Wishing everyone a February filled with Valentine’s Day love all month – love for one another, for our country, for our planet!
During this turbulent political time, cultivating love may be more challenging than before, or you may be finding the opposite – that the more some (those who will not be named here) espouse hate and separatism, the more you are seeking and finding love and harmony. For me, joining with others in peaceful protest and community organizing (as well as teaching and taking movement and spiritual classes), makes me feel more connected to others and more positive about the future. Even though I highly value solitude and my peaceful walks in Central Park, sharing my feelings with others has been an important tool for support. After just two weeks of a new “presidency”, most of the people I know (including myself) are aghast, petrified, depressed, anxious, embarrassed for our country, fearful for our democracy, and desperately wishing that we are going to wake up from this horrible situation to find that it was all a nightmare in our dreams.
So how do we deal with this unique time in our history? How do we stay involved but also protect and nourish ourselves, our health and sanity in the process? How do we not burn out? To be honest, a part of me since the inauguration, is already feeling exhausted and burnt out. In part, because I was already doing so much organizing and environmental protesting during the last 10 years, and I felt like we had made progress. Then the election happened, and it feels like there will be a huge concrete wall (no pun intended) blocking any more progress. I know we are currently facing enormous obstacles towards making progress on not just environmental issues, but every issue I care about from human rights, rights to a living wage, money out of politics, animal welfare, education, gun control, free internet, voting rights, separation of church and state, ending gerrymandering, income inequality, corruption, corporate greed, government transparency, criminal justice, the Supreme Court, and the list goes on and on. It honestly feels overwhelming and we are just two weeks in.
During this time of transition, I have felt so much compassion for those who have lived or are currently living under even more challenging political situations. For my generation of Americans who have not been overseas fighting in the Irag or Afghanistan wars, we have not had the experience of living in such uncertain and stressful times – unlike our recent ancestors who experienced the World Wars and the turbulence of the 60s. If we were born here, we have not lived under dictatorships, strong men or military regimes. We have not experienced life under a repressive system, such as North Korea’s. We have not lived through coup d’etats. I cannot even imagine the stress and fear that citizens under those types of political situations must suffer. I know that those of us fearful of losing our democratic system here in the US are seeing warning signs under this new administration, and we feel that we are literally fighting for our country, and more globally for the environmental health of the planet and the prevention of nuclear war. And that feels heavy, depressing, and infuriating – especially given that we are such a technologically advanced society and yet, in the year 2017 that we are still having to fight against greed, hate, power-mongering, and short-sighted visions. All the qualities specifically listed in the ancient yoga sutras’ yamas.
So these are the thoughts and feelings I have been experiencing the last two weeks. I hope you will appreciate my honesty and my openness about my inner struggles at this time. What are some of the things that have lifted me from my despair? Joining with others in solidarity, humor (thankfully, we have so many genius comedians/ennes), movement (from yoga, dance, qigong, running/walking in the park), being with open young children who are still not yet conditioned by society, petting a dog, listening to beautiful classical music, attending the theater, gentle bodywork, aromatherapy, and yes, probably having a little more wine, chips, and dark chocolate these days. But maybe most importantly, is having the belief that this is a historic international moment and movement that perhaps needed to occur to truly awaken us. That not only are we witnessing history, we are also co-creating it. And in that, we have power. How will we each co-create our present and our future is individualized. But my intention is to not be an angry activist, even though I do have a lot of anger at the situation and injustices I observe. But if I can channel that anger and that despair into fighting for what I believe in with positivity and good energy, I think that will ultimately be more helpful for myself and for others.
Towards those goals, I hope to, in addition to continuing to march and engage in community work, create and host vision board and manifestation circles. Please email me back if you are interested in this as well, and we can organize one hopefully soon. This would be a group of us creating visual representations of how we each envision a positive future. I believe it would be a very powerful and uplifting event.