For the most part, I’ve been quite silent, not only on social media, but also in conversations, regarding our political and cultural climate over the past six months. These days, it seems anything you say leaves you vulnerable to a slew of attacks and judgment from either or both sides. You’re either praised by those who agree with you or condemned by those who don’t. It’s a cantankerous environment and I refuse to add any energy to the vitriol and persistent back and forth. I am doing my best to stand firmly in my truth and power the best way I know how. Thus, I’ve limited my conversations to a very select few about the landscape in which our country, and the world, currently finds itself.
But I’m struggling. Not with what our new president is or isn’t doing or the appointments he’s making or the policies he’s shifting with a mere movement of the pen. For the most part, as atrocious as some of it may be, he seems to be acting out of free will and there’s little I can do to immediately affect those decisions. What I’m struggling with is my part in our current situation. Both the problem and the solution.
I am trying to take the most enlightened approach I possibly can and find what course of action feels right for me. This meant not gathering and protesting because everyone else did. For some reason, I did not feel called to march last weekend. This is not to say I’m above standing with my fellow sisters (and brothers) or participating in other activist endeavors. Nor do I disagree with what they stand for. I applaud the intention and the will to make it happen. I’m processing injustice and possible devastation to our rights and freedoms in my own time. But do not mistake my silence for acceptance. What felt right for me was to join a satsang and kirtan session to chant and pray.
I can feel disapproval already. That’s nice Jennifer. You sit and pray for things to shift while others are taking a stand and making their voice heard to activate the tides of change. But for me, praying is not passive resignation to what is. I don’t pray aimlessly hoping it will have some effect on the world. I know, and science proves, that when I shift my vibration, especially in a group of people that are doing the same, with a collective intention, we move the needle in a significant way. Cultivating change in this way felt much less reactionary. No matter how just and right you think your acts are, if they are born of anger and hatred for another human being or idea, that contempt, whether transparent or underlying, is felt and will only add fuel to an already blazing fire.
When Marianne Williamson quoted the Dalai Lama in her recent A Course In Miracles talk, every fiber of my being resonated with her words. “In order to change the world we must have a plan. But no plan will work unless we meditate.” As she later said it is not an either/or proposition. For real change it must be an and/also scenario. After listening to her inspiring and moving talk, my nightly bath was fraught with questions and contemplation.
How do I want to show up in all of this? What does my work look like as a result?
Much like our nation, I myself am going through a big transition. I’ve moved back to Los Angeles without full time work and my savings are dwindling. While I’ve contemplated and even taken preliminary steps to just “find a job,” at the end of the day, I am never very motivated by simply making money. Now more than ever, I feel like every job I consider, every word out of my mouth needs to be examined. Over and over again – What is my part?
And thus, in the tub, I arrived at my current struggle. Is my playlist for a new class really that important? Or the size of my ass? Or yours for that matter? Can I really get up and pretend that a 45 minute cardio session for people that are fortunate enough to be able to shell out up to $40 for a boutique studio class is really imperative to the betterment of our community? Or conversely, pretend that yoga is simply another means for physical enhancement and flexibility when the main reason I practice is to find communion with the deepest and truest part of myself and a universal consciousness? Again and again – HOW DO I SHOW UP in a time that is most crucial? Not just for a protest or a kirtan or a special event – but every damn day?
Can I still do what I’m doing and just shift my perspective? Like Ghandi said, can I simply be the change? Change the conversation. And make every interaction an act of peace and justice by treating others with the respect and kindness that we all deserve? Even, as impossible as it may seem, our President and those he has appointed to support him?
Can the fitness class become the realm for spiritual work and can my mat become a place where I play? Is this even a time for play? Over the weekend of the inauguration and march, I felt guilty for feeling happy and light and free. Is that wrong? Or is my lightness and joy something that is needed? Is it okay to provide a distraction for a while with some kickin’ tunes and a jab – hook combo to a punching bag? What kind of classes are really important right now? I don’t know the answers and as the week went on, my light mood of the weekend turned more melancholy and heavy. Like I said, I’m struggling.
We are all being challenged right now in some way. To grow. To learn. To shift. To expand our capacity for tolerance, love, and spaciousness. For many of us, this is unchartered territory. If we haven’t already, we will all make missteps and likely say and do things we know aren’t helpful or kind. The biggest mistake, however, is simply to point a finger and ignore the deep personal work we are all being called to do. Now more than ever, all of us – not just the yogi and the philosopher and the thought leader – need to be spiritual beings. For true change and resurrection to occur, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: We must have a quantitative shift in our circumstances as well as a qualitative shift in our souls. How well are we doing both?