“Evil is everywhere, and anger and hatred are loud. The shouting drowns out the quiet; tragedy and disaster block the view of the good. Yet there are always signs of progress toward a better future. Look, or you may miss them.” - from the NY Times, December 2015
I meant to send this out last week. In fact, there’s a lot of times I want to reach out to you and share my thoughts, but I know you get a lot of emails, and I’d prefer not to add to the cacophony too often.
Still, what a year. From a personal perspective, it was one of change: my youngest child became a college freshman and my husband and I are embarking on the “empty nester” time of life. Ashtanga Yoga Northampton moved from being my sole responsibility to being cooperatively owned and run by all of its teachers. And, I finally traveled for the first time to India this past October - a dream of mine for over two decades.
Collectively, it was a year that brought the forefront some serious human-caused problems that have been brewing and plaguing our world for centuries, to name a few: unceasing global wars and unrest, ever-present global poverty and famine, the proliferation of ignorant terror attacks, the acceleration of senseless gun violence in our own country, the shame of our continued institutionalized racism, and of course, the destruction of so much of our planet and its ecosystems, that we seem to be on course for a mass extinction of countless species - perhaps even our own.
It’s hard not to get discouraged by the suffering and pain that are so prevalent on our little blue planet, by the suffering we experience as individuals and as a species. It certainly doesn’t help that much of our media and many American politicians seem insistent on fostering a culture of xenophobia that exacerbates this feeling of separation, isolation, discouragement and apathy.
Nevertheless, if you’re a “cup half full” kind of person, as I am, there were many things that happened in 2015 that give me hope, too, some of which are wonderfully outlined in this editorial in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/25/opinion/moments-of-grace-in-a-grim-year.html?_r=0
It’s worth reading.
And, because I’m an optimist, rather than get discouraged by this increasingly mad world, I am planning on doing more of the following in 2016 to help alleviate my own angst and helplessness, and perhaps shed a little light - in no particular order:
Changing the whole world is an impossible task. But, it is possible to start making positive changes within yourself to raise your own vibration, to increase your own sense of light and lightness. Doing yoga together is another small thing you can do - because it fosters community, it helps connect you with others, and it spreads goodwill and cheerfulness. Plus, studies show, the more people you come into contact with, the healthier you become. You raise your own vibration when you do yoga with us. You raise our vibration when you walk up those stairs and roll out a mat and breath with us. And, you raise the vibration of people you come into contact with after you practice, too. It’s a win-win-win, whenever you do your practice.
I believe it’s the small changes we make in ourselves that might lead us all towards the light, towards a better world, not only for our fellow human beings, but for all life on our planet. It begins at an individual level and can spread outward, like ripples in a pond.
Please join us at AYN in 2016 to practice yoga with us. We are here to support and serve you, to be your community of like-minded folks, and we look forward to practicing with you this year.
Happy New Year, from all of us at AYN,
Michelle, Georgiann, Meghan, Alicia, and Anna