I remember being a little kid, on one particular day, I wanted to play Hide and Seek with the seemingly “bigger” kids. They let me play, but it meant I had to be IT…they left me with one instruction, they told me to count for one minute. I remember that I didn’t know how to do that but I didn’t want to tell them…they were the big kids. So I decided to count to ten a bunch of times. This was enough. I was reminded of this the other day, when I came across this:
“One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring,
One smile can begin a friendship,
One hand can lift a soul,
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal,
One sunbeam can light a room,
One candle can wipe out darkness,
One laugh can conquer gloom,
One hope can raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care,
One voice can wake up everybody,
One life can make the difference.
Be that one.”
Likewise, if we want the world to change, we need to be doing something toward changing it. We need to create a new paradigm in our thinking, because the old paradigm, that One can’t make a difference, is proving not to be true. So what does this mean? This must mean that what does work, is the paradigm of belief, that One Does make a difference. That’s one act of kindness, one fair choice, one conscious decision, one turn of a page, one word whispered….all of them count. Put a beaker outside your window, and at next rainfall, watch the drops land one by one inside that beaker….what happens? Take the time to watch it; seeing it in front of you means, you can no longer lie to yourself about the power of One making a difference. Then water your plant with it.
You might do one thing, and you might be the only one doing that one thing….but repeatedly doing that one thing, and you will have made a difference even within one month….for good or for bad, you decide. But that one decision has to be yours. You are the only one who can come up with it because that’s the only way you’ll follow through with it. But try this, and you will never again doubt the power of One. This One is what it takes to change the world. You by yourself, with this one thing, is what it takes to change the world. Don’t believe it? Try it, for one month and see where that one takes you.
If each person who’s reading this makes that one decision to do that one thing, that’s a collective, making one change all at once….that changes the world. That creates enough momentum to move mountains. That creates enough inner fulfillment to stop violence. That creates enough empowerment, through effective decision making, to stop lying. If you want the world to change, you need to be the One to do it. You don’t need to run around with loudspeakers and banners…simply turn off that one light in the empty room, turn off the running tap, turn off the needlessly idling car, eat one supper without your phone… you need to make one decision around one thing and do it for one month. This is the only way to create change in the world.
Yelling at the TV from your lazyboy, waving your remote control in the air while you do it, is no longer acceptable. Speeding past a slow driver while you spotlight your middle finger at him, is no longer an option. No one is destroying our comfort for us. It’s not “the government” or “those people in that religion” or “those people in that race” or “that sex” or “those migrants”….WE’RE the people behind and within, those neat little clusters. WE are the Ones, not THEM. WE create change by recognizing our value within the group, and we use our value to either participate or ride along. We’re at the point where riding along is no longer in the cards. We’re at a point where we need to grow up enough emotionally, that we face what needs to be done responsibly. We show up. Showing up is our duty as a human being. If we’re not showing up, then we’re riding a fantasy and have no place complaining….about anything. If you don’t like what you have to offer, if you don’t like yourself….it’s up to you to challenge that belief, so you can contribute productively to the shared responsibility of balancing out this world. It’s just one decision…how much power does that take….depends on how you see it. But none of us have any right to just tag along for the ride anymore. Buckle up folks and get ‘er done.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com
Yoga has become a very loud, very obnoxious industry. It’s everywhere a person looks…yoga studios, yoga pants, yoga bras, yoga bodies, yoga videos, yoga accessories…yoga yoga yoga. This is the gleaming industry of business…the industry of people who like to make money and know how to make it, through exploitation and through feeding human insecurities. The yoga industry is the same as any other….the cosmetic industry, the vitamin industry, the oil industry, the carpet industry….you name it, it’s an industry like all others. Profitable and glamourized. The more beautiful it becomes with catch phrases and beautiful young girls, the more this industry grows, and remains that subliminal message of “you need this”. When it’s everywhere, we become so saturated in the message, that we don’t even know we’re absorbing it anymore; we just come to terms with yoga being what the industry says it is. Without any questioning of it. And this isn’t going away, there are more people “practicing” various imaginings of yoga than ever before…and these numbers aren’t going down.
We’re refining the nutrients out of Yoga, the same way we do with fast food. This way, it can be the quick consumption that the mainstream prefers, so they can get on with something else. It is for this reason that I created my website. Because there are teachers out there who are still remaining true to Yoga as a lineage, as a discipline, as a way of fostering acceptance and an aligned way of life, as a way of honouring traditional teachers of each lineage. And, believe it or not, there are students who do long to know where to find these teachers; teachers who can support them in their own growth of the practice toward greater self awareness.
As the numbers of yoga teachers multiplies, the fewer there are who can really support their students, who can really provide the true nature of the practice of Yoga. The yoga we’re forced to gulp down is a message of “already having arrived” and “having arrived perfectly” (bleached hair, bikinis and ponytails) with zero effort to get there. Where is the self-knowledge in this? Traveling to India for a YTT without knowing that Yoga is about self-knowledge? What a joke…traveling to the “Source” for your teacher training without knowing this! Yoga has become beyond a dream, it has become a fantasy. Oh, the irony.
I’ve traveled to India many times and I’ve experienced the learning curves in the same way there, as I have at home. It’s not necessary to go to India for this self awareness. If we know self-awareness is the Yoga of yoga then we can sift the fantasy out of the image. We can get down to brass tax and deal with ourselves, wherever and whenever we are. To know that Yoga is based on self-awareness, it’s absurd to travel to the “mother land” for a certificate, without knowing this…it’s abhorrent. It’s abhorrent because of its destructiveness.
Yoga takes a lot of grit, Yoga takes a lot of courage, Yoga requires daily reminders and discipline. Yoga is to be respected to the extent that it respects you. Because it will guide you through your challenges…and anyone who says they’re never challenged and never have been, are living on another planet entirely. I have deep respect for the Yoga Teachers who are committed to sharing the teachings they have learned (and lived) from their own Teachers. I support them the best I can through the community of sharing their works on my website…as they struggle to stay afloat in a world of “Barbie yoga” (as one of my students calls it). There are beautiful stories shared from each teacher on my website, because they have the strength and personal confidence to have been vulnerable enough to reveal themselves…..their loves and struggles with the practice.
A vast majority of teachers today don’t even know what that is…and they don’t know that they don’t know. I strive for honesty on my page because Yoga will strip you to the bone in the most beautiful way, if you let it….and this is a scary thought for those who are just stepping in to it…they need to trust that others who have gone before them have survived the journey. Yes, many have and we’ve got your back. You alone walk through your own journey, but it’s comforting to know that it’s normal to be afraid, it’s normal to think you don’t know what to do, it’s normal to want to turn back but you can’t…it’s normal to have walked half way into the rushing river and have no idea what to do. And then it’s normal to come out the other side, having benefitted from the few bruises you’ve been left with. You will be ok on this journey because Yoga will take care of you. Get gutsy, get real, be afraid…you will be so glad that you did. I trust any one of those Yoga Teachers I have listed on my website to support you as you go forward…and I’m always on the lookout for adding new teachers and what they offer, so keep your eyes on it.--Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com