The words that have been sitting in my heart and mind from President-Elect Joe Biden’s speech on Saturday night are Empathy, Compassion, Truth, and Hope.
These are words that you hear me routinely speaking of within the yoga classes that I teach because they are part of the foundational principles that guide the practice of yoga.
Empathy requires the skill of being able to listen. Our yoga practice gives us this amazing opportunity to shut our mouths and be quiet. On our yoga mats, we learn what it’s like to have emotions that flutter up within us. To have moments of discomfort, or uncertainty, and to not be able to crack a joke about it, or haggle the teacher or dismiss it. Instead, we are to simply be present in everything that comes up for us during this time on our mats. The rule in a yoga class is that you are not allowed to talk. So we’ve gained this additional tool in our toolbox, of being quiet, which allows us to learn to practice empathy towards ourselves.
We learn how to listen, to ourselves, and to our bodies and to our minds. And from that practice, we then also sweetly fall into compassion. When we let go of that negative voice within our own minds or the storyline that we’ve been subscribing to for so long, whether it’s because someone else told us that we are to be that way, or you’ve just fallen into a habit. It’s in that moment of letting go of the negative internal voice that we offer ourselves compassion.
Truth is a big one in yoga, Satya in Sanskrit. It’s one of the guiding principles of my life. Learning how to stand in your truth, to speak your truth, and to live by the truth. It’s hard and sometimes it takes sacrifice. Sometimes it means standing alone or standing with the less popular group. But believe me when I say that standing in truth and aligning your life by the principle of truth is what will lead you into an amazing transformation within your spirit.
I myself, just speaking candidly, would like to see us get back to that period of time in which the Office of the President was respected. That people on both party lines aren’t cracking jokes and making fun of the person who is the leader of this country. My heart has been sad about that during the last four years. Whether or not I agreed with President Trump and his policies, the title of President deserves respect. And in turn, the person holding that office should be representing this country with dignity and treating all people with respect.
Regardless of what little circle we filled in with our black pens on our ballot sheets, whether our person won or our person lost, we can all stand together in truth,
Which then leads us to hope. We, as people, are more alike than different. We all hope for safety, for equality. For all people, regardless of the colors of our skin, or the gender that we identify or don’t identify with, regardless of who we love, or how we’ve decided to live our lives. We all hope for safety, equality, kindness, and love.
So let’s take one of these words today with us. Pick your favorite one. Empathy, Compassion, Truth, Hope.
Write it on a piece of paper or post-it note and put it somewhere in your house so that you see it every day for the rest of this week. Let’s use that as a reminder to keep cultivating our practice of yoga. To take this practice off of our mats and out into every aspect of our worlds.
If you haven’t yet listened to Joe Biden being interviewed by Brene Brown on her podcast, Unlocking Us, I highly recommend it.