With no days left, election day has arrived. Please, take care of yourself.
Some people have told me not to talk about it. That it’s my place as a yoga instructor to spread peace and harmony. That my message must be about love and fairies. That I must ignore reality.
That’s not yoga at all. That’s a continuation of the mess that got us here in the first place.
Yeah, I get it. We’re all sick of it. There’s a lot of anger and resentment and fear.
Encouraging people to escape to yoga is a disservice to students. Yoga is not about escaping.
Yoga is about feeling all of your anger and allowing yourself to express it and get rid of it in a safe space.
Yoga is about taking action, not repressing emotion, not conveniently forgetting, not consciously ignoring.
Yoga is about being present. If you are not present to the current state of the world you can’t even begin to become part of the change you so desperately wish to see.
First, you have to admit there’s a problem.
Yoga is not about sweeping the bad under the rug. Yoga is about having a conversation about all of it and letting yourself be uncomfortable with all of the parts of it that you’re uncomfortable with.
Yoga is about not knowing what to think, what you’re feeling, what’s going on, what’s right. We’re allowed to not know. We come to yoga to look inside ourselves for those answers. To hear those answers we have to purify the body, the mind, and the soul.
The practice of yoga offers us the tools to purify. From a purified place we can start to listen for those answers we’ve been seeking.
Ignoring what is going on is only going to add more layers to purify in the future.
If you’re in a yoga class, you’re a seeker.
If you just wanted a great workout, there are plenty of places you can go for those workouts that will give you better workouts and faster results. You show up in the yoga classroom because you’re curious about that mind-body connection. You’re curious about the magic and the mystery even though you don’t know what it all means, how it works, and you’re not even sure you want to know.
I was raised in a place where you don’t talk about politics. I went home this weekend and got to see my fair share of Trump and “Hillary for Prison” signs.
I had shouting matches with my parents, which were productive because even though we were yelling due to our own respective passion and anger, we knew that we could have a safe conversation because we’re family and we love each other no matter who we all vote for and no matter who wins.
At the end of the day everyone is just afraid. It all boils down to fear, even if we don’t consciously recognize it. People are afraid that more money will be taken away from them that they’ve worked hard to earn. People are afraid that a crazy person or a corrupt person will be ruling the United States. The world is afraid that the United States will no longer offer aid or support.
We’re afraid that we will lose our status, our money, our power. That fear turns into irritation and anger and anxiety and depression.
It’s all around us. My neighbors scream at each other every night so loud I know all the intimate details of their life even though I’ve never met them. The woman feels disrespected. The man claims he’s done nothing wrong. My other neighbor just got a visit from police officers about an alleged assault. I got screamed at by a police officer for getting into the wrong lane of traffic. All of that anger is rooted in fear.
Take care of yourself
The best thing you can do on any day of the year is to take care of yourself.
When we take care of ourselves we’ll better be able to purify our body, mind, and soul so that we can find within us the root of our fears and the answers to our problems.
Once we take care of ourselves, we’ll get a clearer picture on how to move forward. Hopefully, that picture will involve helping and being of service to others, even in the smallest way possible. I grew up in a relatively small town and was touched by a local newspaper article about a man who donated coats for the homeless. He was able to raise a couple hundred dollars and donate three or four coats. It’s not a huge number but he was so proud and he keeps working to donate as much as he can. It’s about helping one person at a time.
This is how we solve our own problems, our country’s problems, and our world’s problems.
We start with ourselves. We take care of ourselves. Then we take care of others. We smile when we pass a stranger on the street. We say hello to our neighbors, no matter where we live, no matter how much they scream at each other every night. We hold the door. We be kind like we were taught to be when we were young.
When we take care of ourselves and we help one another, the world will start to change one person at a time.
Love, compassion, connection, and clarity are the only things that will save humanity.
It doesn’t matter who wins or who you vote for or what your politics are.
What matters is that you’re a human being and you care.