At the dawn of a new day, can it really be a new year?
I woke up to 2021 and felt blank. Quiet. Clear. I had nothing left in me to anticipate. To be anxious over. No banging heartbeat against my chest. No tingling, restlessness in my legs. No dizzying, swirly, rushing what do I do, what can I do, what happens now and next running into each other in my mind.
Is this equanimity or exhaustion? No, this is my body instinctively anticipating that it cannot trust 2021.
I remain overrun from the year 2020 that has come and gone. I gave all I could with what I could to 2020. It gave little in return.
My nervous system is shot. I know I am not the only one.
Over 19 million Americans are out of full-time work. Over 300,000 people have died from COVID-19. My memory won’t let me unsee the televised deaths of Black people at the knee, forearms, and lethal aim of police. I cannot forget the marches calling for change and the state riot gear unleashed on protesters thereafter.
Instead, we will all remember where we were and what we were in the middle of doing the day armed rioters with Confederate flags and Make America Great Again hats stormed and looted the Capitol building. Where was the National Guard and militarized police then?
So, I wrote.
I wrote about ahimsa. On yoga, wellness, and Black Lives in 2020. A tapestry of voices from yoga instructors transmuting trauma into healing. These stories grew from the Elephant Journal piece I penned in a moment of fatigue and clarity—Amplify Black Voices: Yoga, you can do better.
I am a sister to two Black men I call my brothers. Daughter to a Black man I call my father.
When the time comes, I will give birth to a little Black child, they will call me mother.
I write with grief for us all: Jacob, George, Rayshard, Ahmaud, Breonna, Elijah, Sandra, Freddie, Eric, Trayvon, knowing there is little humanity, little redemption for Black people condemned as monsters and hunted in the eyes of the law. It is a particular grieving pain that mothers who birth Black children and light into the world feel in our bones.
I was yearning for deeper conversation and contemplative action fit for this moment we are living through. Ahimsa, often translated as non-harm, does not mean nonaction. It does not mean check out and detach from the suffering you witness.
I crafted this piece because I was and am overtired watching the words and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrangled to suppress and silence the very people his words were meant to inspire to act. I crafted this piece for your yoga instructor, studio owner, and friend who’s having trouble living their yoga.
This country knows we have more work ahead of us. The work does not end because 2020 has. Stay committed.
Ahimsa, the audiomemoir on yoga, wellness, and Black Lives in 2020 is out now on podcast platforms. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify.
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