A sampling of messages from people who’ve decided to stop following my social media over the past few weeks:
Just lost my following.
I’m done here.
Time to quit following!
I get it: this highly charged political environment affects us all. It seems impossible to enter a conversation without wandering into a discussion about the election. Politics are heavy, it’s draining, and people are pitting themselves against each other when in reality we all just want to be heard and understood.
I want to hear and understand. I’ve spent the past two weeks opening my mind to all opinions in the hopes of striking a chord of balance where we can grow together instead of blindly tearing each other apart. When I see or feel something powerful that offers tools for positive change, I offer it on my social media. These offerings, without surprise, stir the pot. Sometimes I lose followers, but before leaving, those followers often post variations of the above messages.
Exactly what are they trying to say? And what is the goal? Do they want me to feel like I’m wrong — to apologize? My best guess is that they just want to be heard — same as me, same as everyone — and un-following without announcing the decision feels unsatisfactory. Unfortunately, a mic drop without conversation changes little. All it does is make the page an echo chamber of like-minded people, which I actually don’t want, because that’s the kind of space too many of us have been living in the past few years.
I’m aware that pretty, neutral posts offend no one. They also change nothing. (As much as a post, as a page, can change anything, that is.) So I’m not worried about popularity through pretty, neutral posts. I am focused on sharpening my mind, opening my heart, and the amazing privilege I’ve been given in having a platform to help in some small way. I am choosing to use my platform to share ideas on positive change, education, unity, and understanding – anything that (I feel) makes our world a little better.
Of course, as I post about ideas that seem to exist far away from the yoga mat, another message keeps popping up:
Just teach yoga.
You are welcome to your political views, but we come here for yoga inspiration, not that.
If you want to follow a yoga teacher who only teaches ‘yoga’, well, I suggest reassessing the actual definition of yoga. To yoke. It’s the unifier; an essence and lineage of spiritual awakening. It’s not a perfect asana picture with text written by an ambivalent human whose purpose is solely to please.
Every yoga teacher wears a multitude of hats. A teacher —or any human for that matter— should never be defined or limited to one title. We are all so wildly complex, with beautiful brains and curiosities that are stimulated to different levels and capacities in different chapters of our lives.
What do I personally do for a living? I am a yoga teacher. I am a writer. I am a cook. I am a speaker. I am a student. I am a philanthropist. I am just getting started and will constantly redefine myself. And yes: I am political. Why? Because I give all the f*cks about this world and the living beings in it.
I’m writing this as a reminder to everyone, myself included, that we must stay true. And to those of you still with me, please be brave and stay true to yourselves and what you believe in — even if we disagree. Especially if we disagree. I believe in our likenesses and our differences.
I believe we can beautifully disagree.
Please, be a powerful voice of unity. Add your personal rhythm to the vibration by speaking up when you see or feel injustice, and give a voice to those who are scared or stifled. You will always find me doing exactly what I believe to be just and true, inspired by all the amazing humans who are doing the same.
photo: Stark Photography