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Tonight may very well be the worst night in political history.
I don’t know if I have enough mental energy to expend on staying up late to see who gets the final vote. But I also know that I will not be going to bed on time.
Instead, I am sitting on my hardwood floor, drinking a beer and writing this post from my yoga mat, and for several reasons:
I think drinking right now is the only sensible option we have as citizens, writing seems to be a good outlet for me tonight, and my mat feels like a safe place from which to welcome this “new era.”
Some candles are lit, incense has long ago died out, and I’m seriously wondering how detrimental it is to use a diffuser if you pour some alcohol into it…
Tonight, I taught a wonderful group of yogis. As I watched them settle into savasana, I thought about the presidential election. I didn’t want to speak about it because I didn’t know who voted for whom, and I certainly don’t want a political circus to come between my teaching and my reputation.
Regardless, this election affects us all. We’re all implicated in some way, because regardless of who we voted for, we are woven into the thread of this final decision. What happens the next day and the day after that is what matters for us all, and I was wrong to think otherwise. This matters. As much as it hurts, it matters.
So, as the students close their eyes, their tired bodies surrendering perhaps for the first time tonight, I think about hope.
It’s safe to say that neither of our candidates in America tonight are coming to their task with clean slates. Trump makes my skin crawl. He insults my intelligence as a woman, as a refugee, and as a minor.
Hillary scares the hell out of me. And I have vowed at the beginning of this race to never vote for any candidate based on their gender. I don’t think Susan B. Anthony died so that women can go out and vote for another woman, purely out of the reason that her foolish counterpart is a prick. I have a vagina, but I don’t vote with one. My vote will always respect a woman in power, but that power damn better be clean and authentic. This one just isn’t.
So my intention tonight was to settle on hope. This election can divide us more than we’ve ever been divided before. It can separate us and force us to lunge at another like angry dogs. Or it can remind us that we still have space in which to live and love another day.
Instead of wondering which one of my students voted one way or another, I looked at them for what they were doing right in that minute: letting go, surrendering. They were in a yoga class for which they paid, so that they could move their body, still their mind, and sit with their breath. They did something for themselves. They listened to what I had to say and they moved with intention and compassion. That’s hope, right there. Hope for a conscious collective.
And with that, I move on from this election. Because as long as there are people in this world who are willing to make themselves better people, even by going to a 75 minute yoga class, I will be hopeful and grateful for our home here.
I’ve always said this and I will continue to do so: there are still good people in this world. Sometimes, you just have to remind them how good they inherently are. That’s hard to do when you have fear and anger and political backlashing, but that’s not the kind of world in which I want to live.
So if we don’t like our world, we can change the way we think and act. The rest? It will follow. Because nothing changes for the better before we, ourselves, are changed for the better, too.
Onwards and upwards, my friends.
This, too, shall teach us to be kind, compassionate, and mindful.
Author: Aleksandra Slijepcevic
Image: Author’s Own/WikiCommons
Editor: Travis May