Bram Levinson

I’m literally 20 minutes from walking out the door to go teach my Yoga Flo 2 class at Centre Luna Yoga, and only because the class I intended to teach has morphed into something else, am I sitting down to write furiously before I set off.

As we all know by now, the issue of bullying has taken centre stage in the North American (if not the global) media, and all that comes into my mind when I meditate on the whole issue is, “It’s About Time.” Bullying is nothing new. In one of my recent posts, Flawless, I mentioned that I had never been the victim of bullying, but since I wrote that entry, I have thought back to one or two isolated incidents from elementary school that I would actually allow to fall under the bullying umbrella. When we examine the shootings that seem to happen annually in schools around the world, the Dawson shooting included, the shooter is always described as having been bullied. And in keeping with one of the sentences from my Flawless entry, I’d like to update my opinion – I originally wrote “For those of you who harbour feelings of judgment, superiority or hatred towards people who are gay, know that you are killing people with the weight of your judgment.” Let me update that to replace “people who are gay” by “anyone.” People still do not realize the weight that words carry, so hopefully this trend in reassuring the outcasts among us will get through to us all to be impeccable with our words.

Back to today’s class. I’ve decided that the way I can make a difference, and the way I’d like to think that I do, is through my blog and my classes. And so today’s class is dedicated to all those who have felt or have been made to feel like outcasts. The freaks, the losers, the geeks, the undesirables. I always felt like I was on the fringe, and I gravitated towards others who felt similarly. And understand this – without these people, the ones who strive to feel like they belong somewhere but whose left brains and society continue to convince them that there is no such place, we would have no art. We would have no literature. We would have no cinema. We would have no technology. We would have no beauty. These are the people whose desires to see truth and convey it, to push boundaries of what is deemed “acceptable” and “palatable”, make our world a better place. They hold mirrors up to our collective faces, and we usually don’t like what we see in the reflection, but it is through that self-study that we grow and be better…where we get closer to the truth that underlies everything. The time that we take today to practice, and the energy we expend will be dedicated to these people…to the survivors, to the underdogs.

Before I go, let me say one more thing. The trend that we are fed through media is to have things be black and white…to demonize someone in order to be able to wrap our brains around the situation, and have someone else be “the good guy.” Bullies act the way they do because they have been bullied. Because they have been made to feel inferior. I’m not saying this to excuse the behaviour, because believe me, if I found out that my niece or anyone in my sphere of awareness was being picked on, I would have to practice some serious Ujayii to not end up arrested (yikes!!!)…but I do realize that in order to deal with this issue, we have to stop the cycle of abuse. Letting the teased know that they are not alone, that millions before them have gone through it and that they are the ones that have risen above the norm, above the mediocre, to become the leaders the world desperately needs.

So raise your voices (and your glass) to those who are living this nightmare of being systematically tortured, often during the most formative years of their lives. Let them hear you, let them know that it’s temporary and give them an ear to hear them. Above all, let them know that It Gets Better.

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