Our relationships often mirror each other. Our relationship with food reflects our relationship with money reflects our relationships with people, and so on. That said, how we choose to relate politically matters.
How we relate to the world politically might reflect how we relate to others intimately. It might reflect how we relate to ourselves. In my experience, rather than “might,” it does.
Recovery is a way of life – a way of life based on love. So is yoga. The basic tenet of my yoga practice is “Ahimsa,” or “non-harm.” I believe these principles can expand from the personal to the political. I believe they can have a healing effect on the greater good.
Right now, I’m embarking on a yoga-teacher-training and familiarizing myself with the ethical tenets of yoga. In addition to “ahimsa,” one of them is saucha, which translates to “cleanliness” or “purity.”
In my practice of saucha, I am cleaning out my bedroom – letting go of all I no longer need, all that no longer serves me; all that no longer resonates with who I am today. That includes old Broadway posters – perfectly good, framed Broadway posters – even autographed posters. They simply do not resonate with my current, higher purpose, and by holding onto them, I am clogging my energy field and selfishly keeping a resource from somebody else.
However, I am not purging mindlessly. I am writing thank-you notes to long-time objects, such as my old “Lululemon” dance bag that carried me through my days at Art School and once pulled me down a stone stair-case in somersault fashion. I am also examining each item carefully, asking it to give me anything else it may have to offer.
I’m doing this with books.
I have shelves of books.
Some I’ve read, some I’ve not.
Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury is one of these books.
It chronicles the first hundred days of the current American presidency.
I’ve avoided it for several reasons.
The title alone jars me.
Pretty charged, right?
I want to release this book from my shelf, but I want to give it a peek first. I want to see what it can teach me, if anything. And I want to view its content through the lens of love. If anything, reading this book is an opportunity for me to engage with my political beliefs.
In this politically charged time, I often feel I lack political beliefs of my own. At least, I lack clarity as to what those beliefs are. Particularly due to social media, I am bombarded with noise, screaming, shouting, yelling, fighting, arguing – you name it. Who do I listen to? What do I believe?
In this politically charged time, I feel I lack beliefs of my own. Or rather, I lack consciousness of what my political beliefs are.
Like any self-discovery practice, I must go within to find out, and I must conduct my search based on my values. My recovery is based on love and acceptance, and I want to practice these principles in all my affairs. That includes politics.
We all know the saying, “Knowledge is power.”
I believe that understanding is power.
Understanding is power.
As I said above, I’m in the midst of a yoga-teacher training, and it is with mindfulness that I do so. I am aware of how easy it is to appropriate culture and to adopt beliefs we don’t truly understand. I simply want to vocalize this. Having said that, I’ll introduce the word “namaste,” the word uttered at the end of every yoga practice. It means, “The light in me honors the light in you.”
Can we do that politically?
Can we do that with people in office? With people of different backgrounds? With people who challenge us, trigger us, or enrage us?
Based on the Fire and Fury, it seems to me that our leader is very sick. And as the saying goes, hurt people hurt people. But he’s not the only one. It seems to me that our entire country is sick. It seems we’re in the midst of a cultural disease.
Addictions are family diseases.
So are racism and white supremacy.
So is all social prejudice.
These are family diseases on a grander scale.
Addictions are family diseases. So are social biases.
They are cultural diseases.
They are diseases that manifest on micro and macro levels which I believe we each have a role in.
But we can examine our role in them lovingly.
And we can call people in to conversation, rather than placing blame.
Think about family systems. Anyone with a family knows that we can love someone while detesting their behavior. Can we do that with politicians we perceive as flawed? After all, as human beings, we are all siblings.
I believe in talking to one another and reasoning things out, but in doing so without gossip or criticism.
I also believe in making amends with people we have harmed or been harmed by.
I believe in forgiveness; the flip-side is toxic.
I say this not from pride, but from experience. Whenever I operate from anger, rage, resentment, or self-pity, I feel sick and depleted.
Understanding is power.
Hate is so toxic to the people who harbor it.
It is more toxic to the hater than it is to the hated.
What if we put our energy somewhere else?
I think anger and hatred contain useful information.
They reveal to each individual what their values are; what burns them up inside. But when clung to, these emotions cause harm.
The only way we can grow, heal, and come together is by listening and understanding. We need to love each other unconditionally, rather than isolating in our pride.
What if we tuned in to our anger and hate, identified the target, and then directed our energy towards manifesting its opposite?
What if we remembered that we are all human? All equals?
What if we cultivated “saucha” in our thoughts and attitudes?
What if we all detoxed from judgment and practiced unconditional love?
We can, if we choose.
In closing, I would like to say that the opinions expressed here are entirely my own and have been written from love. I write to share them, not impose them. If something here resonated with you, I invite you to share it, as Recovery is for all.