January 31, 2017
The policies and executive orders are affecting people I love and care about. They are affecting billions of people I don't even know. Our civil liberties are in the balance with hatred being spewed, scientists being silenced, men and women from Muslim dominate countries being unreasonably denied access to the United States, women's reproductive rights being threatened, immigrants being bullied, healthcare being restricted, LGBT rights being stripped, and on and on. It feels like an unruly child is crashing down everyone's Legos, while trying to convince them its actually good for them and that it will make things better.
Lots to be done
Those of us who voted for Bernie or Hillary all know what I'm talking about. It's gut wrenching and scary. Every day we have to face our children and try and explain the sadness and fear, while still parenting, helping with homework, checking in about screen time, driving to voice lessons, doing laundry, feeding the dog, volunteering at the high school, going to work, and making sure that we continue mailing postcards, calling senators, protesting at the airport, marching in the streets, and most importantly moving through the world with kindness and compassion. We have to teach our children our beliefs about what is ok and what is NOT ok. Even though our President right now does not have the values we have, our values are still valid.
Amidst these difficult times, this weekend I experienced the amazing gift of teaching yoga to a group of 20 students, out in the country in Calistoga at Mayacamas Ranch. We made a group agreement (ok, I might have made it a requirement) that we leave our cell phones out of common space and hold the yoga room, dining room, and other common areas as sacred. It did wonders for everyone's psyches and nervous systems. At meals, people lingered for well over an hour after the meal was finished. Conversations got intense at times, but always with a listening ear and heartfelt interest. Laughter rolled through bellies and in the end, tears streamed down faces because of the openness and support people felt. In the yoga room, no one's phone accidentally rang or buzzed. No one was drawn away from human connection by calls, texts, emails, news, instagram notifications, etc. There was an incredible sense of community experienced by all, which is a pretty special thing.
Kindness is Everything
It is only with love and kindness that hatred will be stopped. It is only with compassion that someone in need will be helped. As hard and as shitty as it gets, kindness still speaks volumes. We must look each other in the eyes and share the common experience of fear, as well as the strength it takes to wake in the morning and begin the day. We must say hello to strangers who look different from us. We must smile and offer help each day while fighting the fight of resistance. Almost everyone on the yoga retreat participated in some sort of protest around Trump's coming into office. Some went to DC, some stayed in the Bay Area, some protested in their local areas. All shared a common experience of feeling unabashed kindness. May that kindness resist the hatred of these new policies. During the retreat, I had a distinct sense of hope about the future. I was reminded of my deep trust of being human and of the ability for humans to take care of each other. I took refuge in the knowledge that kindness, compassion and love ARE EVERYTHING.