On Self-Reliance

I was listening to my dear friend and amazing Outlaw Yoga Teacher, musician, and human Seth Larson speak and play live the other night on his band’s Facebook page /somethingunderground…in between belting out some of my favorites – and even one that I’m immensely proud to have co-written – he was talking about wanting to be more self-reliant…

After the sweet sounds of the show had faded along with the lovely last rays of day, it occurred to me that to be ‘self-reliant’ first demands that you be self-sacrificing.

Fewer resources are required to maintain fewer possessions.

If you’re relying on you, then it stands to reason you would want less things relying on you so that you got more of your presence…wouldn’t you?

“The things you own end up owning you,” as it were.

self-reliance, On Self-Reliance

In the yoga practice we call this aparigraha – the practice of non-hoarding,

Be those items one possesses be shiny things, or more metaphorical like mental attachments…to break up those bonds, to clear the clutter physically and metaphorically, is a great first step.

I’ve been really active on the Facebook recently, and I know you have too…the unintended consequence being that they now have even more data points to try and make sense of us…be that as it may…

(Incidentally, I hear the best way to throw off the analytical system is to go and ‘like’ a bunch of shit that you really don’t…comment on shit that has nothing to do with you…watch porn that doesn’t excite you…etc.)

Free’d up from these attachments, from that which isn’t you leaves room to be more reliant on that portion of you that remains, that part that is authentically you.

You relying on you. You relying on your decisions and your environment.

To be self-reliant means to be self-disciplined.

It means inviting more wonder and respect for that environment. Suggests that you are – in fact – part and parcel and interdependent on that environment for your survival…

“Food doesn’t come from a grocery store, Virginia…”

The little girl screwed up her face…

“But, then where does it come from, Santa Claus?”

Santa shook his head at her naivety.

“Why, the ground of course…”

You don’t need a lot of land to grow a lot of food. I currently have a condo. On the railing of my patio sit several potted plants growing arugula, spinach, and of course…herbs.

self-reliance, On Self-Reliance

 Before we’re truly into spring and the risk of a ‘hard thaw’ has passed I am called, for the time being, to schlepp the pots in and out of the house at the beginning and end of every day.

It’s not easy…but it is simple. I just have to do it.

Self-reliance doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it shouldn’t be. The more layers of complication present…well, the more complicated things will be.

Start small. Sustainable steps will be lasting steps. Here’s some you can take this spring:

  • plant a window herb garden – fresh basil, oregano, and mojito mint grow like weeds, are expensive as all hell in the store, and go a long ways to enhance your favorite drink immeasurably
  • clear the clutter – if you haven’t already – from the house and sell your unwanted stuff on Facebook marketplace…it’s easy, free, and fun and you’ll make a few bucks (and, for some reason no one wants donations right now, but people are still willing to come pick up your unwanted shit)
  • identify a step towards self-reliance that is specific to you – learn a new, useful, and fun.. from natural navigation and bug-out bag packing, to water purification and knitting, it’s all on YouTube
  • cultivate a daily, home yoga practice

One step you can take today is to cultivate a daily, home yoga practice.

I’ve loved practicing online lately because practicing online is a step towards a daily personal practice. A home practice is the most ultimate aim of the live, group yoga practice. To know your body well enough, to be curious enough and consistently enough is the most self-reliant form of the practice.

No teacher, no matter how talented or intuitive, will ever know your body better than you are capable of knowing it after many hours and days of personal inquisitiveness. This comes only as a result of getting on the mat no matter where you are, no matter the circumstances around you, no matter how you’re feeling or what you’d rather be doing.

I’ve truly enjoyed taking class with our teachers and students virtually…it’s fun to see your names pop up in the feed, and I can do whatever my body is calling for if the kind and compassionate suggestion of the teacher isn’t getting me there.

I can stay a little longer, or drop down into child’s pose and still receive the benefit of connection and community – even virtually. If you’re interested in being a part of our online yoga community sign up for our premium virtual membership so you can get access to our online yoga library, and join our members only Facebook group where our senior teachers live stream daily. You can also tune in to live streamed classes twice per week on the Outlaw Yoga Littleton Facebook page.

Whatever you do decide to do, remember help aint comin’.

And if you think that when the current sanctions lift that this will be the end of the madness, then, well…you’re just not listening.

Spoiler alert – COVID-19 is just the beginning.

Our environment is fucked and fowled, literally and metaphorically. The time to prepare for more challenging times to come…is right now.

“Don’t wait until the house is on fire to dig the well.” – Kannada Proverb

So don’t wait, do somethin’ for yourself today.

The game we’re playing is rigged, Outlaws.

It’s not set up to protect people like you and me…it’s been set-up to protect landlords, policy makers, and the powers that be.

But they can’t police your body, and they can’t tax you on the contents of your mind…

At least, not yet.

Real liberty comes at the simple and fair price of being responsible for it…being willing to work for it…being willing to own your shit…being more self-reliant…

Good luck!


Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Though his studio is currently closed per state order, you can still take his class NOW at www.outlawyogaclub.com and www.youtube.com/outlawyoga. Find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.