Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chapter Three: Occupy Your Body

it starts with YOU!
Let's forgo a whole lot of suspense and drama with this big ol' Spoiler Alert: The only person you can ever really significantly hope to change or control is yourself, home fry. March and occupy and scream and wave signs all you want to, but if you don't make internal shifts to become the person who can inhabit a new, elevated world, how in the heck do you expect the people of Wall Street to do so?

And make no mistake: as much as some might want to demon- and other-ize the "1%", they are people. They were born of mothers who loved them fiercely just like you were. They eat and breathe and make love and feel pain and elation. Separation is not the answer. What we need more than anything else in this world at this time is a softening to one another. We need to get real soft and real gentle, to begin to see our own reflection mirrored back in the eyes of those who seem so very foreign and so very "other." These big, nasty egos keep us apart, tell us that we are so special and so righteous and so different from one another, but we are really all just spiritual beings sharing a human experience. And we are ALL human.

All that aside, none of that is really any of my business. "What is your business?" you ask. This inhale and this exhale. This typing and sharing of my thoughts on the subject of the shifting times. I cannot control or change you (as much as I may want to!) and you cannot control or change me. If you change, it is because you allowed change to occur. I can lead you to water but I surely cannot make you drink.

We have far more control over our own bodies and minds than I think we even want to own up to because it means being accountable for so very much. But this is the really exciting thing about growing up! You get to be in total (reasonable) control over your external and internal environments. You can choose to leave or to stay, where to work, who to spend time with, what to eat, etc, etc. Sometimes the myriad of choices to be made can be overwhelming, but they are our choices to make and the source of such enormous power. This is power to be cherished and not be signed away lightly.

Above all else, though, I believe the most important choice we make is what Viktor Frankl called "the last of the human freedoms: the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances." It is this internal, mental and emotional control that allows us to thrive when we loose the ability to influence our external environments- when disease, injury, death and natural disasters step in and sweep us off our feet. We get to choose how to view what is happening, whether we feel victimized or empowered, destroyed forever or forever resilient, and how to integrate the experience.

Yoga helps me to occupy my body- to be aware of the quality of my breath, tightness in my jaw, my posture.
Meditation helps me to occupy my mind- to be conscious of my thoughts, to intuit the outcome of actions not yet taken.

Together, these are my tools to become a person who can successfully inhabit this rapidly shifting, elevating world. While I can get behind large public displays of civil disobedience, I am also aware that collective change is impossible without individual change. Go ahead and put your money into credit unions. Peacefully occupy city centers all over the world. But the most revolutionary act you can hope to achieve is to occupy your own body, mind and heart, and to Master Yourself.

Your body, mind and heart are your domain, my body, mind and heart are my domain. This is your dance space. This is my dance space. We can support one another in our journeys to discover and live in alignment with our highest, truest, most authentic selves, but we cannot master one another. I can totally understand the desire to keep an external focus on other people's business and avoid looking inward, but other people's business is just that: none of yours. Don't you have enough to do already? Self-mastery is a full time job and you are the only qualified applicant, so get to work. The world changes because you do.

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