Balancing the Notion of Ahimsa & My Job as a Journalist ~ Lesley Lotto

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on Oct 1, 2012
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What is the purpose of life? To elevate all, big or small. ~ Yogi Bhajan

Could these words be any truer than they are today?

We’re at an interesting time in political history—our first black President, and what appears on the outside, to be an obstructionist Congress.

Yep, I said it. But this isn’t something I picked up from watching too much MSNBC or Fox News. I am a working journalist. My job is to report news/facts to hundreds of radio stations across the country. It’s a delicate balance of making sure you’re bipartisan—reporting right down the middle so nobody thinks you’re leaning one way or the other.

I don’t feel like I’m a liberal because I certainly lean Republican on some things. I desperately hate those labels anyway. And, why oh why, does it matter? Unlike the television show Newsroom, news anchors don’t announce their party affiliation on the air. There is no editorializing ever.

An interesting thing happened on the way to yoga class—I wondered: how great would it be to use my voice for something other than reporting doom and gloom.

I decided years ago, I would become a yoga teacher. But, I could never get away to learn for a month at a time. So, when my favorite local teacher, here in Montana, brought in her favorite teacher from New York for a two-hundred hour training, I jumped. Oh what fun— nearly a year of weekend modules!

When I started, I knew the asana part would be fun. I mean, really, three days filled with yoga, then days after, to ponder. What a beautiful distraction! But then, what’s all this Nama and Niyama stuff… and the eight limbed what..? And KirtanWow—color me so very baffled.

After the first month, I tuned into the fact I was the only one chattering away like an idiot, questioning every single philosophical droplet. It became obvious that this was going to be the difficult part. How can I balance the notion of ahimsa and the evil that people do that I have to report every single day in my job? Then, to look at myself in the mirror and say, hello beautiful..?  I was insecure! 

After one particularly enlightening weekend, where I’m sure I had a Kundalini rising (my second in six years), I let go a whole lot. I changed. I talked to my teacher, on a private hike in the mountains, and asked her about the balance of my work and the yogic life.

“It’s a lifetime practice,” she wisely told me.

As the months passed and my studies became a whole lot deeper, I started to teach kids yoga to under-served girls, which fed the part of my soul being sucked dry by my career. (Caveat: I seriously love what I do, so that should be stated, but there are days when I want to cry—the Colorado movie theater shooting, anyone?

This month was my last training weekend. It was such a deep and meaningful experience, something I will not likely forget. We have studied, practiced and cried for months, and now, here we are, sharing all that we learned with a hungry public, eager to hear us, see us and feel us.

We raised money for a local women’s organization, and we feel good. But, what’s this doom and gloom slapping me in the face the day after?  It’s all of these horrible political postings on Facebook! Seriously hateful rhetoric that’s mostly seated in ignorance.  Ahimsa. I am in a deep quandary again.

Why do I do what I do?

People tell me it’s a service and I’m delivering information. Okay,  I’ll buy that. And besides, I cannot take a vow of silence for a day—I speak for a living.  But, I can vow not to repeat the vile hate in a public forum, and instead use the knowledge I’ve gained as a working yogi journalist, to inform those who will listen.

Are you listening?


Lesley Lotto has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years as a radio broadcaster and talent agent. Lesley’s from Los Angeles, but moved to Montana in 2005 to program Montana’s first Progressive Talk Station.  After a short time she started her own small news network for under-served radio stations across the county. But, it wasn`t long before Lesley was picked up by one of the top talk radio networks in the county as a regular news anchor. Lesley spends her leisure time with her husband and 2 kids in Missoula, MT, teaches and practices Yoga and hikes with her 3 dogs in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  [email protected] 


Editor: Nikki Di Virgilio

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One Response to “Balancing the Notion of Ahimsa & My Job as a Journalist ~ Lesley Lotto”

  1. Jill Barth says:

    Interesting piece. Thanks!