Creating these mini cards has been quite therapeutic over these last several weeks. In fact, creative practice in general has been a balm throughout 2020. I find my mind can go to a pretty dark place with all the turmoil going on in the world.
Unfortunately, left unchecked, that darkness has spilled out onto the keyboard or out of my mouth … usually in the form of judgment or snarkiness (hello, Pitta dosha imbalance 😉 ). I find myself apologizing a lot lately, either to myself or others. Thankfully, if I’m mindful, I can channel that darkness into creativity, humor & finding ways to be useful.
There’s a bit of an “anxious type” in my nature & family history — as Graham Panther, co-creator of The Big Feels Club, calls himself & describes those of us who “have a knack for catastrophic thinking.” Whether you love an anxious type, or have anxious tendencies yourself, Graham’s personal experience & empathy will warm your heart & induce a few chuckles as well. I listened to his July interview on the All in the Mind podcast (check it out here) — his thoughts allowed me to laugh at myself & also find some comfort in the midst of uncontrollable situations we continue to find ourselves in.
Ya’ll know me pretty well by now, & that I’ll provide my point of view if asked 😉 … & my views are pretty well-laid out in social media. I TRY to maintain consistency in my criticism of systems (& powerful people who uphold those systems) which oppress the disenfranchised, the marginalized & the historically oppressed. I TRY to maintain my upliftment of people & programs that bring awareness to & offer pathways to a more compassionate, loving, collaborative, joyful, socially just & beautiful world.
And I make mistakes.
I realize I don’t see the whole picture, & have much more to learn. My teacher, Luvena Rangel, in our Navratri Sadhana practice last week, reminded us of a story of 6 sadhakas (students) without sight who were given the task of describing an elephant. One grasped the ear & said, “Oh, an elephant is round, flappy & rough. That is what is an elephant.” Another grasped the tail & said, “No No! An elephant is long & thin with a wispy mass of hair at the end.” A third held one of the elephant’s legs & said, “You’re both wrong! An elephant is round & stocky like a tree trunk.”
And of course we know they were all CORRECT … & yet did not see the entire elephant.
An elephant DOES have a flappy, round ear. And yet an elephant is more than an ear. An elephant is ALL of these things …
Luvena asked, “So why would we think that WE can see the full picture of life, what is Truth? When we have these 5 senses alone to take in information, & each of us uses these 5 senses differently, from our own context, history, perspective? Even in Yoga there are MANY philosophies of what is Yoga …” [paraphrased]
Maybe you have heard this story before … it continues to remind me to be HUMBLE, to continue to LEARN … that everyone & every creature, every blade of grass … has something to teach me about Truth.
You & I may have similar or different views on the current pandemic, on the current U.S. election, on the pathways toward a more just & compassionate world. Yet I imagine, if you’re practicing Yoga — we are in solidarity that we DO want a more just & compassionate world for ourselves, our elders & youth, for the natural world & creatures, for our communities. For this is one of the (many) goals of Yoga!
So as I (& maybe you) work with the current anxieties within, may we 1) acknowledge our darker feelings & thoughts — simply recognize them & that it’s our bodies/spirits trying to keep us & our loved ones safe, & 2) find ways to channel these valid feelings / thoughts into creating something useful, beautiful and/or more loving for ourselves & those around us.
Our efforts will result in a more complete picture of “the elephant” – the more loving, peaceful, joyful & just world we all seek.
I’d love to hear how this post resonated with you. Feel free to message me here or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (Om Peace Peace Peace)