We now have a pretty solid deadline for turning things around on climate change… and we’ve passed it. Private corporations are making millions, as immigrant children are dying in US detention centers and we warehouse a third of African American men in prisons. The states have begun unilaterally striking down essential rights and freedoms. We have a president that lies, whines and rants and despite it all, may still win re-election.
The problems feel insurmountable—but we MUST face them. We must not look away.
I have always felt compelled to respond to the crises of the day, to do something with my life that made a difference on a broader scale. Even as a little child, I had a keen sense of injustice and wanted to fight to right the wrongs I could see all around me. I wore a button that said “Be Nice To Each Other.” I thought that would be a start. As an adult, I made a pretty good run as a professional organizer and policy advocate, working at many levels to secure basic health care for low income women, adequate and equitable public school funding, worker protections, environmental protections, voter protections, safe schools, streets and homes.
I gotta admit sometimes I feel a little conflicted about not doing more now, about my turn to the “Be” category of activism, while there is so much still to Block and Build (see Block Build and Be). But, “Be” it shall be! BeCause it is necessary. And BeCause it is intimately connected to the Building and Blocking. As Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” And, as the estimable Mavis Staples said, “who’s gonna do it if I don’t do it?”
Yoga has become pretty comfortably nestled in within the lucrative (for some) markets of Fitness, Wellness, and Self Care. And that is fine, depending on how you want to define being well, and being a self. I believe — and the teachings of yoga (as well as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam) affirm — that we must be well within communities; that we can only be well within communities that are well; and that we are indeed, each in some way implicated in the injustices and inequities we see in our communities. That’s what Karma is all about. We have work to do here in this life that is about more than feeling good about our “little s” selves.
Inspiration abounds. Here is one of my godsons, Climate Justice Warrior Zayne Cowie, as featured in The New York Times, doing what he can. And he is 9!
If, for now, you’re keeping your yoga on the mat, that’s a great place to Be! You can always catch me Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, 6 am for Rise Strong, or Tuesday and Thursdays at 9 am for Yoga-ahhh Yin Yoga and fascial release at MBS Yoga.
If you’re interested in learning more about the karma path of yoga, check out my 6-week summer series, Foundations of Yoga: The Karma Yoga Path, which also comes as a 3-month mentorship version in the fall for yoga teachers who want to earn even more Yoga Alliance continuing education credits.
Hope to see you soon — on or off the mat!
Excerpted from my newsletter! See the whole thing here.