Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What have you been practicing for?

What have you been practicing for?

Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag

This is the question of the week, 

“If you wonder what you would have done to help the Underground Railroad, the tireless mission of the suffragettes, during the early years of the civil rights movement, or during the rise of the Nazi rĂ©gime— 

know this- 

you are doing it now."

Consider, that you have been practicing for today.

Consider, that yoga practice is not a practice of getting really good at being really good on your mat.  I guess it can be. Not for me. I am practicing to be the person I hope for myself. To be silent now is to condone what is happening. To be in inaction now, is to yield to those who are in action. 

I grew up in the 1970s and 80s. As a military child, I lived all over this beautiful United States of America.

From coast-to-coast, I was raised to love and respect each of my neighbors as fellow Americans worthy of every human right.

The daughter of an English teacher, I was raised to admire scholars and poets for their ability to make art of their unmatchable paths in life- never wanting any one of us to be too like another as it would dull the magic, the beauty, the surprise inherent in our art and risk the vibrancy, the source-threads that make up the glorious tapestry that is the narrative of the United States of America.

I was raised to believe that the United States of America is the safe place for people who weren’t safe other places. That we are that great father and mother that hold out our arms for those who might be hurt or go hungry somewhere else.

I was raised to see the wonder that comes from this kind of open-hearted, open-armed love and acceptance that makes us all so much richer.

What I saw and heard yesterday was not the United States of America that I was raised to know and love. And I knew, in my heart, THIS is what I have been practicing for.

I am practicing to support my commitment to our work in Yogis in Service that connects all of us, from across this beautiful city of Buffalo and over oceans from the Middle East to Africa- in service of something bigger than anyone of us-- our love of and service in support of each other.  

I practice to be the change I want to see in this world and so that I will be strong enough to do it with grace.

I practice so that I don’t get tired, because I have a feeling this is going to take some time.

I practice because you can’t give what you don’t have. Only inner peace can support world peace.

I practice so that I am aware. So I can feel and see each and every thing that is happening.

I practice so that I have the courage to say, “No, this is not okay. This can’t happen. Not here. Not now.”

I practice because I believe in me and us.

Why do I practice?

So I can keep working on love no matter what. 

What are you practicing for? 

Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag