Although my writings primarily focus on the anatomy of yoga, my passion is above all, yoga, and all that it represents. Yoga encompasses many things beyond the postures, as you probably know, and as such, can be a system that we can leverage to give us support when times are hard.
For anyone living in today’s world this week, for certain we can agree that times are hard. The news from Orlando FL starting on Friday night with the murder of singer Christina Grimmie, continuing the next night with the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in the same town and then yesterday, when we woke up we heard the tragic news of a little boy, Lane Graves, who died in an accident at Disney where he was pulled into the water by an alligator while wading along the shores of a lagoon inside the resort. As I write the words, my heart is just filled with sadness and a hopelessness that I haven’t felt since the shooting at Sandy Hook. And none of that even covers the ongoing political battle happening here in the United States and how the current state of our political process seems to be tearing us apart.
In times like these, I turn to some of my most trusted books and sources for support. Today I pulled out Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and pulled open its tattered, well-worn and weathered pages to find one of the many sections I had highlighted. I just pulled the first one I came to and this is what it says:
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment- or unlearning- of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts.”
Some might say that these words are for Pollyannas and those that walk around the world wearing rose colored glasses but in my mind, it’s in times like these that we need to look to whatever gives us comfort. No one can prepare for the kinds of tragedies we are seeing happening around the world. We need to look to our faith, whatever that might be, our practice, be that meditation or yoga, or even something as simple as spending time in nature, as a way to build our reserves so we can stay strong.
Living in fear has become more and more our reality as we wonder if the tragedies that have struck others may strike us too. We talk about living our lives without making changes as a way to show that we are not afraid. But it can be helpful to acknowledge that we are afraid and in that acknowledgement comes an acceptance of things as they are; not forever, but for right now. And in that acceptance we can find some peace so that we can begin to move forward.
For some, moving forward is aided by reaching out to help those in need. Today’s technology and the fact that we’re all connected via the Internet allows us to reach out and contribute to efforts to support those that have been directly effected by these tragedies. Local fundraisers, yoga classes and meet ups that allow people to lean on each other for support can help us get through these challenging times.
Our meditation practice, even if we don’t have a regular practice we commit to, can be a source of strength. It may involve just sitting in silence for a few minutes when we wake up, or taking time, as I mentioned before, to walk outside and just listen. For me, I’ve found that in the past few days, I’ve wanted to spend time with friends and dogs. Yes, dogs. Lots of dogs. I lost my Bailey Rose almost two years ago and I still miss her tremendously. Spending time with dogs I pass on the street gives me a quick boost of joy and love and literally strengthens my heart.
Take time to take care of yourself. If you’re a parent, support your children when they have questions. If you’re a teacher, a yoga teacher or anyone else that supports others, open your heart and just listen. I have many friends that are teaching this week, along with myself and they are all sharing stories of how they’re listening and hugging their students… just being with them in whatever way possible to provide a sense of strength and love, compassion and connection.
May you have peace in your heart and may we all make it through this difficult time.