I am sure many of you, like me, are struggling to comprehend the gun violence that has occurred in our country over the last 7 days.
Aug. 4, 2019: Dayton, 9 dead
Aug. 3, 2019: El Paso, 20 dead
July 28, 2019: Gilroy, 4 dead
When I struggle, I must look inward and ask how do I personally contribute to the suffering of the world? I seek refuge in the teachings of yoga as instructions and stepping stones to make sense and take right action. In Sanskrit, the word ahimsa means non-violence, non-harm. Ahimsa implies that in every situation we should adopt a considerate attitude and do no harm. Not only to others but to ourselves; often most importantly to ourselves.
1. What unkind messages do I tell myself each day?
2. Do my words or actions create more harm than good?
3. When did my words or actions create harm most recently? Did I take responsibility?
4. What is out of balance when I commit harmful behaviors or thoughts?
5. Do I participate in practices or habits each day that create more balance, harmony, and peace within myself?
6. Do I love and care for my body, mind, and spirit?
7. Am I able to manage my emotions skillfully and compassionately?
8. Do I consume books, movies, social media that enhances agitation, frustration, or stress of comparison/lack/not being enough?
9. Am I kind to myself and others?
10. Is my mind, body, and heart filled with love or fear?
We cannot be or give what we don't have or actually believe. How we show up in the world is a direct reflection of how we feel inside. Chaos inside, chaos outside. Knowing this makes it easier to find compassion with those who struggle without tools to heal their own traumas that result in residual, festering, and often times growing negative feelings, thoughts, and actions. And yet I know it's difficult to hod compassion for a mass shooter whose only intent is to destroy and shatter as many lives as possible.
So what do we do? Take personal responsibility for our part in breaking the cycle of anger, fear, separation. We must do our practices. We must show up.
Excuses create ZERO results except to make the current situation worse. Freedom comes from accepting full responsibility for our individual lives; releasing the grip of blame, finger pointing, anger, and on and on.
If we wait til we are fully healed and liberated from any pain, we will never act. Why? Because our personal work is ongoing; never-ending. So know that as you work on you, you also have a responsibility of one who knows better to do your part to be part of the solution. It's an inconvenient truth.
Meditation is good. Yoga is good. Journaling is good. Sleeping and eating well are good. AND you are being asked to grow for more! For your family, community, country and world. If you give up, think of how many others who lack the tools that you have will respond. Yep, they won't. Perhaps with platitudes, but not necessary action.
Complex and simple. Do your work. Heal yourself. And in the process take action to make our world safer, more compassionate, and a place your want your children &/or loved ones to grow and thrive. This isn't a problem that happens "Over There". It's here. It's our problem. We must own it and solve it. Excuses sit down, solutions rise up!
Yours in peace & action,
Dana & Team
PS: On a super positive note, I cannot wait to be back in Grand Rapids this week Down On The Farm with Kids' Food Basket. This will definitely help you remember there is still good in the world. Let's come together to feel better and DO good. If you haven't registered be sure to secure your spot because it's required for participation.