In between becoming irrationally angry at the price of razor blades* and drinking an excessive amount of caffeine today, I got a notification that the interview I did last week went up online.
The Native Society contacted me with a list of questions, and while I could have used this as my #500wordsaday, I will not because I am pious and self-regulatory, and so you can read the interview HERE.
Most of my answers were things I have said before, or at least have believed firmly enough for long enough to come up with readily. The Biggest Challenge question, though, that one stopped me.
One of my biggest pet peeves in the yoga industry is how many classes are led by teachers who act like this is all easy or simple or like nothing bad happens in this rosy world of stretchy limbs. Look, the human condition is difficult, and breathing is surprisingly hard, so if you tell me that everything is perfect and all we have to do to fix the world is hold a plank, well, I might think you haven’t had anything real happen to you.
The flip side of this, of course, is running the risk of using challenges as a sort of “being real” badge. A martyr syndrome. I am doing the most because I’ve had it the worst. This, though, happens less frequently in yoga circles where “nothing bad happens,” and more often in social justice circles where “everything bad happens.”
In thinking about my own challenges, it occurred to me that navigating between those extremes is the biggest one.
I started out, just out of college, with a charge to change things (lo, the Achievement Gap!) but with no regard for the lifestyle** I could have under such a weight to bear. When it came time to, as my mom said, “put beauty back” in my life, I had no clear picture for how to do it without erasing all of the work I had fought for and still believed was so necessary.
This is partly because there is no clear picture for that, which in turn is partly because everything around us is separated so drastically that no one is actively painting one. No one tells you that if you make yourself comfortable, that you can also change the world.
But you can, so let me be that person, the one who paints this for all of us - you can have joy in your life and also make a difference.
As long as we are living within the confines of a human experience, one in which we are pulled in drastically differing directions, I would argue that knowing what beauty is in your life gives you a stronger sense of what is true and important.
*BUT WHY? I had to talk myself out of buying a single, whole razor rather than the 5-pack of blades because I have to remind myself of foresight sometimes, but also this has to do with income inequity and the survivalist trap and might have to be a whole post on its own.
**A lifestyle of eating only peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon and crying a lot.