Throughout processing this weeks shock ,confusion, and disappointment, I continue to remind myself of the Dalai Lama's wise words.
"If we ourselves remain angry and then sing world peace, it has little meaning.
First, our individual self must learn peace. This we can practice. Then we can teach the rest of the world."
It does not come easy, especially for my generally outspoken self, but I do believe that this is the way. Which is why on Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6AM and walked in silence through my Hispanic neighborhood to the studio where I teach my sunrise yoga class. Myself and ten strong yogis, all from different originating countries, joined together in one room and rolled our mats out through the heaviness. We sat in stillness and started the morning creating a safe space both around us and within us. We meditated out of our racing minds so that we could remember the truth of who we are. We started to move our physical bodies and salute the sun even though the sky was gray and lashing rain. We bent our spine backwards because it keeps the heart center shining forward. We put our physical bodies into postures that challenge us to stay focused and calm despite the tremor in our bones. We realized that this tremble is transient and we are tough enough to handle it. We held planks and balanced on our two arms that are strong enough to tear down any walls that might be built against humanity. We stood in Tadasana and then tree pose and by rooting our feet into the Earth, we grew tall, steady and strong, unwavering despite the flux and chaos around us. Unwavering because the peace grounds us from within. We sweat and we used the exhale to release any ounce of anger we woke up with. We laid on our backs and sent breath of fire into our bellies to transmute the last bits of frustration into inspiration for meaningful action. Meaningful action that encourages us to march on hand in hand as peaceful warriors.
My grief has really not been about an individual candidates win or loss, the stakes were much higher than that. My grief has been for what feels like a massive blow to basic human decency and morale. This blow that caught me by surprise because I have created a life for myself that encompasses positive, open minded, intelligent and worldly human beings, all of whom have mourned this week with me. Needless to say this has been a wake up call for all of us, a sad one that validates the fear and angst so many people are living in. Such fear and angst that people felt willing to cast a vote in support of a candidate that the KKK endorses, for fuck sake. It saddens me that so many spoiled Americans are unaware of how privileged we are that they walked blindly in to cast a vote in support of a bully who straight up tricked them into thinking where they live is not great or safe. It saddens me that people I know, who have never left my small Ohio hometown, have such misconstrued doubt and anxiety about the world that they are sitting in their country homes celebrating with their guns locked and loaded, just in case.
But then I remember that I know better, and that the sadness, anger and fear does not belong to me.
I remember that I am and always will be, the author of my own reality. Which is why I will carry on as usual and then some.
I will carry on by keeping it in perspective. I am a first world white girl whose "problems" are laughable and truly fictitious in the grand scheme of things.
I will carry on in company with intelligent and like minded humans who reflect the type of person I want to be. Not because I disrespect conflicting opinions and freedom of speech, but because energy is absolutely contagious and there are too many positive people out there to waste time with the negative.
I will continue to cheer on strong and fearless women. With an extra appreciation for the three super nasty ones who raised me. Because of them, I have never underestimated my potential and never will.
I will carry on teaching my nieces that they are not only gorgeous and adorable but awesome and smart and limitless and worthy of the utmost respect only.
I will carry on standing up for what is right, opposing bullies and using my voice to tell them when they are indeed, being assholes.
I will continue to reevaluate and question myself and my beliefs because as the world and humanity evolve and modernize, so should I.
I will continue to stay open minded and nonjudgmental towards anyone I see walking out of a women's clinic or transgender bathroom. I will continue offering smiles because we never know the full story, nor do we need to in the name of kindness and compassion.
I was born into a supportive, stable and educated immediate family which is why I have never needed to seek an outside support organization. I know that not everyone is that fortunate, and because I wish they were, I will continue to donate what I can to Planned Parenthood and the like.
I will continue to welcome foreigners into my country and my home with open arms, because they are my friends, and that is what friends do.
I will continue to drink tea, talk holistic health and make oreshki with my Russian Muslim friend. I will continue to speak Spanish and learn how to perfect baked plantains from my Cuban and Dominican vecinos. I will keep spending my Saturday nights sitting on the floor by candlelight in a room full of Indians singing Kirtan because that is my church and the music gives me chills in a good way and I walk out feeling connected to a higher source every damn time. I will continue to teach yoga to a room full of students who might not understand my English commands, but they show up anyways and we smile, laugh and breathe and leave feeling better so how important is language, really?
I will continue to wake up every single morning and go to sleep every single night next to a brown immigrant who was born and raised on the opposite side of the world from me. I will keep kissing him and hugging him because no, he is not a "terrorist", "rapist" or a "very bad people" - he is the love of my life.
The peace is within me, namaste, but you can bet my yogi ass that for a hot minute my boxing gloves were on and I was ready to swing at every single person who cast a vote in support of the bully who spread that racism and hatred. But I didn't. I didn't because my foreigner always shows me how to be the bigger person. He is too smart, too hardworking, too focused and rational to allow someone so vile and absurd to disrupt his path. So as usual, his smile calmed me and his confidence and determination gave me strength. "Focus on your work, Taylor. I will keep doing what I need to do. It is not worth getting upset over," he said as he peeled off my gloves.
I will continue to stand by his side as we battle the extremely complicated, insanely expensive, seemingly never ending USCIS process. I'd like to go out on a limb and say that every person who cast a vote for the xenophobe have clearly never had to step foot into an immigration office. I hope they all reflect on how privileged they are to be able to sit home in oblivion with their American birth certificate shouting "do it legally, do it the right way" despite not having a fucking clue what that entails.
I will continue to love and when my immigrant gets his green card, I will throw a big party and everyone will be invited so they can see for themselves how foreigners make this country a far more desirable place to be.
I will stay conscious and aware that what I consume is directly affecting this planet. I will continue to eat vegetables and not animals because it is certainly the most simple action I can take to minimize water, grain and land waste. I will continue to stand by the scientists who have dedicated their lives to research. I trust that I can contribute to healing the planet and will take their suggestions seriously because why. wouldn't. I???
I will continue to travel the world for as long as I can because frankly, nothing is more fascinating or enriching or life changing.
I will continue to pride myself, as I always have - not as an American. But as a citizen of the world.
A world that is much, much, much larger than 50 states. A world we all share, that is bright and colorful with beautiful people of varying shades who speak different languages and cook different foods, but feel the same pain and more importantly, the same love, as I do. A world that is a spinning ball of blue oceans, beaches, mountains, green forests, and jungles chock-full of animals that are pure magic and ought to be respected as such.
I will continue to say thank you every day.
I will carry on using gratitude as the mean to humble me.
Gratitude as the mean to keep the peace within while marching on and sharing it with the world I belong to.
May God not just bless America.
May, whichever, God(s) you believe in bless all of mankind. All of humanity. All of existence.