For Only Love Can Conquer Hate

This post was originally published July 16, 2016 after the Orlando Nightclub Shooting

My heart has been hurting lately.  I've felt an unease since the events that unfolded throughout last week (Orlando Nightclub Shooting). I'm trying to wrap my mind around what is happening, why and how do we as a society, a country, a human race, overcome the hate and fear that seems to spread like an ember when it lands on dried timber.

I see people I grew up with spew hateful, awful words throughout their social media, people I know personally who aren't bad people at all or even close to it, but their rhetoric is frightening.  It scares me how quickly people turn to hate, fear and gross, disgusting words to describe people or movements. This is all far worse outside of my tiny world and social circle I know, and I've just felt so restless and unsure of what to DO about it.

I felt that way this morning as I prepared for my Yoga in the Park class - how can I help spread peace when I'm not feeling peaceful myself? I believe what we feed our bodies (food, exercise, water, etc.) is in relation to how we feel physically and what we feed our minds (thoughts, meditation, prayer, affirmations) is in relation to how we feel mentally/spiritually. And I refuse to believe there is more hate and fear in this world than there is good and love.   

All I can do as a teacher is give what I have, meet myself exactly where I am in the moment - without judgement - and lead the practice in a way that might help cultivate some peace and love within those who were coming today.  I was not feeling confident in my mission as I did not feel confident in where I was.

I began by sharing this intention for the practice, in what I felt came off as slightly shaky and unsure, then asked my students to do the same - find their intention, cultivate good, cultivate light, cultivate peace - but most of all just try to be present and breathe.  It seems that at the very least that's what I could give them, was to be present with them and breathe.

 

Photo Credit to Shane Snider - thanks for the shot!

With a heat index of 95 degrees I stood in the sun with goosebumps head to toe watching as everyone breathed together, as a stranger played songs of peace over his speaker and those sounds came washing over us.  

After, I had someone thank me for the gift this class was to her and her son, that it seemed the weight of the world had been on her shoulders and she needed to feel some peace - she and her son hadn't even been at class to hear the mission I began with, but she felt it.  I thanked the man playing the music, who offered to play me whatever I want when I have class outside.  

And here I was reminded how wonderful people are, that there is so much more love in this world than hate and how just being present and breathing is enough.  

This practice, this gift of teaching never ceases to surprise or amaze me.  Thank you.