Want to find peace from this mad world? A place where you’re centered and feel as though the world could hurled its best curve ball at you and you’d knock it out of the ballpark?
Think in layers.
Uh? Well, let me backtrack a moment. My yoga practice lately has become more about sore muscles and less about being present. That’s always the first warning sign that my focus has strayed, leaving a crack through which old habits can slither, so this morning I made a concerted effort to keep my focus on just my breath. I let go the expectations of flexibility, soreness, achievement, purpose, and failure. There was only breath…and then, without warning, two childhood memories surfaced in the quiet. They were memories I hadn’t thought of for years. They were painful memories that would need to be dealt with and felt before I could release them.
Embracing these new areas, I realized I had erroneously believed most of my childhood wounds had been healed in these last few months. I was so wrong. I had only healed the outer layer of issues. Until I successfully healed those outer layers, I couldn’t reach the deeper wounds. Like our body, we must close and heal the gaping, open wound before the buried injuries can have a chance. I’m going to have to heal in layers, but I’m comforted now that I’m working on “the deep stuff.”
All of this still percolated in my head as I stood behind two gentlemen in line at the grocery store. The two men’s debate over political candidates heated up exponentially for each minute we stood in line (another reason why stores need more cashiers on the weekends). By the time the cashier was ready to say hello, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that those men were a) not ever going to be friends, b) about to come to blows, and c) had been reduced to sailor-swearing, sniveling balls of spewed hatred.
It was ugly folks. The language quickly degraded, reminding me of the cruel words spoken during the Holocaust or the Civil Rights Movement.
Truthfully, this election has done nothing but fill me with fear. But as I stood in that line and thought about the two men’s argument, I realized that my fear wasn’t really about who we elected as our next president.
I’m afraid of individuals who choose to only recognize one layer. I’m afraid of the individuals who believe one candidate is the anti-Christ and the other a messiah rather than seeing them both as flawed humans working a man-made system. I’m afraid that in allowing our political dialogue to become one of tunnel vision, we’ve limited our ability to see the true potentials and pitfalls of our candidates.
Lord knows that I’ve hurt people in my life, and what makes it worse is that I truly thought in that moment that I was dealing correctly with the situation. I would hate to think that because there are people in this world that believe I’m a horrible person, that my triumphs as a teacher, friend, and a citizen of this world would be discounted or overlooked.
Don’t get me wrong. Make an educated choice about a candidate. Choose to recovery from your childhood in your own way, but know that there comes a soul-quenching peace in the decisions we make when we’ve made an effort to see and understand the many layers of our reality. There is peace in seeing the true nature of someone or something, and that only happens when we think and dig through all the layers. Yoga teaches me that every day. My students teach me that every day.
And if nothing else remember Shriek and Donkey: all the remarkable people who have lived and breathed and changed our world were onions with many, many layers.