Read at your own risk:
Some people might find the contents of this message disturbing.
But, I can no longer can sit in silence. I can no longer ignore the elephant in the room. Or the cognitive dissonance in my life.
Up till now, I have not wanted to risk making people uncomfortable. I have tried very hard not to offend folks in my classes or through my writing. Why? Because I grew up in a home where it was important to keep everybody happy, not to make waves, and to avoid personal, religious, or political conversations all together. I have carried this into my professional life. After all, my politics are my politics, not yours, and your yoga practice should be a sanctuary. Yoga is a practice of finding strength, flexibility and inner peace, who am I to disrupt your practice?
Well, that’s just it, isn’t? I teach yoga not just because it is good for your body, but because I truly believe it is a clear, effective and authentic path to peace. And I am a dedicated peace activist – always have been and always will be. I teach yoga, because I know that if we can’t find peace within, we will never be able to build lasting peace for all beings on this planet. And I want that, not just for me and my children, but for you, your children, and their friends and their parents and their parents friends and for all beings every where.
How do I manage the feelings I experience when waking up to the morning news? They range from anger, to fear, to frustration. And to a deep sadness.
I feel as though there is nothing I can do and yet I must do something.
What can I do?
What do I know?
I know that I care deeply for these people in my life; my husband, my children, my extended family, my friends, my colleagues.
And I care deeply about people I haven’t even met yet. I know that every life is sacred.
I know that I love the mountains, the oceans, woods and rivers.
I know that there are animals on the planets I want to see – alive and free, not just in a museum of natural history.
I know there are places I want to visit that at risk due to global warming, pollution and careless/selfish acts of humans.
I know that while I haven’t always been a patriotic American, I love this country and many of the values and ideals that it stands for.
At least until now.
Yes, I was one of those who didn’t believe Trump would be elected. How could America elect somebody who manifestly lied half of the time, stretched the truth the other half of the time, and hid behind hyperbole and redundancies? Who threatened, bullied and incited violence. I just didn’t see it coming.
I get it, there are many in our country who felt that he was offering them something new, a new way of getting things done in Washington and for this country. Who seriously believed that he was going to be able to get them jobs and make America “great again.” I get it, for too many Americans, hunger, poverty, lack of health care and bad education is a reality. And I am so very sad about that. I want it to be different too.
But not at the expense of Democracy and human rights. Not at the expense of the environment and the health of the animals and humans living up or down stream of here. Not at the expense of international relations and planetary safety.
I am overwhelmed almost every minute of every day by the decisions being made by Trump. It seems he really is going to do some of those things he said he was going to do. Amidst all the shadowing of the truth, he is in fact going to gut health care, remove environmental restrictions, promote business (particularly those of his friends), reduce/stop funding of the arts, put up a wall on the US/Mexico Boarder, and stop anybody who might be fleeing from a land destroyed by violent extremism from ever finding any safety or sanctuary here in America.
I can no longer remain quiet. I commit to myself and to you, that every day I will do something, at least one thing, to let my voice be heard for freedom, honesty, integrity, health and wellness, and the environment. I will walk, march, write letters, make phone calls, help in schools, help in prisons, help immigrants and refugees, help environmental organizations, help health care organizations. I will do whatever I can think of. I will do something every day. I will allow myself to cry and I will hugs my friends when they need a hug. And I will get back up and do it all over again. Why? Because I believe this is my Dharma.
And I will continue to teach yoga. I will help all of you to look inside and find what values you hold most sacred. I will help you find strength to defend those values. I will help you remain grounded and strong so you can speak out for the things you believe. I will work with you to keep you healthy, and to help you find peace inside. I will work to keep our yoga spaces places of safety, for all of us. I will continue to provide yoga to people who don’t normally have access to yoga. I will hold strongly to the fundamental tenets of yoga: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), bramacharya (respecting and maintaining the body) and aparigraha (non-coveting).
I will continue to use this newsletter to talk about yoga. The former by-line for this blog was “Living Yoga Beyond the Mat” I still seek to do that. Let’s begin with inner peace and seek to make that a reality for everyone. Let’s stand up for the environment and for one another. Let’s be kind, honest, only take what we need, treat our bodies and our souls well, and let us not wish for or take that which does not belong to us.