The practice of mindfully observing silence in a world full of noise and distraction can be healing, grounding and so important for spiritual growth. There are many times when saying nothing, just listening, just being in the empty space of no-words is the best and highest choice.
We spend so much of our lives mindlessly gabbing and chattering, flinging opinions around thoughtlessly, impulsively spouting off. We would do well to learn to close the one mouth we have and stretch open our two ears and just be in receptive mode. Silence is often golden.
But there are times when terrible things happen. Times when we notice a great injustice. And we clam up, say nothing and go about our day of self-absorbed, desire-based activities. This silence is far from golden. This silence is negligent.
This morning I read an article written by Rachel Rice that woke me up. Challenged me to pull my head up out of my cozy little hole here where I have been focusing on de-stressing, green smoothies, morning yoga and self-esteem boosting exercises and notice there's a really horrible thing happening just a couple states away from mine.
Don't get me wrong. I truly believe in the work I am doing here to help women over 40 choose and create healthy habits so they can thrive in life. My typical client and customer is a woman over the age of 40 who lives a financially comfortable life, has many privileges and is able and willing to take action to get her own health (mental, physical and spiritual) in line. No apologies there and that will continue to be my mission.
But I also realized this morning in the throes of developing this online marketplace for women over 40, I've been hunkered down in this world of upper middle class women like myself so much I've not been paying enough attention to what's going on in this country so close to home.
So, I'm lifting my head up and getting off my lululemon-wearing fanny and setting my green smoothie down for a minute.
The events of Ferguson, MO are showing us that there is still a lot of injustice, hatred, and anger among us in this country. There is deep, hateful division. And each one of us can look at what has happened, what is still going on and step up and take responsibility. What can we do? How can we extend ourselves, give of ourselves in a way that is compassionate, giving, kind? How can we help overcome this terrible problem?
I, for one, will be keeping my head up and making an effort to extend kindness to others everywhere I go today. I will expand my mind's train of thought and look for where I can be of service not only for my fellow upper-middle class friends, clients and neighbors but outside of those circles.
What can you do? Begin with noticing when you are mindlessly gabbing - insert some mindful silence.
And when you notice someone being mistreated or you hear someone making a disrespectful comment, speak up.
It's all too easy to get complacent. Too easy to sink into our cushy, cozy lives and overlook the suffering around us.
While we all deserve to experience peace and rest, while it is good and right to take care of our bodies, minds and spirits so that we are able to show up in life in a meaningful way, let us not get so caught up in the feel-good process of body+mind+spirit work that we forget to be of service.
Seva in Sanskrit means "service" and it is a very important part of the path of Yoga.
We definitely need to learn to care for ourselves as women over 40. Many of us have dedicated our lives to caring for others. As we fill our own tank and begin to feel healthy and strong in every way, let's just remember to pass it on and continue to give of ourselves to others.