“What is your work now?”
Every day since the election, I am asking myself this question.
I am not naturally a political person, so when I wake up in the morning and look at the Facebook feed, follow links, read articles and opinions and sign petitions, it seems that someone has body-snatched the regular me. I think there are a lot of us feeling like this right now. I am High Road kind of person… a natural “peace and love” person, wanting to empower people to be happy, to free up their true core self, thus spreading kindness, heartfelt empathy, and the powerful knowingness that we are all made of the same stuff and that is Goodness.
After this election, I felt something wake within me. It’s a part of myself that has not fully shown up for a very long time, though I’ve seen it before. It is the fire of anger. Correction—It is rage.
Through my yogic path of more than four decades, I have been trained to notice and transform inner states of consciousness. In the waves of strong feelings that rise up in the wake of this election, I feel the actual sensations of rage. Rage is raw. Rage is potent energy. And in the experience of rage, I am having profound realizations that are key for me, and possibly for you too. The realization is that THE FIRE OF RAGE CAN BE HARNESSED INTO TIMELY AND BALANCED ACTION.
Rage is a sensation that has immense power. Most people do not know how to harness it. Instead, rage explodes into violent behavior, words, and actions. Explosiveness can relieve the pressure of the hurt that is behind the rage, but the “us against them” mentality lacks sustainability for real change. As a person who has dedicated my life to developing conscious awareness, I am driven to find a way to take this raw, potent energy and harness it for good.
You may be feeling your own version of rage. When terrific anger is suppressed because we are afraid of it, or we’ve been told it isn’t what nice girls (or boys) do, it turns in on itself and becomes depression, or cold anger at life in general. This is an observation from someone who has spent over forty years working with inner awareness within myself and with tens of thousands of students.
It becomes clear that the fire of rage can be used as a galvanizing agent. In the words of Charles Blow, writer for the New York Times, from his article titled, America Elects a Bigot;
“When I think of all these people and then think of all the people who voted to make this man president — and those who didn’t vote, thereby easing the way for his ascension — I cannot help but feel some measure of anger. I must deal with that anger. I don’t want to wrestle it to the ground; I want to harness it.”
With the advent of this election, I am willing to move into new territory (and I don’t mean Canada!) to work on myself from the inside out, and then take that state of being outside in whatever way has integrity for me.
Because I’ve lived it, I know that we have the power to drop old segregative beliefs and embrace a knowingness that we are all one people; that we choose at each moment whether we will think and act from a selfish or higher self perspective. And so, a question naturally rises; How many people would have voted differently if they had developed a sense of integrated empowerment from the inside out? If they had known they were as powerful as they need to be to get what they need without hurting anyone else to do it?
In my experience, this state of knowing can be developed in countless ways, including but not limited to:
1. meditating to drop old ways of thinking that no longer serve us (in the short or long run)
2. breathing consciously and stretching our bodies to let go of pent up emotions and tension.
3. using internal tools of watching our minds and learning that we can choose states of being that are inclusive and integrative.
4. appreciating the goodness all around us, and most especially, our own goodness.
There are numberless other wonderful practices/experiences that use integrative tools that help us to be willing to examine beliefs that are out of alignment with our greater selves. These are awareness tools that give us the courage to honestly face those beliefs and see that they are just erroneous beliefs that are passed from unknowing generation to unknowing generation.
By seeing the bigger picture of how this happens from generation to generation, I have experienced more compassion, and that leads me to another big question—
What if there are states of consciousness where it is possible to rejoice in diversity because we see how everyone is playing a part—even those who we rage against?
This is my place of inner work right now—to harness the rage, to act from the place where the big and small perspectives create a perfect balance. To clearly know in my bones what to do, what to say, how to take action. To take action without hatred and with understanding that we are all truly ONE, playing our parts on this infinitely interesting and magnificent stage.
I hope this was helpful to you. It helped me to write it.
A few questions–
What is YOUR inner work?
Do you want some tools?
Here are some that I am using:
- Yoga for activating the “powerhouse”, or navel center
- Meditation with chanting or breath focus
- Present Moment Awareness practice and Mindfulness
- Spending lots of time in nature and with companion animals
- Expressing love to loved ones, and looking them in the eyes when you do
- Expressing honest regret for actions or words that you know were out of alignment with your true goodness.
- Watching the series on Amazon called Good Girls Revolt
- Taking care of our bodies. Eat foods that are good for the nervous system (celery, bananas, rice bran syrup to name a few)
- Write out your thoughts and feelings
- Dance to your favorite music, by yourself if that feels good.
- Be with children
- Do any kind of art that makes you feel good. Let it flow. For example, the mandala in this post has elements that remind me of my roots in the “peace and love” generation of the the early 70s, and how important social activism was then and is now.
Let’s keep adding to this list. You never know who will be inspired by what you have to say. If you are so inspired, stay in touch for news about gatherings of inner and outer activism.
In this next phase of US history, Charles Blow has this to say of the next president;
“… That is a person who must be placed under unrelenting pressure. Power must be challenged, constantly. That begins today.”
That begins this moment in this breath.