I watched a little of the testimony by Jeff Sessions today. I’m not feeling so well and my body decided to force a day of rest on me. I could care less about politics but what I saw today left me feeling somewhat hopeful. As I watched Mr Sessions today I found a role model that has been missing from the world for quite a while. His eyes were warm and not filled with contempt. His voice was soft and respectful, a kindness in his tone I don’t hear very often, including in my own voice. He is a modern day super hero as far as I am concerned because I just don’t see that calm, respectful interaction between people anymore. It is something I long for but try as I may, I have been unsuccessful so far. I hope someday I can speak to others especially when I feel threatened the way I saw him do today. I just thought I’d point it out. I am reminded of the words I wrote in my daughters yearbook earlier this year. Just be you. The world will adjust. We need more people who change the world and less people so easily changed by it.
It was just an ordinary day as I walked through the front door of the yoga studio. From the first moment I spent time in that sacred space, I knew it was special. To be honest, I’ve tried yoga at other places. It’s never been quite the same. What is it about that place that makes me feel so at peace, so at home? Sometimes I forget who I am. My true essence is buried someplace underneath the words people use to describe me. Why did I start to believe them? I am not those words. Maybe to some degree they fit my behavior but I am so much more. More than they see, more than I show. I do it too and I never realized how destructive it was until today. We use adjectives to describe people. We don’t think twice to label them or share our opinion of who we think they are. I realized how much damage some of my own words must have caused, especially for some of the people I love the most. I am supposed to love them and protect them but somewhere along the way I’ve forgotten what my real purpose is in their lives. It’s not to judge or define them. It is to love and accept them exactly the way they are. Why is that so difficult? With each tick of the clock I feel more ashamed. Try as I may, I can’t shake this sadness that overwhelms me. Why do I have this need to define people, label them, assign names to them? You are a disgrace. You are lazy. You are selfish. You are annoying. Oh my God! As I type the words my stomach hurts. I am no better than the people I call out. Why is it not okay for them but fine for me?
Then I got it today, why that studio feels so much like home. There are baskets by the door. Everyone undresses and leaves their shoes and socks and sweatshirts in them. We quietly peel off the labels and place them neatly in the drawers. We leave behind judgement and pride next to our keys. We are all vulnerable there. We are brave. We leave everything outside as we step into that dark room and close the door behind us. I am free. I can breath and the world is lifted off my shoulders. I smile as I lie down on my back. I think to myself, I am so happy to be here today. And then it dawns on me. No one is there to judge or define me and I am not there to do it either. For the next 60 minutes, I feel loved and important and worthy. I feel the weight of my body on my mat grounded into this precious earth. I feel the enormous power of my heart as I feel it beat inside of me. I am love. I am here to love. I have found myself again. This is me peeking out from behind the walls I put up to protect myself. This is me safe from the words people use to define me. I am safe here in my own body, connected to my soul and all I feel is love…
Because I am love.
Sometimes I just forget…
And I’m here to remind you that you are that same love too.
In a world where the negative seems to be winning out, I offer this story of hope. My daughter is 17 years old. Every night her friend group debates a topic in a closed group. They are very diverse in their thinking and each of them has very strong opinions. She allowed me to sit in on their group. I was absolutely amazed at how respectful these kids were toward one another. They were allowed a safe place to express their beliefs without being bullied or ridiculed. Tomorrow I am hosting their “Squidsgiving”. They call themselves group squid and tomorrow, although they are very different, they will sit at the table to share a nice dinner and break bread together. I could not be more proud or grateful that these are the kids my daughter shares her deepest thoughts and most special moments with. They are an example to all of us. They are the hope we so desperately need.
I watch people talk until they are blue in the face to try and change someone’s mind. I see it on Facebook with hundreds of exchanges between people where it is clearly obvious no one is really listening to the other but instead only trying to defend his or her point of view. Why do we do that? Why do we waste precious time and words on something that is never going to make a difference? Sometimes it’s necessary to agree to disagree and just move on. Why this need to feel we are right and have to prove it? Do we ever stop and consider that with some things there is no right or wrong and just a difference of opinion? Take a deep breath, be respectful and move on. Make peace not war. We have enough of that already.
If I had a dollar for everytime I had to do something I didn’t want to do, I would be a millionaire. With parenting comes many responsibilities that take many hours of long work. Sometimes trying to get my kids to do anything is like running head first into a brick wall after already breaking my own neck. Why does it have to be this difficult? Kids question everything these days and they challenge their parents every chance they get. I’ve recognized that it’s just impossible to be their friend and their mother as we all suffer our way through these tumultuous teenage years.
If I’m being completely honest, I must admit that I am, for the most part to blame. They wear me down and I just don’t have the energy or motivation to stay on top of them the way I know I should. I wouldn’t dare disrespect my mother. If she told me to get something done, like it or not, I would get it done. My kids believe they can pick and choose what to do and when to do it because their own needs and rights trump the rights of their parents. The world is out of control and my kids are spiraling right along with it. The selfishness, disrespect for others and lack of concern for anyone but themselves leaves me feeling like I have failed as a parent. I try my best to be an example but I cannot force them or anyone else to follow it. Some days are just so much harder than others and some days I let things get to me more than I should. I guess today is one of those days.
To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater. Bono
I gave some more thought to all these latest episodes of senseless violence. I listen to debate over debate about whether stricter gun laws or taking guns away altogether is a logical answer. I think there are many factors coming into play that most people don’t even consider. Despite how people might respond, I feel the need to offer my two cents. By all means, my words are not right or wrong, they are only my personal opinion. Do I think guns are a problem? You bet I do but guns cannot kill without someone pulling the trigger. We cannot deny that people are the biggest problem. I believe you could take away every single gun but as long as there is still a lack of respect among people, this world will remain unchanged. It physically pains me that someone’s beliefs or opinions hold more value than another human life. How can people kill others just because they think a different way or live a different way? I will tell you how. People have become consumed with themselves. They are selfish and entitled to do whatever they want, even if that means taking another life. The worst part of all is there is no remorse. We have desensitized people to the value of life and the significance of how each and every person contributes in his or her way. We are made to be different and choose a lifestyle that comfortably fits. We all matter but we live in a world of contradictions. The line between black and white has faded away and we are lost in a sea of gray. I can’t ignore the All Lives Matter theme that has been so popular over the past year. What does that mean exactly? I’ve heard it altered many ways. Black lives matter, white lives matter, cops lives matter. As long as we feel the need to insert an adjective before lives, we are in serious trouble. We separate ourselves into groups and we exclude groups that make us uncomfortable or who don’t fit into our little niche. So what do we mean when we say “All lives matter?”All lives who agree with our own way of living matter? Are there exceptions or is the meaning so precise that there is no room for misunderstanding? Why am I bringing this up? Do I think the two problems are connected. Yes, I really do. Our words imply one thing and our actions imply another. I believe there is an ongoing lack of respect among people and for human life itself. If all lives mattered, there would be no abortion but we think a woman has the right to decide which lives do. Look at the death penalty. When someone kills another human being, in some states the way we deal with that issue is by killing them. How in the hell does that even make sense? I am going to punish you for killing someone and how am I going to do that? By killing you. So killing is wrong when you do it but when I sentence you to death and you are killed, then it’s okay. So which lives matter? The lives of people who do not commit heinous crimes? The lives of the tiny babies who we decide we want to keep around? The truth is lives matter when we say they do. This disrespect, disregard and dismissal of the value for each and every life because of the way we define it makes every life seem a little less significant. This lack of appreciation for the significance of each and every life along with mean, violent, crazy people who lack moral value and self control with the addition of guns is slowly destroying humanity one day at a time. If we believe we can determine which lives matter then we can continue to pick and choose whether it’s by abortion, guns, the death penalty or any other way we see fit to take that life away. This is so much more than what we see superficially. Guns don’t make people crazy, but having no regard for another’s life gives us the idea that we can take it or save it whenever and however we see fit. Don’t agree that the majority do not respect people with different views? Watch our politicians, turn on tv, pull up Facebook and look through some of the comments. Is this what respect looks like these days? Someone flips you the bird because you piss them off for driving the speed limit. Is that respect? Go to any Starbucks counter and watch how people treat the workers. “I need a cup of coffee.” You NEED one? People feel better or inferior to others. The inferior ones get swallowed up and the better ones? They are nasty, pushy bullies. Not everyone will agree and that’s okay but it is something worth considering. Is one directly linked to the other? Who really knows but I believe everything is connected excluding the people. That is the part that is truly devastating. Feeling connected is determined by too many things, the wrong things. Feeling connected is conditional and some people will sell their souls. The color of skin, the same religion, the same economical or educational level. Is that what we’ve come? We are becoming more superficial and pompous every single day. It is a travesty and I do my best to add kindness and compassion and love to a world that desperately needs it. Will that be enough? Will taking away guns be enough? How about stopping abortion and outlawing the death penalty? What will it take? Better yet, what are you willing to do?