Sunday, March 30, 2008

Change Yourself Then the World

Change Yourself Then the World

Gandhi gave us the powerful quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I've been taking that to heart quite a bit lately. I suppose you could say that I've a bit disgusted with a lot of what I see happening in the world (both my own little world and globally).

Putting things ahead of people

Multi-tasking (I'm of the humble opinion that this is an EVIL word and that using this term as a bragging/selling point -- "I'm such an excellent multi-tasker" -- should be outlawed. I think it's much more effective, efficient and rewarding to do ONE thing at a time and be present throughout the task.)

The insiduous and deadly advertising/marketing that pervades this society (scary to think that our beliefs/preferences/standards are created by a bunch of care-only-about-the-bottom-line executives -- if that ain't a Weapon of Mass Destruction, then I don't know what is)

The over-the-top use of cell phones (just this past Saturday I was at a movie and the teen sitting in front of me couldn't last 90-minutes without checking her cell phone -- you can't be out of touch for 90-minutes -- SERIOUSLY?!?!?)

The scary everything-is-disposable trend (and this applies to people as well -- when something breaks, we simply buy a new one rather than fixing the old. When we tire of people, we simply dispose of them. Think layoff, divorce, etc.)

The fact that drug companies are taking over the world and creating "conditions" so that we buy more drugs (don't even get me started on the fact that we over-medicate ourselves in this society)

The whole "no-time" mentality -- I don't have time for my friends, I don't have time for my spouse/partner, I don't have time for my children. (funny, I'm thinking that when you're officially "out of time" that you'll be wishing you spent more time on the things listed here. Of course we conveniently forget this fact and continue to squander our time on the unimportant things like TV.)

I could go on here but that doesn't serve anyone. What does change things is changing oneself. It is this very concept that makes my yoga practice indispensible to me. I would willingly sacrifice some things, but my yoga practice isn't one of them. Why? Because my yoga practice gives me perspective. It calms my mind and helps me to see "me" a bit clearer (without that darned ego getting in the way). Then when I approach a situation, I can ask myself what role I'm playing in it. Rather than blame others, I look at myself and think how I could alter my behavior to get a better outcome.

There's a fine line between the selfish, looking out for numero uno mentality and the I'll take care of myself first so that I'll be better able to help others mentality. Of course balance is key here. Again, for balance I look to my yoga practice.

Despite my daily yoga practice, I'm faaaar from perfect. But I try. I unroll my mat each day and I practice. I try to be a better person. I try to live by my values (buying organic, recycling, not eating meat, etc.). I try to be the kind of friend I would want to have, the kind of mate I would want to have a relationship with, the kind of worker I would want on my team, the kind of person I think would make this world a better place. I've got my good days and my bad days.

Lately, I've been seeing some bad. I've been frustrated and saddened by what I'm seeing going on around me. I've been a bit shaken lately by how little love matters anymore. Apparently, getting your head out of your own little world/drama long enough to show caring for others (people you call your friends, lovers, family) isn't on anyone's agenda anymore (or perhaps it falls behind laundry and watching that new reality show on TV). I'd be lying if I didn't say that I've been entertaining fantasies of escaping the world -- running off to an ashram in a distant land, far, far away from the "real world." Thanks to my yoga practice I have enough clarity to know that, while the idea is quite tempting, it's not the answer.

Just when I start thinking "what's the use," and "why bother," I know the answer -- I can't change the people or the world around me but I can change myself. And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I practice my yoga daily not so I can have a frustrating, sad, and disillusioned existence. I practice so that I can understand that I can be another way. I don't have to be the multi-tasker or the chronic cell phone checker or the mate who puts her own personal interests above the relationship. I can be something bigger, something better, something that perhaps inspires someone else. If one person reading this post makes a change, then I can be happy (regardless of what's going on around me).

So when the bottom drops out on me, I can remain steady knowing that change will happen (and continue to happen). And I can instigate that change.

This is why I started this yoga blog -- because I wanted to talk about an amazing vehicle for change. Yoga is BIG and it has amazing power. Of course not everyone sees it that way. And that's okay. Change can be wrought in a number of ways, and although yoga is my personal preference, it's not the only way.

This is why I've been championing Oprah's New Earth Webcast. For those of you who have studied yoga and live your yoga, Tolle's book isn't saying anything new. Still, the message rings true (and sometimes you need to hear something time and time again for it to hit home). And I laud anyone who tries to spread that message (and we all know that Oprah can spread around just about anything). I read the first few chapters of A New Earth and I got hooked at page 4. I am intrigued by his comments about ego and perception and I'm going to take tonight's Webcast and the workbook assignment that accompanies it to heart.

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