It’s not because I don’t believe in the power of an individual to change the world. It’s because I believe SO DEEPLY in the power of an individual to change the world, that I chose to harness that power on my mat.
I went because I wanted to fill my neighborhood and state and country with deep breaths and peaceful action.
Because I wanted to slow down and be deliberate.
Because my state and my country need people who are capable of strength AND flexibility.
Because we are all deeply, irrevocably connected, and any peacemaking I do on the mat inevitably radiates out into the community.
Because “paying attention makes room for forgiveness, generosity, and deep trust” (Michael Stone) and I thought those might be running low during that time.
Because those standing in long lines in the cold and lining up to be heard need someone who will support them and listen to them, who will make space for their voice.
Because I don’t yet feel decided on one candidate over the other.
Because caucusing for the other party to sway the vote (which crossed my mind…), and being in a room full of #Drumpf supporters would have made me just as sweaty as class and this way I was dressed for it. (Though it turns out I didn’t have to worry about the Minnesotan Republicans!)
Because I strive to follow Buddha’s injunction to “make your mind into a love so big it resembles space,” and last night was a great chance to put that to the test.
Because dualism is a tempting illusion.
Because this – personal practice and micro-transformation – is the scale of change I am called to.
Because the practice of yoga is about a lot more than contorting your body into certain poses, and the philosophy of yoga, the values and restraints (the yamas and niyamas), are powerful tools for shaping the world.
Because everyone is welcome in the same room – no need to sign a piece of paper saying you agree to certain principles over others.
Because nobody describes yoga as the lesser of two evils.
Because I am building my capacity to accept the world just as it is, in the present moment, without needing it to be just as I think I want it.
Because we’ve collectively forgotten how to balance, and so I’m trying to relearn.
Because my mat is where I learn to integrate the seemingly opposite impulses of effort and surrender.
Because, throughout history, vigils have been held by spiritually committed people during important days to mark the occasion and support those in difficult times.
Because awareness changes everything.
Because pain that is not transformed is transmitted.
Because yoga consistently invites me to transform my pain, and that of the world, through awareness.
Because I wanted to take quiet, bold action during a time of noisy, empty rhetoric.
Because yoga helps me love people I think I don’t like.
Because yoga is as democratic as it gets.
You can yell at me about my civic duty all you want, but I was doing it. I was engaged on behalf of my community. I was using my time to cast my vote for the kind of world I want to live in. I was making a difference in the course of history, one breath at a time, one moment at a time.
If you’d like to get worked up because my path isn’t your path, I understand. You can go right ahead. I don’t blame you – it’s what’s modeled for us by politicians every day. Meanwhile, I’ll be the one taking deep breaths in the corner. I’ll even send you some.
I’ll see you at the precinct on November 8th, and on the mat until then.