Take Practice; Be the Change

The morning after election night, I awoke feeling a bit numb from the trauma of watching the map of the nation turn red before my eyes. By the time my head hit the pillow on election day, I was feeling significantly ill (lightheaded and nauseated from the emotional aftermath). Now, it was a new day and I wanted to believe that much of my ill feelings from the previous night were nothing more than a bad dream. Per my usual morning routine, I went to my son’s room to let the dogs outside. To my surprise, my son awoke from his sleep to say good morning. “Who won?” I asked hopefully. He just shook his head and returned to his slumbers.

It was still dark outside. I fed the dogs and returned to the warmth of my bed with my little shot of espresso.  The day before, I’d contemplated taking the day off to observe my would-be 25th wedding anniversary but the culmination of emotions left me feeling like it wouldn’t matter either way. At that moment, nothing much mattered. It hardly seemed right. I was alive, wasn’t I? That was good. Nonetheless, I decided to save the vacation day for a happier time – for I still had hope that happier would come…someday.

I packed up an outfit for work, changed into my yoga apparel, and left for the yoga studio. I was somewhat later than usual but the room was unusually empty. Those who had made it to practice yoga seemed to be moving in slow motion. I rolled out my mat and began to move through my own sun salutations feeling deep down that by doing so I was acknowledging that life would go on.

A short while later, our teacher called us all to stand at the front of our mats for the morning chant. Standing in samasthitihi, I put my hands in prayer in front of my heart, took a big breath in, and began to OM with my fellow ashtangis. My OM however got caught in my throat and exited with more of a stifled cry. Tears began streaming down my cheeks and I soon hear other distressed sounding voices in the room.  The Chant continued; visions of hope for peace on earth and compassion for all floated to the heavens. I remained standing for a moment after the final OM and said another little prayer to the god I’d known growing up.  Then I wiped away my tears, adjusted my ponytail, and returned to my practice.

On this day, the practice felt more important than ever. We cannot afford to crawl under our covers and pretend that everything is paradise. We must be mindful, compassionate, and strong.  Rather than being the affect of the change that we fear, we must *be* the change that we wish to see.

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