For some of you, today holds no special meaning.
For others, it’s the eve of the religious holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ.
And for others, it’s the eve of a special day that brings you together with family to celebrate tradition and exchange gifts with those you love.
However you view this day,
I invite you to consider giving yourself the gift of
Peace and Ahimsa.
Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word.
And it’s one of the yoga practices called “yamas” that teach us how to be in the world.
They’re a bit like ethical guidelines.
Depending on the translation,
Ahimsa means non-violence or non-harming or kindness toward all living things.
I’ve been thinking about writing on this topic of Ahimsa for the past month.
And then out of the blue came the tragic school shooting in Connecticut.
So, it’s time.
In my little world, my biggest teachers and reminders of Ahimsa
are my children, Ian and Miles.
I’m pretty sure they were sent to me to teach me
Patience, Infinite Love, and the importance of Being Fully Present.
But one of my biggest challenges as a parent of two young, energetic boys,
is not losing my cool.
So, I’ve committed myself to dedicating the year 2013 to further exploring Ahimsa.
Not only in terms of learning how to stand firmly in non-violence as a parent,
but also in terms of how I engage with the world.
I want to further expand my commitment to ethical treatment of animals.
I’m not vegan, though I’ve tried to walk that road before.
But, what I can do is become even more aware of how the farmers I buy my meat from treat their animals.
This is why I’m a big proponent of buying local through Fair Food, CSAs, farmers markets, and the like.
This past year I learned about the horrific slave labor conditions in most clothing manufacturing around the world, and so I’m open to exploring different ways of purchasing items from companies that provide a living wage and decent working conditions for their employees.
One way I do that in Philadelphia is by shopping at SaVa, a sustainably-minded clothing manufacturer that designs, cuts, sews, and sells its clothes all in my local area.
What I struggle most with, though, is limiting my children’s exposure to violence.
A majority of boys’ mainstream toys have some element of fighting to them,
and commercial television is so full of guns and fighting that it’s troubling.
For now, my husband and I sound like a broken record with our mantra of “don’t play with toy guns or toy tanks or toy bombs…”, and when our kids watch TV it’s almost always something on the PBS Kids Sprout channel.
Hopefully these messages at home, combined with a peace-oriented curriculum and culture at my older son’s Quaker school, will somehow balance out our culture’s obsession with guns and violence.
And, lastly, is it possible to find a middle ground between the right to bear arms and the prevalence of automatic weapons? I’d like to think so.
In what other ways are you exploring Peace and Ahimsa?
What ideas do you have for me?
If you too are interested in committing yourself to the yama of Ahimsa in 2013,
for yourself and for the world around you,
please let me know.
Performance Breakthrough Coach
P.S. “Namaste” means “I bow to you,” or as I like to say at the end of my yoga workshops “the light in me acknowledges, celebrates, and dances with the light in you.” Namaste.