I have had difficulty writing blog entries lately as evidenced by the fact I have not written since last year. Between the election, the move, the adjustments to a new circumstance, I haven't had a clear notion of what to put down on paper.
I don’t feel like debating politics at all. I think we have a dangerous situation there— not just #45 but the entire regime he ushered in with him. And I am not that open-minded about it and I have yet to see anything in his actions that have convinced me to change my opinion. I do listen and read— as best as I can, which admittedly is better some days than others— to people who support #45, but I have yet to see the situation differently. I do not think that “giving him a chance” makes any sense. (In fact, he has his chance regardless of how I feel about it, so I don’t understand that line of advice anyway. And, larger forces than my opinion need to work through legal channels for his chance to be over and that will take some time. But I digress.)
I do stay tuned to the ongoing developments in the political arena and I see what could be signs of hope in terms of some dynamic leadership rising up in resistance. And I phone my senators and congress people. I also think Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin is a voice, not only of resistance, but of something that might come close to reconciliation. Her smart, generous, passionate and clear-minded perspectives are good for those interested in educating themselves about how to be an intelligent part of progressive politics right now.
When our current president was elected, we were in the middle of an intensive at The San Marcos School of Yoga. I didn’t know what to say to my students but I did know what we needed to do. Walking into the tearful, scared and angry group of people who were in attendance that week, I offered a short ritual that involved movement, expression, visualization and mantra. Oh, and some fire. And then we did our asana practice—a strong, heart-opening practice to work squarely in the face of apathy and fear.
I am not of the mind that yoga actually makes the world a better place. Nor do I think that just because we practice asana we become better people. I do not think yoga— in and of itself— solves many problems. I think yoga may even make some problems worse. For instance, any of us with OCD tendencies might notice that regular counting-based practices leave us counting more than our breath off the mat. Those of us with eating issues may find ourselves in the grips of yoga-inspired food restrictions ranging from vegetarianism to cleansing protocols to well, you name it. Anyone suffering from body image issues may feel worse at times, not better. More than one narcissist practicing yoga has done more than a little harm to the people in their communities. It can be all too easy for any of us to fall prey to the multi-faceted traps of delusion, illusion, and confusion no matter how sincere our intentions are.
So there is that.
And yet, for me doing my various practices bear fruit. I am not talking about practice as simply going to class where we get caught in the nitty-gritty, in’s and out’s of what is happening in any public studio anywhere— some of which is really great, some of which is not my thing, and some of which is downright troubling. I am talking about studying scripture and grappling with the Teachings. I am talking about praying— out loud, in silence, in groups or alone, in faith or in desperation. I am talking about singing and chanting the Names of God. I am talking about moving with my breath. I am talking about exploring the shapes— again— to see, in some way, what the state of my own union is— again. And again. I am talking about charting the territory from my big toe mounds to my sternum and watching the chains of reactions inside of myself that occur as I invite myself again— and again— to be present to my embodied experience. I am talking about writing in my journal, talking to my therapist, going to church, reading inspirational literature and staying close to those things that nourish and nurture my faith, strengthen my ability to live in accordance with my inner compass, to fight the good fight against despair, cynicism and nihilism and to believe in Love.
Practice is not world peace. Practice will not save the environment or pay for health care. This work may not always pay the bills. And yet, I think that there is no time like the present to dive deep into the life of spiritually-oriented practice because we are living in a time where the very structures of our society are eroding— like free press, public education, environmental regulations, health care, arts and so on— and if we do not have an inner connection and are not practiced in taking that inner journey to the source of our innate wisdom, discernment and vision, we will be at the mercy of the outside forces of destruction. We will be that much more manipulatable, that much more able to turn a blind eye to injustice and that much less willing to rise up, resist and persevere.
There is no magical solution, as I see it. There is simply the next pose.
Again and again.
In other news, I learned to snowboard this year.
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"There is a light that shines beyond all things on Earth, beyond us all, beyond the heaven, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our heart."