October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and it couldn’t come at a better time. This is the perfect opportunity to remind everyone, especially our (the United States) country’s leaders about treating all people with kindness and respect. In case you’ve missed it, our current leadership has played a role in bullying all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons, but the one common factor of that bullying is that the people being bullied look or sound different than our President does.
Difference is a state of mind, we can look at someone else and see how differently they look, sound or act from the way we look, sound or act, or we can begin to build a common ground by recognizing how we are the same, instead. Now please don’t mistake my comments to mean that we should ignore our differences, rather it’s important to acknowledge diversity from every perspective. And, it’s important that, in order to build community, we see how alike each of us truly is, too. We are blessed to have a rich tapestry of diversity around us, and we need to be better at being grateful to that diversity and for the tremendous opportunity to do so.
Unfortunately, when we choose to focus our attention only on the differences, we miss out on finding common interests, and bettering our world. In turn, we are more likely to treat others disrespectfully, and that is isolating. We live in a society, in which it is easier to tear others down than it is to build them up, but why? Why is it easier to impose ourselves on others and make them change to suit our needs and wants? Probably because change feels scary and so it seems safer to create a space of putting down, but what if all we really needed to change were our thought patterns?
Remember how yoga is full of intention, but patterns are the opposite of intention, patterns are mindless behaviors which we’ve cultivated, created, and which can be broken with just a little bit of work! Just like stopping a habit which isn’t good for us, like smoking, it takes planning and forethought, but once we’ve stopped to think we have the power to react differently, to treat other people better than we have in the past. Yoga can help us with this through the process of journaling; remember yoga isn’t just about the poses, it’s about always working to have the best intentions in everything we do. In journaling we can practice using our best words, and when in real-life we fell into negative patterns of behavior we can reflect on why and how to be more thoughtful next time.