Life has been so crazy lately. I feel like I’m surfing a huge wave and it’s just starting to crash all around me and I can do nothing but ride it out at full speed with full, uninhibited happiness.
And while I feel like this is just a crazy beginning to an even crazier next chapter, I have to remind myself to stop, breathe, and reflect on what’s going on around me. To begin with, the arrival of summer and the plans that await me just around the corner has totally changed the chemistry of my body. I feel awake and alive at every moment of the day. I feel hopeful about the things I’m putting into action, no matter how big or small, and so much so that I’ve hardly noticed my anxiety trying to dampen my excitement with all the “what ifs” and hesitation. I don’t want to get burnt out too quick with this energy, but I also know that these periods of inspiration and motivation don’t always last so I’m striving to harness it in all the right ways.
And on the note of harnessing strength, just the other day was International Yoga Day (June 21st). And while yes, I celebrated by partaking in an awesome yoga class (thanks Matt!) with two great friends (what a treat!), to me the day was less about the physical practice and more about the foundational idea behind yoga – union.
I haven’t had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the horrible events that took place in Orlando recently, and I’m going to now because it truly hit me all the way to my core. It’s always heart wrenching to hear about any type of crime or act of terror against humanity, especially something to this degree. But what happened in Orlando hurt me so much because I care so deeply about that community. Not just the LGBT community, but the minority communities too, in fact, any community of people who do great things and are remarkable people and still have to face so much strife in their lives for no reason other than being exactly who they are. Security is such an important value to me, in my physical home life as well as my emotional one. I’m fortunate to live in a safe community and have friends and family who facilitate safe relationships where we can all feel free to be ourselves, and support each other for doing so. I want so badly for everyone to have that, first and foremost those who are unjustly discriminated against, and secondly, those who manifest that discrimination so they too can live in harmony with the world.
Which leads me back to the idea of union. In yoga, we unite with our breath, our body, and our mind to ultimate unite with our true nature and the ultimate blissful reality (that is likely not this one). But we should also extend that sense of union with everyone and everything around us. From our neighbors, both locally and abroad, as well as nature and our home planet.
I learned about this South African term recently, “ubuntu.” It roughly translates to human kindness, but expresses more so the idea that the universal bond of sharing connects all humanity. Below are the words of Boyd Varty, who works with wildlife reserves in Africa to restore land, people, and the human spirit. I could not summarize my feelings on the concept of ubuntu, especially in relation to everything else I’ve said so far, any better.
To conclude, I want to send out a little extra love this week to everyone, everywhere. To the victims and their families in Orlando, to people experiencing hate and discrimination in other parts of the world, to those who don't live in harmony with their community and those that do. Everyone is deserving, and one day, maybe everyone will be able to share the love back.
Now, celebrate this otherwise beautiful start to the summer in whatever way sings to your heart. Might I suggest an outdoor yoga session? :)