This past week has been just terrible. Moments of overwhelm & sadness. Murky memories rupturing into my present experience when they should be gathering dust. I stopped & sobbed & watched another woman choose bravery. And as I finally found my feet grounding me & remembered my breath breathing me alive, I thought about how to start again. I suppose I start where I always return: the practice.
If we’re not taught consent on the playground when he pulls your hair because he “likes you” then I have to be explicit in my yoga teaching that I DO NOT have a right to your body or your space without your consent. Consent has to be taught & it has to be ongoing.
Because honoring personal boundaries is a matter of basic respect.
Because it’s violent to assume that trauma dissipates when we step into a yoga space.
Because ahimsa (non-harming) begins with honoring choice & reinforcing wholeness.
Because I’ve been that student who felt weird about saying “no” (when the teacher’s hands were already on me) & was injured from her assumption that I could be “more flexible” in that forward fold. It was a similar feeling to letting that guy’s hand stay on my inner thigh—it didn’t feel good, but it’s wasn’t worth making a scene.
Because I’d rather be overly cautious than add one more drop of self-doubt or shame. The world doubts & shames us enough. Enough.
And because I know that touch—intentional & consensual touch—can be profoundly powerful & healing.
Consent cards aren’t perfect. But they are a start.
The yoga practice asks us to bring awareness to the different dances within and around us: Am I ruminating or predicting? Am I prioritizing form over feeling? Does the heat of comparison overtake the warmth of connection?
And every time I look to involve myself on social media, am I writing from satya (truth-telling) or am I centering whiteness? Am I taking action or am I just taking up space? Do my intentions align with my impact?
Is it ego or is it justice?
I am beautifully tangled up in these questions. And with each passing day of spiritual practice I choose to stay bound up in the reality of human suffering and the possibility of collective liberation because I am not separate. White supremacy aims to (no, it absolutely does) prioritize my comfort and cushion my spiritual path. So I have to actively stay uncomfortable because, as Michelle Johnson wrote in @skillinaction , discomfort is the key to transformation.
The work is listening. The work is love & spirit in action. The work is a mirror and the mirror probably has a sh*t ton of filth all over it.
And if the work becomes dharma?
Then the work is never done.