Peace y’all. What I’m Leaving Behind in 2016
This year had its share of grief, but mostly it was a time when complacency was torn asunder. Everyone on the right and the left, every sex, color and nationality, rich or poor, everyone was jostled out of a long decade’s nap of okayness.Consciousness may be uncomfortable, but it does make things clearer. It gives us the opportunity to make the future a more considerate place. This is what 2016 taught me, and what I’m letting go of for the coming year.The ‘Activists’ on Instagram. See ya.I’m a child of the sixties. In my day, activists changed the world by protesting, volunteering and championing various causes. We boycotted companies and held fast on picket lines. We rolled up our sleeves and did the work. We marched on the White House, sat in the streets, brought food to protestors, went to jail for a cause, took low-paying jobs for non-profits if they made a difference.Today, the new “activists” don’t really act. They whine. They don’t get out in their communities; they take selfies praying. Their idea of activism is shaming others on the internet. They say they are ‘passionate human beings,’ but really they are knee-jerk combative folks who do not take their meds or meditate. They use current issues for self-promotion. A yogi works with community, to choose love, to have compassion, to teach and to learn. They don’t spout verbal abuse like the girl in the exorcist.These days the internet feels like we are wading in a whole lot of pea soup with a few people getting rich off of this so-called activism. It’s not activism, it’s self-promotion and bullying. Just because someone took a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training doesn’t make them God. We are never the judge or jury of who is a good person. See ya ‘activists.’ I’m hanging with people who volunteer, who seek ways to come together rather than drive each other apart, who apply the yoga sutras to life, and who want to make a difference in the world, one person at a time. And that doesn’t always garner the big likes on Instagram.Those with Low Self Esteem. Wouldn’t want to be ya.It must be terrible to think you suck 24-7. I’m sad for you, really I am. With all that is going on in the world today, to make everything about you must be exhausting. The thing is, low self-esteem is a virus, but I don’t happen to suffer from it. Of course I have moments of self-doubt. There are times when I’m afraid. But I try not to wallow. And what do strong, self-confident women get? Taken down. I’m calling it the “Hillary Syndrome." Madonna suffers from it too."Thank you for acknowledging my ability to continue my career for 34 years in the face of blatant misogyny, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse," Madonna said recently, accepting her award as the Billboard Woman of the Year. She noted that most often the abuse came from other women who felt threatened by her power and confident sexuality.Women, don’t do this. It is counterproductive. If you want what Hillary Clinton, Madonna and other powerful women are having, then let us help you. Let us show you the way to more."Seek out strong women to befriend, to align yourself with, to learn from, to collaborate with, to be inspired by, to support, and be enlightened by," Madonna said. Can I get an amen?I don’t believe that playing small so others can feel better about themselves serves women in the long run. I’m here to help you if you want it. But I’m saying goodbye to being pathetic so you can feel better.Those who are Unkind, thank ya.Anyone who has suffered loss or heartbreak knows how fragile life can be. I admire those who persevere after pain not in anger, but in love. A two year old may hit another for taking a toy, but by our twenties we need a more measured response to life’s disappointments. The heroes of our world are those who consciously choose kindness over hate, even after, or especially after, being hurt.My challenge is to stay open and compassionate in the face of unkindness. This does not mean that I subject myself to people’s abuse. I’ve got some “Cray-Dar” now, which is internal radar for “Crazy.” When the Universe shows me a person who is unhinged, dishonest or just downright mean, I believe it. I am less inclined to give second, third or fourth chances. What I leave behind is being a redeemer for these people. They may learn a better way, but it will be on their dime, not mine.My motto for the year ahead is go where you are loved. Work where you are wanted. Spend time with those who are kind and wish the assholes well. Peace y’all. You are going to need it.Michelle Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She is the author of two books on yoga and a regular yoga columnist. Her next book, “Fearless after Fifty with Yoga” will be published in 2017. You can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com and find more of her wit and wisdom on www.YogiMuse.com.