Do You Still Believe In One Another?
This morning I went to yoga. It wasn’t pretty. It was sloppy and messy and I was behind or I was in child’s pose, panting on my mat. Sweat was pouring into my eyes, stinging and blinding, dripping onto my mat. As I flailed and wobbled while trying to cling to the pose, I thought, “Such is life.” Messy. Uncomfortable. It doesn’t go as planned. It’s harder than we anticipate and that often surprises us because it wasn’t as difficult the last time we showed up. But, here we are. An entire class, day, relationship, situation stretching before us to be endured, worked through, to be present for. In yoga class, even when it’s not going as I’d hoped or aspired for (channeling my inner Rodney Yee) I’m still getting something out of it. Another parallel to life. Some lesson is unfolding while I’m writhing, breathing. This morning, the yoga instructor talked about how she grew into a “tough cookie” as her dad called her - - no doubt making him proud. She talked about how she had learned to put on protective armor to show she was strong, to not share her feelings. And I found myself thinking how no one taught me that behavior, but I learned it in a defensive move. Don’t get too close. Don’t let me down. I learned this behavior from fear.
And then I began thinking about how many people learn many things from fear. Not all of which are bad. A healthy dose of fear has kept the human race around. But sometimes, fear is a liar. False Evidence Appearing Real. Fuck Everything And Run.
So then I began thinking about Nazi’s and white supremacists and taking a guess at what they learned and just what it is that they’re afraid of. Before anyone thinks I am a Nazi/white supremacist sympathizer, let me dispel that notion. Frankly, I cannot believe the news these days. News of torch bearing white supremacists marching. The week began with fatal violence in Virginia, a 32-year old dying amid a clash between white supremacists and counter-protestors. Yesterday, the week ended with tens of thousands of demonstrators marching in Boston to denounce racism, white supremacy and Nazism. I wasn’t in attendance. I don’t have a good reason to offer up as to why. I am aware and recognize that what's happening is wrong. It troubles me deeply - - last night was the first night of good sleep I've had this week. I've been feeling powerless in the face of overwhelming negativity and ignorance. Others dismiss what's occurring as if it isn't really happening or they downplay it. I recently read a post on Facebook and thought about responding, but I didn’t. Instead I thought, “You’re just ignorant.” This type of thinking and failure to have open discussions, suspending judgment, has led to the current state of affairs.
Imagine if everyone was willing to vulnerable and speak their truth and listen to other people being vulnerable and speaking their truth? If people showed up and acknowledged their fears, however irrational and misplaced they may be? Imagine speaking them aloud? Naming them? And then be willing to allow another person to talk to them, rationally, without judgement, to introduce facts into the conversation. Sure. It would be sloppy and messy at first. But maybe, it lurches one small step further and we get to know someone different than we are. Someone straight or gay. Someone black or white or Latino. Someone Catholic or Jewish. And maybe, just maybe, they would realize that that person wasn’t all that different than they are after all. I realize I’m oversimplifying but it’s a start.
“Oh brother, I will hear you call! What if I lose it all? Oh sister, I will help you hang on!...Hey brother! Do you still believe in one another? Hey sister! Do you still believe in love? I wonder?” – Avicii