Starting the conversation …

conversation of love

Drawing by Kortnee Moreland.

I’ve been struggling to get my thoughts together. And make sense of my words. I feel hopeless, sad, angry, my heart hurts …
Last week I was in my regular Wednesday morning yoga class where I get to be a student.
As class started my teacher mentioned the recent ugly, violent events taking place in our world. She talked about how many of us feel at a loss of what we can do.
It was the first time I had cried over the the night club shootings at an Orlando night club, two black men who were shot by police, one in Minnesota and the other in Louisiana, and the sniper Dallas police shootings. (It’s scary how many more ugly, violent things have happened since last Wednesday.)
Class was physically challenging. But in the challenging poses we were encouraged to look and find comfort. The practice was not about getting into the pose but about being in the pose.
With all the ugliness lately, which includes hate speech, I feel like I am losing hope.
But like my readers, who are also likely wondering, as a good, kind, open-minded, loving, caring person I want to know, what can I do?
Like, my yoga teacher said, we need to start and continue the conversation.
… So this is me, trying to start the conversation.
The big question is, how do we start and keep the conversation going?
I strive to be a good and kind person. I try to be open-minded and warm. I try to listen and be understanding. I practice patience.
I’m not perfect. None of us are.
We all grew up differently. We have different experiences to grow from and share. We need to strive to understand our differences, embrace them and celebrate them.
It breaks my heart to know some parents have to sit their young black sons down and have the talk.
From an article in Time, “If you are stopped by a cop, do what he says, even if he’s harassing you, even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Let him arrest you, memorize his badge number, and call me as soon as you get to the precinct. Keep your hands where he can see them. Do not reach for your wallet. Do not grab your phone. Do not raise your voice. Do not talk back. Do you understand me?”
The lede of the article states: “Certain events have a way of changing everything, reorganizing life into an unforgettable before and after.” That means something to us today.
And it meant something three years ago. This article was written three years ago. THREE years ago tragic events were happening and we were trying to make sense of it. And today we are still trying to make sense of this irrational violence yet again and again and again …
We are all ignorant. We need to talk, learn, listen, read, understand …
We must be held accountable. All actions–good and bad–have consequences.
Before you say something ugly, first think about it. Is this OK? How would I feel if someone said that to me?
If someone says something ugly, how do you normally react? I know how I usually react.
Maybe instead of your usual reaction you make it a conversation. How did you come to that conclusion? What do you feel that way? Why did you say that? And maybe you let them know that what they said was hurtful.
I love being a yoga teacher and sharing my knowledge with my students. I love helping them find their comfort and challenges while supporting them.
And I feel honored to be there for them when they need someone to talk to, someone to listen, someone to give them a hug.
I love that my students come to yoga for many different things.
Some come for the physical practice, some come for class with me, some come for my various themes, some come to heal physically, some come to heal emotionally, some come for the community, some come for the love, some come for the acceptance …
I feel like a lot of my kindness comes from patience.
When there is a congestion yet again on the 217 … when someone parks their cart in the middle of the aisle at the grocery and wanders away … when kids are screaming at a restaurant … when the line is long in the refreshment line at the movies …
When I am in every day situations like those mentioned above and many more I could easily get frustrated, upset, angry. But instead I take a moment and breathe. I call it practicing yoga off the mat. I remind myself that it is not that big of a deal.
In most situations we can do this, take a moment, full deep inhales, long release of the exhales.
You can always come back to the breath.
Be kind to one another. Show your heart, your love.
Violence brings on violence. Love trumps hate. Peace over war.
And we keep having the conversations. Talk, listen, understand.
… Let’s continue this conversation …