Be the Change. As much as Gandhi’s words have become, perhaps, overused, I still feel warm-hearted when I see them with a pretty photo backdrop as a friend’s Facebook share. They are heart-centered, uplifting by nature. And yet I remember when it was first suggested to me in a yoga class, some 20+ years ago, that my yoga practice benefitted the entire planet, I doubted it. I wanted to believe that it could, and it even felt really good to imagine that it could. But, when my mind considered it, it made no sense. When I looked at the idea with the focus of a magnifying glass, it fell apart – my little mind, my little world, my little self. “Practicing yoga is selfish,” I heard my little mind say. How could this practice that I thought was so selfish benefit the world? Even as I couldn’t see that it did, I decided that, for a while each week, I could be selfish.
Over the years I added other practices – meditation, alternative therapies, body work, essential oils. With each new addition, I still felt selfish. And, I felt better. When I left a class or a session, I glowed. This was met with different reactions from different people. Sometimes I would walk into work, and my self-care glow was met with scowls. This reaction confirmed to me that these practices must certainly be selfish acts. And, now I look back and consider that their reactions can come from any variety of story, just as my conclusion about their reactions came from my story. Another time I was walking down the street and heard from a stranger, “You’re glowing! Whatever you’re taking, I want it!” I chose to enjoy this freely-given comment, and it sparked in me a desire to share that these acts of being selfish just might actually have a way to benefit others.
When our younger daughter was 7, she sat in meditation with me. After practicing with me for a few days, we were in the car, and from the back seat I heard, “Mommy?” “Yes, honey, what is it?” “Mommy…the world would be a better place if everyone meditated. People would be happier and nicer to each other.” And so perhaps we choose these acts of self-care, whether or not we yet know, at the core of our being, that the glow is vibrating out to those around us, and on to the world at large. Consider choosing to be selfish, to care for yourself. Through these choices, we are the change.