don’t think you should have to limit your Oreo intake AND start your tax prep. That’s so harsh. 🙂

  5. Annie Neugebauer on February 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

    This is my version of a quote (actually from a prayer she shared online) by Laurell K. Hamilton, and I say it to myself every day when I sit down to write:

    I will be wise in my creation. I will be fierce in its defense. I will be true to my message and my vision.

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I’m writing it out for myself too. Thank you, Annie!

    • LunaJune on February 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      wonderful quote will have to share it too

  6. Ken on February 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    That pic is from my wedding!

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Yes it is! A big love fest, it was!

  7. nancy on February 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I will encourage myself to take that first thought, and keep writing it out. This is amazing, because yesterday I had the gist of what you wrote as I was standing still for a moment during my mama’s 90th birthday party – taking a moment to be present in that moment, rooted in it, observing it all, actually feeling it all and capturing the feelings in a memory.

    I continue to be in awe of the synchronicities (sp?) I find with you as well as being in awe of your very elegant exposition of my half-baked thoughts!

    Big Monday hugs,


    • j on February 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      Actually, writing it out is hugely helpful. It’s how I get to so many of my truths.

      I’ve experienced what you did, a moment of not just presence, but also awareness of my presence. It doesn’t happen often to me, but when it does it’s so sweet – like love multiplied.

      Monday hugs right back to you!

  8. Marcie on February 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    I will be brave!

    Isn’t it amazing? The power and practice of yoga?

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      Oh, Marcie, we could talk! Nothing does for me what my time on the mat does; it is about love in a way no other element of my fitness regiment is. With yoga, my body gets stronger and my spirit (for lack of a better term) shifts and aligns and finds something akin to balance.

      I so want to hear more about your yogi training. Feel free to write me (or post about it at your place… I visit all the time).

  9. Christie on February 27, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I will stop worrying about that which I have no control over and I will continue to love myself and those around me as I work through this.

    I will let go of the need to try and mold others to be what I want them to be and instead love and accept them for who they are as they walk the path that is meant for them (not me).

    I think these are parts of a big awakening that I am currently experiencing.

    Thank j for this, I really needed it today!

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      You’re welcome. I need to do that too, let go of the things I have not control over. xo

  10. Lance on February 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I had to think about this. Then I got mad at myself for overthinking and came back tonight and wrote stream of conscience….

    I will be more patient.

    I will not use my anxiety disorder an an excuse.

    I will finish my book.

    I will love my wife and daughters more than they’ve ever been loved.

    I will stop feeling rejected by my teenager.

    I will comment on J’s blog more.

    I will make myself more open.

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      My favorite part of your comment is the part where you overcame the overthinking and replied like a motherfucker (so to speak). Seriously, this is perfect. Thank you for coming back to say it. xo

  11. joannefirth on February 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    I will continue to fight back every day for the composure that life’s pressures threaten to take from me.

    Love this post.

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      I give up on composure quite frequently. Lucky for me usually (a few minutes ago, for instance) only Lexi was here to see… and dogs love you anyway.

      Love your comment. *hug*

  12. Michael on February 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Serendipitously, I pretty much did this exercise in a – wait for it – yoga class yesterday. My answer then and now is – I’ll keep it simple, empathetic, and creative.

    You rock. You know, in case you weren’t quite sure. 😉

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      “I’ll keep it simple, empathetic, and creative.”

      You rock.

  13. jb on February 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    So inspiring and poetic, j! Loved everyone’s responses, as well.

    After many setbacks this year, I finally made it back on to the treadmill this morning. During my “treading”, this epiphany suddenly jump into my head “I will do what I need to succeed.” I don’t usually get epiphanies on the treadmill, but since I haven’t been visiting my yoga mat lately either, I guess the epiphany-fairy decided to hunt me down. (And I’m glad she did.)

    • j on February 27, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      It’s funny where inspiration strikes (and by funny I mean never when we’re on our knees begging for a clue). Yay you!

      Incidentally, I don’t usually get epiphanies on the treadmill either. Just shin splits and side stitches. You’re a stud.

  14. Estrella Azul on February 28, 2012 at 3:58 am

    You’re so inspiring, j! <3

    I will take it easy while I still have this cold.
    I will relax as much as it's possible.
    I will read more, and write more this week.
    And… I will keep my promises.

    • j on February 28, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Thank you, Estrella. So are you. xo

  15. Clare Flourish on February 28, 2012 at 4:06 am

    I love this technique. You have yoga, which brings you into the moment, and you have developed the habit of openness to your inner lover just afterwards, who speaks to you then. More and more beautifully. You have created a time for inspiration to strike.

    I will- play the piano. I enjoy that.

  16. j on February 28, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I like the phrase “inner lover.” Maybe I should bring my laptop over to my yoga mat, since it does seem to be a muse-y sort of time for me. (Doubting the wisdom in that idea.)

  17. Eydie on February 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I will speak my truth
    I will keep my word
    I will appreciate all that is good
    I will honor my needs
    I will LOVE big

    • j on February 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Gotta say… love that last one. xo

  18. Cynthia on February 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Wow, I love this. Timely, (for me), and beautiful, j. Thank you.

    I will listen, and finally head where my heart, and everything in me, says to go.

    I will trust that all will come together to let that be so.

    • j on February 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm

      Your promises rhyme! I could have written them. I feel your need to head absolutely north and trust that my worst fears will not come to pass. (They so seldom do.)

  19. Kellie Walker on February 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Believe in myself again. And, if that takes too long, I’ll take action anyway. xoxo

    • j on March 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      For what it’s worth, I think this is one of those promises we all have to make over and over again. xo

  20. Tall Pajama Man on March 11, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Loving the possibilities “i will” brings. It touches the dreamer in me, awakening in me that which is always there, but patiently awaits for me to line up with its reality… Well, maybe not always patient 🙂

    I was about to do my list (first thing that hit me was that I will get to my destination), but then I thought about how your declaration came, and I love that. So, yeah… I will do that (the destination thingy), but also the other… I’m gonna give my dreams space to live out loud… Out in the open.

    Could be interesting 🙂

    • j on March 12, 2012 at 7:36 am

      That’s lovely. I hope you do. No one deserves to live his dreams more, k.

  21. Making stuff | Zebra Sounds on April 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    […] A promise… […]

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply