“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.” – Winston Churchill
Boy this week has been a tough week to practice what we preach. The unexpected presidential win of Donald Trump threw me for a loop. I was stunned by the outcome.
I like to think of myself as an enlightened sort. Adjectives I use to describe myself include:
I was viscerally furious about the win. How could anyone vote a man so clearly unfit (and apparently racist and sexist) into the Oval Office? For any reason?
So I liked every Nazi/Trump post I saw on social media and considered unfriending anyone I knew who voted for Trump – even though they have an absolute right to vote in line with their beliefs.
And I think that has been the hardest part of all of this. Because of this experience, I actually adopted behaviors that I usually find distasteful.
Now maybe this is just evidence of my grief at the election outcome. But that still doesn’t excuse my quick adoption of hateful tactics.
And based on my Facebook and Twitter feed, I am not alone.
We yogis are mostly a loving sort. We believe the best of people. We see the “glass as half full”, “embrace the road less taken” and “make love not war”. But this week some of us were tested.
And maybe that is the great lesson in all this. It is easy to be peaceful and loving when things are easy. The real test is to be kind and serene when the going gets tough - and all your core beliefs are tested.
The Dalai Lama has been tested repeatedly by many government injustices, but somehow he remains kind and caring to all.
How can we be a source of light when all seems bleak? Buddha says, “Help others. And when you can’t help others, do no harm.”
To that end, I have been working with All 4 Paws Animal Rescue to complete personal reference checks on potential dog adopters. One of my favorite comments from a reference this week was, “Let’s face it – animals are better than most people. People might get on your nerves, but your dog will always be there for you.” (And besides - dogs can’t vote – so they will never disappoint you with their presidential selections.)
One of the dogs that was adopted this week - in a small way because of my reference checks - was Baby Lois (shown below). I can’t tell you how happy that makes me feel!
And I am finding it very helpful to identify things in life for which I am grateful – like my kids, my boyfriend and all my friends.
Finally, I am working to generate the peace that passes all understanding by steadfastly adhering to my breathing and yoga practices - and sharing them with whomever is willing to join me (BTW – in addition to my normal Monday 12:30 PM class I am teaching at the Airport YMCA this Saturday at 11:45 AM and on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday at 8:00 AM).
Poet Rumi wrote, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
How will you let light into the wounds this election has caused?