the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
Five years ago, I took a yoga class in Key Biscayne, FL with a delightful 50-year-old Cuban man. He spoke in both English and Spanish. But the one thing I’ll never forget about his class is what he said during this day before Thanksgiving Day class. “I’m grateful to be in the United States.”
Too often we take for granted what we what we have. I was born in the United States, and have never lived anywhere I felt scared or unsafe. It’s easy to forget this is not the norm for many people in other parts of the world. I also take for granted our democratic system, and ability to elect a president versus a military group forcing itself into power.
I’m not the first to say this presidential election has been one of the nastiest ones I’ve ever seen. Even my four-year-old daughter says, “They are not kind and nice. They fight.” I’ve been teaching her (and her little brother) how to demonstrate loving kindness towards each other. On a basic level, loving kindness may mean using kind and nice words and not hitting each other.
On a deeper level, practicing loving kindness is a way for us to feel compassionate for each person’s well being. But before we can create world peace, it begins with dealing with the war within each of us. We must face our own fears and issues so we can transform them into compassion. Once our hearts are a place for peace, we can then listen to the suffering around us.
Take a moment to step off your political soapbox and compassionately listen to other members in your community. What are we currently doing to help those in need? Is it enough? How can we improve locally, nationally and internationally to support generosity and respect for all?
“Like setting the compass of the heart, this intention expresses our deepest values. If we set a long-term intention, it remains empowering no matter who wins a particular election, or what governments rise and fall. It becomes our way of practice.” Jack Kornfield
We are stronger together, and together, we can make America great again. Please vote with your heart.