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These past few weeks since the election have brought up a groundswell of intense emotion that is valid and valuable, provided we can use it well. The world is difficult and seems likely to get more challenging, but I believe we are rising to the task. I’ve been pondering this week: how can we plan to persist? How can we make sure we take all this anger, fury and rage and channel it skillfully and sustainably?
When I first started practicing yoga, I came to class and thought, “Wow! That was amazing! I can see how this would be a really useful thing for me to keep doing.” And then, life happened, and I didn’t come back to class for a long while. This cycle repeated itself many times over my first couple of years of practice. What changed so that I ended up here, 11 years later as a yoga teacher?
Eventually I met a teacher who I really admired. I resonated deeply with the way she taught. I wanted to show up for her. I needed some kind of external accountability to make sure that I got my butt to the studio every week, and having a teacher did that for me.
My need for external accountability is not unique. Many of us struggle to put our energy towards causes we care about in a sustained and concrete way without some kind of external obligation.
Social researcher Gretchen Rubin describes a woman who bemoans the fact that was once a star runner on the track team, but now can barely muster the motivation to lace on her running shoes. What’s the difference? When she had to show up for her coach and her team, she was able to, but when the only obligation is to herself, she struggles.
If this feels familiar to you, don’t beat yourself up about it. See this tendency for what it is and then find ways to work to succeed within it. This week in class we discussed ways that each of us are committing to show up for social justice in our lives and our communities. Joining an organization, volunteering to make calls or knock doors, raising money, doing childcare, cooking meals; all of these can be useful ways to contribute.
What will you commit to? How will you make sure you’re held accountable? What are the systems we need to put in place personally and communally, in order to take action now and keep taking action in the long term? How can we plan to persist?
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