December 24, 2013

Rumi is My Homeboy. ~ Melissa Petty


“Rumi is Social Media Crack Cocaine.” ~ Waylon Lewis

I’m one of those people.

I use beautifully constructed, typographically interesting, colorful, pinterest-worthy Rumi quotes to brighten my day—and others. I don’t play favorites though; I also like Osho, Joesph Campbell and various writers and musicians. I also post Instagram pictures of myself doing yoga. Sue me.

Inspiration is inspiration, plain and simple.

You don’t have to be a Rumi scholar in order to understand his message. Do I think that Rumi was a cool guy? Absolutely. I think that is evidenced by the fact that his words are still relevant almost 750 years after his death.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Rumi would probably be pretty pleased with the fact that people are still quoting him because the words he wrote have a universal and timeless quality to them.

I don’t think he did it all for the personal accolades and babes. This is all conjecture though, because none of us will ever know Rumi’s motives.

Do I think that he envisioned his quotes transposed over a landscape photo in 16 point font?

Most likely not.

However, I’m going to venture to guess that he didn’t take himself that seriously (based on the number of times he mentioned being drunk and a fool).

When we become haughty about (truly) inconsequential things like Rumi quotes floating about social media outlets, it makes us look like pretentious exclusive snobs. A real “uberhipsterspiritualist” move—now that this thing is popular, let’s slam it and pretend that we never liked it to begin with.

I don’t think that social media is cheapening the message. I think it’s making it more accessible, which is a good thing, right?

As a yoga teacher, social media is the way that I connect with both current and potential students. It’s not to gain more “fans,” because yoga isn’t about me (although, gifts are always accepted—a joke). Contrary to popular belief, I don’t see social media as a barrier between people. As a holder of many unpopular beliefs, I stand by this thought. Maybe it’s the fact that I have a healthy relationship with my technology.

I have friends and acquaintances from “back home” (as many as 11 hours away from where I currently live) that send me questions about yoga, tell me that they’re taking their first class, ask me advice on mats and styles. Do I claim to be an expert? Hell no.

But if I have (even in the smallest way) helped them come to yoga, then I consider that a win.

If posting a quote or a picture entices people through the doors of the studio—I’m going to do it.

If posting a quote or a picture provokes some sort of feeling or conversation—I’m going to do it.

It’s foolish to think that we can undo the current trends in society. Instead, I think it’s important that we employ them in a way to foster deeper connections. Using the tools that we have on hand to inspire others rather than to bring them down.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Courtesy of Author


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Melissa Petty