Tag Archives: ignorance

The Way Forward

I have been relatively quiet about the US elections over the past couple of years. I have chosen not to contribute to the vibrations of chaos this archaic system of “politics” has instigated. This morning I have no choice but to speak.

There is much despair right now, not only in the good old US of A, but globally. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is the leader of the so-called free world, apparently. This is. So we must accept and move forward from here.

What we also must accept is that we have the tendency of getting stuck in the human experience when that experience gets extreme. Like it is now. But there is a greater narrative unfolding that we cannot ignore.

The spiritual, energetic experience that exists simultaneously as these chaotic details unfold is occurring on purpose, for a reason that will be specific to every single one of us. In moments of turmoil, the energetic experience is begging us to ask ourselves, “What am I meant to learn? What am I meant to learn?” This needs to be our mantra, because to look for the meaning behind the chaos is to see beyond the literal, beyond what gets us stuck, so we can move forward.

Some of us are meant to learn that we need to speak our minds louder than we have done.

Some of us are meant to learn that we need to stand up for the rights of others who are being persecuted.

Some of us are meant to learn that if we don’t vote, our inaction will turn around and bite us in the ass.

Some of us are meant to learn that the struggle is, indeed, real, that the fight for freedom is far from over, and that entitlement is the luxury of the few and the deluded.

Some of us are meant to learn the names Gloria Steinem, Matthew Shepard, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, Frederic Douglass, Harvey Milk, Ella Baker and the countless others who fought intolerance and ignorance.

Some of us are meant to de-program initial response and wait to see how things will unfold.

We are treading new waters and we don’t necessarily know how things will go. We cannot let fear motivate us into emotional response and hasty action. We must ask ourselves if we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution. We must remain in ACTION and not in RE-action.

We must be awake and alert and ready to support each other regardless of what God we may pray to, regardless of the color of our skin, regardless of gender or money or all the other bullshit details that typically keep us separate.

This is our call to attendance. The time is now, the struggle just got even more real. Be peaceful. Be loving. Accept and make wise decisions that allow you to respond to life, not react to it.

We can do this. All of us, together.

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A Message For The Haters

NOH8To the white people burning down black churches, to the people refusing to serve, marry or acknowledge gay people, to men hating women and women hating women and women hating men and men hating men, to anyone who hates because they’re too afraid to simply accept what is: grow up. You think you’re going to be exercising your hate in a natural disaster when typically everyone comes together and you’re just trying to survive? You think you’re going to stop to ask someone what their sexual orientation is when your country is under attack and you need to find shelter? You think that you’re going to stop to judge someone’s skin color before reaching out to that hand sticking out from the rubble after a terrorist attack? Exactly. It won’t even cross your mind because you’ll be going on auto-pilot and auto-pilot doesn’t hate.

Keep your fear-based opinions to yourselves and grow up. We have had enough of hate and division and you’re only making it worse. After all is said and done, you will end up needing that person you’re hating on. You’ll see. Start planting the seeds of peace now.

The Heart’s Memory

I’ve recently found myself getting involved in some pretty thought-provoking discussions with friends about the state of the world. From politics to religion, from daily dramas to life and death, it seems like there is a common undercurrent of negativity that we are being fed, and given the right company and circumstances, it erupts forth and instigates a healthy dose of communication and debate.

The subjects that seem to get the conversation close to a boiling point always seem to be the same: the apparent (and seemingly inescapable) descent into the realm of complete bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and general insanity from the American Republican candidates…the utter ineptitude of the Canadian population (excluding the province of Quebec) that somehow allowed the egomaniacal lunacy of Stephen Harper to not only be elected, but to be rewarded with a majority government…the mounting tension between Iran and Israel and the countries that support each of them on their way to some sort of conflict…the state of the European economy…the state of the global economy…what separates those who are immensely wealthy from those who seemingly run after the dangling carrot of economic security. This is but a cross-section of a typical evening’s list of topics, and from the point of view of those I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with, these topics are enough to get us all sitting on the edge of our seats in anticipation of the next topic to be thrown into the arena. Throughout all the face time we’ve shared, it’s a true sense of disbelief that we end up walking away with…disbelief that we, as a race of beings, have become so polarized from logic and compassion that we now find ourselves feeling helpless as the age of stupidity drags us even further away from advancement and evolution.

In a yoga workshop last weekend with Dechen Thurman, he talked briefly about how we used to value intelligence, and how we sometimes valued it enough to elect those blessed with it to positions of leadership. He followed up on that by saying that instead of electing people based on their intelligence, we now elect people based on how they make us feel. Rarely have I been exposed to such a succinct summation of where we find ourselves as humans, and with that in mind, in keeping with connecting to how we feel, I’d like to propose the solution to dealing with a propaganda-based, media-driven world of negativity: gratitude.

In the yogic teachings, we learn yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ , that Yoga or  state of Union, is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. This cessation insinuates that we hone in on one thing as opposed to allowing the mind and our awareness to be ricocheted around like a pinball, and it’s through this honing that we gradually become aware of the veil of illusion we live behind. This veil keeps us ignorant of our true nature as beings of love and compassion, stemming from the source of all that exists. As long as we allow ourselves to stay behind the veil, we validate the daily dramas that we tend to obsess over and appoint them as a source of importance to be revered and fed. These dramas are simply a trick, something to keep us distracted, focused on the obvious when our nature is to seek out the fleeting nature of the essence hidden behind the obvious. From my point of view, the media outlets reporting on the topics that keep us all flabbergasted at the state of the world are simply feeding us fluctuations….of the collective mind. We are being thrown curve balls at every minute, and instead of trying to catch them all, we should instead focus on that which renders the distractions insignificant. We need to find gratitude. We need to take note of every seemingly innocuous detail of our lives to see where we can find blessings, and then emanate gratitude for them.

You want to know mine? Here goes: I’m grateful for this body that allows me to practice yoga and tap into the essence of the people and events around me. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful for my friends. I’m grateful for the people who support and love me and who allow me to support and love them back. I’m grateful to live in a country where I can have in-depth discussions with people without having to watch what I say for fear of being imprisoned for expressing myself. I’m grateful to be able to sleep at night. I’m grateful to the people who live their truths and inspire me daily to do the same. I’m grateful that my words reach people and occasionally make a difference in their lives. I’m grateful to be able to travel. I’m grateful to be able to meld my passions with my career. I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, and the knowledge that no matter where my path takes me, I’m taken care of. It’s through gratitude that we tap into the heart’s memory, and in one fell swoop, we draw the veil of illusion aside and can see the permanence that informs every single one of us.

We have a responsibility to each other to never take anything at face value, to seek out the truth behind the distractions. The portal to that process is gratitude. Feel it in every moment possible, and see how it changes you. Tap into your heart’s memory.

 

Flawless

Ok…so I’ve been watching Oprah. And much of what has been discussed over the past couple of weeks with the various guests she has had on the show has given me food for thought, as many of you who come to my classes can attest. Today’s episode, however, was somewhat of a wake-up call for me.

Portia de Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres’ wife, was on promoting her memoirs chronicling her battle with eating disorders, as well as growing up homosexual. She put it so succinctly when she said that she knew something was wrong with her when the fantasies that she had about how she envisioned her relationships with her closest friends of the same gender were unrequited. That was how I first clued into my homosexuality. And as most gay people do when they are painfully young and dealing with an issue of this magnitude, I completely internalized my abhorrence and grew up knowing that a) I had a secret that I could never tell anyone, and b) I was fundamentally wrong…less-than…inferior…weird, a freak, etc…What was ironic was that I was never actually exposed to homophobia or picked on because of my sexuality, but all the messages I was getting from the media and the world around me pretty much let me know that the internal voice I was victim to, the voice that was telling me that I was flawed, was right on the money. I realize that I grew up in the late 70’s and that my formative years were in the 80’s, and that times have changed, but have they really?

I remember vividly the Rock Hudson scandal in 1985 when the news broke that he had AIDS, what was then labelled as the “gay” disease. Because I couldn’t use my voice and get the weight of the secret off my chest, I immediately understood that Rock Hudson had died from AIDS because he was gay. And because I was gay, I would die. I’ll never forget my annual check-up with my GP in 1986 when I was sure that he was going to tell my mom, with me in the room, that I was dying. And I’ll never forget the feeling that I had temporarily dodged a bullet when we left that appointment unscathed. It was agony. My youth was full of moments like this. I cannot remember a time before I knew that I was attracted to men…and that it was wrong…so for those people who insist that homosexuality is a choice, my tortured childhood will hopefully silence their ignorance. Portia de Rossi’s quote, “Having to hide something like that just ruined me…it really, really killed me” perfectly describes how I remember my life until I became more aware of myself and more confident. But I wouldn’t wish the years leading up to that point on my worst enemy.

Portia de Rossi also spoke to Oprah about how if more people who were gay would come forward and say, “I’m gay…so what?”, then perhaps horrible events like the recent suicides that have garnered the world’s attention might be preventable. I know that if I had more positive gay role models when I was growing up, I definitely would have been able to go easier on myself and not feel like I was doomed. So despite my assumption that everyone who knows me knows that I’m gay, married, and incredibly proud to be able to live my life in a city like Montreal, I’m literally coming forward to say that I’m gay…and so what? In the immortal words of my mother when I came out to my parents when I was 17, “So what? It doesn’t mean you can’t be happy…it doesn’t mean you can’t be successful…it doesn’t mean you can’t live a full, meaningful life.” Thank goodness for my parents…

For those of you who harbor feelings of judgement, superiority or hatred towards people who are gay, know that you are killing people with the weight of your judgement.

For those of you who realize that gay people are not gay by choice, that for someone to come forward in a state of pure honesty & full disclosure as homosexual feels like putting one’s head on the chopping block, consider yourselves human.

Understand that every person, male or female, who comes out of the shadows of their darkest fears to let themselves be truly seen, has years of an internal dialog accumulated…one that has convinced them that they are inferior, abnormal, and not worthy of being loved AS THEY ARE. It is this internal dialog, this voice that convinces many women and men that they are too fat, too tall, too short, too ugly, too thin, too dumb, or too smart. It is this voice that has contributed to the recent suicides (and countless other not-so-recent ones) of homosexual youth around the world. It is this voice that I am on a mission to silence…forever…we are all perfect in our natural states. We are all flawless. Even those of you who truly believe that homosexuality is somehow wrong are flawless…misguided, perhaps…but flawless. We all grow up believing what we see and are taught at home and all around us, and sometimes we’re given more narrow views on the world we live in and the people we share that world with. It’s time now to be our own individuals. To tap into our own individual consciousness, and the collective universal consciousness. Where we are all the same. Where skin colour, gender, sexuality, nationality, and social class are irrelevant. Because they are. We are all citizens of this planet. And if we don’t wake up soon to realize it, we will be that much closer to contributing to our own demise.

I ask of you all to forward this on through all the avenues that social media now offers, as if this gets to one person who is struggling with their own existence and offers a glimmer of light and hope, then we all win.

Thank you Portia de Rossi. (and Oprah 😉 ).