Between Politics and Piety

Finding balance between the inner and outer worlds

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Who am I? Why am I here? Yep, it’s that kind of day. Not in a mopey sense. A real philosophical deep dive into myself.

So I’m studying Pilates, planning to get yoga certification someday in the near future. I started down this path for an entirely different reason, though. Not to be fit, although that is a plus, too. I’ve said it before, the political environment sort of drove me in this direction. I felt like we needed to get to a good place within ourselves so we could fix what is happening outside of ourselves.

I’m not expecting us to see eye to eye on everything. I’m only hoping we can speak to each other without wanting to claw each other’s eyes out. To listen to one another. I mean, my bar is pretty low here. I’m not looking for miracles, but it’s starting to feel that way.

I’m a big believer in separation of church and state. Combining the two has never worked out long-term in the past. However, on a personal voter level, it’s unrealistic to believe our personal beliefs don’t play into how we vote. They do. Myself included.

But you may ask, “What’s this have to do with a blog about meditation and yoga and that kind of stuff?” Well, yoga and meditation get us better in touch with ourselves and who we are truly at our core. As an individual. Our own personal set of beliefs.

Right now, I believe too many people identify with particular beliefs because that’s what their church tells them to believe or the community they live in tells them they should think. We are starting to rank the value of life based on labels.

Self-care — I’ll call it that for short here — also puts us in a mindset to be real in our discussions. Honesty without the anger. Empathetic to some degree … even if we don’t totally agree with someone else.

The first step to getting in touch with ourselves and who we are is learning to care for ourselves. From there, we can get to some higher discussions. Solve some problems. Hell, at least talk without a fist fight breaking out. Low bar, remember?

I realize that’s a stretch for many people. It’s how my brain works. I feel that we’re disconnected from everything … primarily because we are so connected technologically. Our bodies aren’t connected to our minds. Our minds aren’t connected to our spirit. Hardly anything is connected to our environment. We’re disconnected from one another because of the constant separation of us based race, religion, place of birth, political beliefs.

We’re not relating to each other as humans but as members of specific groups. We’re not even listening to one another. We’re definitely not relating to our planet because we rarely interact with it anymore.

I’ve been told I’m good at seeing the big picture. And I may not be good at many things, but I firmly believe I am good at seeing patterns. I am good at connecting the dots and seeing where something is headed. I honestly believe we — America specifically, but the world in general — we are not headed in a good direction.

This total disconnection and separation is the big picture. We live in a constant state of bubble life and anything outside of our bubble is bad. This has created a political system that has lost its humanity. Without humanity, a political system will not last very long because it is ignoring the biggest reason it even exists. Humans.

So why am I thinking about all this on a lovely Saturday afternoon? Because that’s how a freakazoid like me spends her free time.

Plus, I had an experience this week. It’s the same sort of experience at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017 that got me started on this blog in the first place.

I had no agenda whatsoever. I saw a human situation that touched my heart, and I reacted it to it. I shared a story on Facebook regarding a couple raising money to reunite immigrant children with their parents.  The only comment I made with the post was this: “I’m unemployed, but I’m going to contribute what I can to this.”

Just as it happened in the past (and with the exact same person at that), I was berated about the homeless veterans and children who are citizens starving to death. I had a knee-jerk reaction and responded with, “The programs that supported those groups were defunded by the Republican party.” And then I proceeded to explain that these children weren’t homeless, but that our government tore them from their families.

It would have continued except I blocked the guy. At that point, the second or third time around with this guy on different topics, I was done with him. So I did exactly what others are doing. And I was upset with myself for doing it.

I can sit and argue with the best of them. But unless the arguing is going somewhere, finding some sort of common ground or something, then it’s pointless and going nowhere. It’s arguing for argument’s sake.

The truth is yes, we should be concerned about the veteran’s and native-born children starving. My point, that I never clearly made, is that one human life is not more valuaable than another human life. These are humans, and I was simply reacting to a human cause because it was brought to my attention.

That is my point. And we need a political system that understands that all human life is valuable. One group is not more deserving than another, and we need to find a way to serve all of them. Our system has always eventually moved toward protecting human rights. Until now.

Now we’re moving toward protecting rights for certain humans over others. We can call it by any other name, but that’s what it is. That is the wrong direction. We’ve seen what happens when a country goes in this direction. We fought against it in WWII. We played a role in developing the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights to avoid this sort of thing. And now that is how we’re governing.

Does Pilates, yoga, meditation and mindfulness play a role in how we can and should govern our society? Yeah, in my fucked up brain, it makes perfect sense. We’re not identifying with ourselves as individuals, we’re identifying as groups or labels. Smaller and smaller factions that fight more and more amongst ourselves.

So I’m stuck somewhere between politics and piety.

Self-care, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, those are spiritual endeavors to me. It connects us to our bodies. Our bodies store our mind and spirit. They all interact and are connected. One cannot be fully healthy without the other parts being healthy and functioning. It is the center of where all changes start — within each of us. I cannot change you, but I can change myself.

There is something in each of us that directs us to be better. If enough of us focus on being better. On caring for ourselves, for our neighbors, our community, strangers on the street, then the world becomes better.

But I have to question myself: Is this enough? Is a blog about yoga, pilates, meditation and mindfulness enough?

I don’t know if it’s enough. All I know is that it’s a start. A place to begin. I believe it is the best way to start bringing humanity and human kindness back to the table. To incorporate humanity in the political discussion. To start looking at the greater good.

A blog that hardly anyone reads is not a lot, but it’s what I have to give. Becoming an instructor and helping others find what I’m finding is a start. That’s all I can do. Start. Take baby steps. Move in the direction I want to see the world move. Be the change, as they say.

Sure, I wish it was more. Maybe someday it will be more. Who knows, but it is what I can give now. I’m starting where I am.

I still want separation of church and state — separation of politics and piety. But, if our personal beliefs are going to play a role in our politics (and they are), then I want us coming from a place of empathy and humanity. And this is my small offering to help that happen. Maybe someday I’ll figure out a bigger way to get there, but for now, this my short-term goal. It’s my building block to re-uniting us as humans again. We’ll see where it goes.

Peace, y’all.

4 thoughts on “Between Politics and Piety”

  1. Totally enjoyed this article. For someone who appears to be very young you have insights not only regarding yourself but humanity in general that are beyond common wisdom. Yes there are homeless veterans, I came very close to becoming one of them. But there are people who are dedicated to helping them. Yes there are children who are citizens in need of help and there are those of us dedicated to helping them. When our country dedicates itself to creating a problem that wasn’t there like separating infants from their families just for political points this becomes every citizens issue of conscience. When anyone says “yes but what about our own?”. It’s usually a question aimed to divert the issue they themselves are ashamed to confront. And if asked in return what have you done for our own they usually will not have an answer. I think you have found your calling miss Tracy, calling it as you see it. You are a fresh new voice worth listening to.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I’m not so young, but I’ll take it anyway. 🙂 I think others see what I’m seeing. I’m just writing about it from time to time. I appreciate the kind words, though. I’m not sure if it’s a calling if I don’t have the answers, but we’re never going to have answers if we can’t discuss anything. That much I know. I’ll do what I can in the ways I know how. That’s all I can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Enough” is a strange concept. No, nothing is ever “enough” but it is always “sufficient.” Each person will contribute to the greater good in their own way. And you may not think impacting ONE person is “enough” but please know that it is. To serve one is to serve all (“the” one). And I think you have it right: focusing inward to initiate the outward transformation. The change always starts within.

    It’s like all those sayings go “remove the plank in your own eye before pointing out the splinter in someone else’s” and “be the change you wish to see in the world” and “how you judge others is how you, yourself, will be judged” or “physician, heal thyself.” To me, this is more than JUDGMENT or avoiding judgment. This is about looking at the self, changing the self, and changing the perspective in order to heal others. I am reminded of the parable-story of the doctor (psychiatrist??) who healed his patients by healing *their* afflictions in *himself.* This is how I view these phrases.

    If I have learned anything lately it’s just how fractal and cyclical this existence is. Everything on repeat/echo/reverb, tendrils of *what* are constantly moving outward. What is it that *you* are creating in perpetual existence? Is it love and peace?

    You can’t avoid other people’s attacks. Ernie said it pretty well that people who divert attention like that are usually dealing with some of their own issues and self-judgments. A human issue is a human issue. You are right to contribute what you can WHEN YOU CAN SEE IT. A request was made for human-help, and you listened and responded. That is all. That is paramount. That is the calling. That is love. Every human is “our own” and I am glad you are able to see that. It is a start, and more will inevitably follow.

    Spread your love and light, Tracy 😉 Blind those mother-fuckers. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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