Election Day is almost here. People are stressed, anxious, angry, sleepless, and appalled, their future uncertain, our country's ultimate fate unknown. Despite a few decades of diligent work on the mat (winky face emoji of course), I'm not immune. A few weeks ago, I found myself having a very intense conversation with my very Republican neighbor about global warming, LGBTQ rights and border control. Then, the debates happened-wow. My mind has been swimming with apocalyptic "what if" scenarios from the macro to the micro with the pandemic, businesses closing their doors (including many yoga studios), fires in California (and around the country and world), to our local schools staying closed or reopening.
But then, almost to calm myself, I ponder yoga and choice. What is it to have a voice amidst political-induced craziness? To use it to speak in alignment with my deepest held beliefs. And, what is the relationship between my yoga practice and voting?
Does it mean we only vote Democratic? Sometimes it seems that yogis are a bunch of naive hippies who want to end war and give free towels and Luna bars to the poor. Not always. I know quite a few Republicans, who practice yoga regularly. Republicans too enjoy having a clear mind and a healthy body. The underlying teaching, that we are all interconnected, interdependent, from One and returning to One, well, this is the relationship. Republican or Democrat.
That we have a choice at all is possibly an even better place to start. We Americans have the incredible privilege of a voice in our government—a voice that is not a given in other parts of the world. I admit, this is not a flawless system. However, it is a privilege we have in this country that’s been fought for, died over, and only doled out in small bits in other places and governments. We happen to live in a place where our voice is counted.
Sometimes it feels like I’m at the Cheesecake Factory of Life with a menu of too many choices. And, how to begin to make a choice? We make choices in our daily lives, moment by moment, often without even recognizing what a privilege it is. But choice is also a political privilege we have in this country. To maintain a yoga practice is to actively participate in what happens within us and around us. To be actionably mindful of the companies, teachers, and people we support. To choose our language carefully. To check in with our values and beliefs often. To show no tolerance for intolerance. Bottom line to act. To wake up, think clearly and act. In this case, to vote.
Yoga can be quiet, still and reflective. And, also yoga is powerful and full of action. That we can change our internal reactions to the forces outside of us, and also to change the forces outside of us. So important-now, more than ever- to use this hard-won freedom to voice our beliefs, concerns, and hopes on the ballots. And I wouldn’t be doing my part if I didn’t use this platform to remind us all that the equanimity the practice teaches does not mean non-participation at the polls.
This requires active participation of helping re-shape the world-because all of humanity is deeply interconnected- we want to live in, love in, learn in, work in, grow in and share in.
This election, will you pay attention with me?
Will you commit to informing yourself?
Will you commit to voting?
Will you mobilize those around you to participate as well?
Write me back and let me know what you are willing to commit to,