In class this week – See Yoga for more details.
Wednesday at 5:30pm InQlusive Yoga
Wednesday at 7:00pm Yoga for Queers and Misfits
Saturday at 10:30am Align and Shine
This past weekend, hundreds of folks throughout North Carolina said with our bodies and our presence that Love Trump Hates. We said that white supremacist hate groups would not march in our state unanswered. We organized to send a message that we the people in this state are united by common cause.
We also saw, this past weekend, a rare moment when folks from a variety of backgrounds and experiences came together to oppose organized hate groups like the k3. As soon as word circulated of a supposed “victory march” being organized by the k3, a group of concerned NC residents created an event with a name something like “united in love” or “peace and love trump hate” or something like that, which was meant as a counterpresence, and which quickly had several thousand people “going” or “interested” on Facebook (by quickly, I mean within hours).
Other counterpresences, representing folks on other ends of the political and action spectrum, were being planned as well. After much hard work and solid relationship building, several organized presences merged to create what became the “Justice and Power to the People Rally.” And the result was a space in which folks newer to the movement got the opportunity to hear some very powerful speeches from some of the more radical and progressive leadership in the local area – much of which was Black and Brown folks, and queer folks. The peace and unity folks would not likely have heard the messages of these progressive leaders had organizers not taken the risk to merge these events.
Among all the powerful lessons to lift up about the process that organizers went through in the past few weeks, one clear theme emerged: there is strength in numbers, and there is SO SO MUCH people power that we need to continue to learn to harness. And, perhaps more importantly, love can be a unifying and driving force but we have to be clear what we mean when we say love.
“The problem is not the abundance of people with bad intentions; it’s the superabundance of people with good intentions who don’t know what to do yet.”-Van Jones
And today, among the many things being circulated online, an article from environmental justice champion Van Jones, preaching on the importance of building a Love Army. While Jones is a polemic figure, he offers some interesting points for reflection – especially for this white anti-racist pacifist yoga teacher and organizer. How exactly do we build a Love Army? And for what purpose?
It is true that we are seeing seemingly record numbers of folks interested in political engagement in a way that I don’t think I’ve seen in my (admittedly somewhat short) lifetime. It is also true that broad-based coalition work is exhausting and challenging and can grate on every nerve, challenge very value, and test every limit. And, also true is the fact that well-intentioned (often) white people, or people of other forms of privilege, do a great disservice to themselves and this movement when we reduce our strategies to the age-old tropes that start and end with love.
It is clear to me that it is love for our people and our planet that is breaking open our hearts and wrenching open our eyes. It is love for our people and our planet that is unclenching our fists and unbending our knees. With every part of us, we can see the clear and present danger before us and it’s clear we’ve got to act.
From a yogic perspective, this is exactly what our practices have always called us to: a willingness to see and keep seeing, to let go of who we think we are in order to become who we’re meant to be. To unearth and deconstruct the internalized barriers to wholeness that plague us in our relationships with ourselves and each other. To decolonize our minds/bodies/spirits and to divest from a bankrupt system which is destroying all of us.
In short, the practices invite us to embody and practice love. Not as an oovy groovy abstract, but as a very real, grounded, and tangible practice of showing up over and over to the work that is ours to do. We cannot do it alone. And indeed we needn’t pretend to.
For one of the side effects of practice is the inherent revelation of our true nature that it offers us: we are wholeness, perfection, completely connected to Source, possessing everything we need inside of our selves, and vibrating with a radiant power that cannot be diminished.
Come unleash your true power on the mat.