“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!”
― Jalaluddin Rumi


It's been a month since the United States got a new president. On the very first day of his term, millions of people all over the world marched to stand up for Mother Earth, civil rights, and democracy itself.

People woke up.

Here we are one month later - after what John Oliver called 412 years - and I feel myself slowly acclimating and growing accustomed to the daily dramas - the very thing I don't want to happen. (Not to worry - I am staying awake!).

We’ve been faced with an onslaught of jaw dropping headlines on a daily basis and yet we all have big lives to lead.

A friend recently said, “Remember when we were just exhausted from our own lives? Now we have to save the country?”

When life is full, it's far too easy to get used to shocking, breaking news than it is to stop everything, get outraged, and take action.

If you practice yoga it’s tempting to tune out, bury your head in the sand and be a unicorn*.

But…

I am here to beg you.
STAY AWAKE.
Take breaks, but don't go back to sleep!

Anne Frank was real. Please Google her.
Apartheid was real. Please look that up.
Fascism is real. Please read 1984.
Oppressive life inside countries like North Korea is real. Please Google it.

If you’ve read history, you know how very lucky we are to have our freedom and how quickly that freedom can be taken away. You and I both know that life is way too short to live even a second without freedom.

This administration has demonstrated that they will discredit the media and the judicial system to gain more power. The executive branch is slowly being filled with grossly unqualified cabinet members who prefer big oil money over the health of the planet. It’s staff is already infighting, resigning, and lying to the American people repeatedly.

My friend Waylon Lewis recently said it perfectly on Instagram, "Give us a government by, of and for the people—let’s end gerrymandering, conflicts of interest, corruption, lying, support of fake news, gas lighting about fake news, blaming “other” whether immigrants or Hillary, and blatant partisanship over true patriotism."

When conservative, Republican Senator, John McCain says,

"If you want to preserve -- I'm very serious now -- if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started."

you know it’s a big deal.

(Though we wish his actions matched his words in the Senate...but that's another matter).

This is not about the man who took office and the big ugly election that divided us.

This is about preserving our democracy and our freedom, plain and simple.

THAT is what we must unify behind, regardless of who you voted for.

Don’t go back to sleep!


* On being a unicorn (and no offense to unicorns at all!)...
I’ve been told by many to stop posting about politics on my social accounts because yoga should be an "escape" from the daily dramas. They tell me it should be a respite from the politics and stresses of life.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Why do people feel that this practice should be an escape?
Well, yoga today is largely done in the west as a physical activity that makes us sweat, relaxes, and soothes, rather than a devotional practice that does all that, AND connects us to our deepest self and the world around us.
The kind of yoga I learned when I started this practice 31 years ago (and the yoga that most of my peers are teaching) is not escapist in the slightest.
Yoga is rooted in a philosophical foundation based on the ethical precepts of the Yamas and Niyamas which give the yogi extensive guidelines for how to conduct themselves in society as ethical, conscious, fair, kind, and connected beings.
We are each other’s keepers, we are all we’ve got. And so the Yamas and Niyamas are meant to help us create a society that protects everyone’s innate freedom (svantantrya).
Yoga itself means “union”, “to yoke”, “to connect”, “to engage”.
Therefore if someone is serious about practicing and learning yoga, they wouldn’t do yoga to escape the world, or worse, to escape themselves, they would courageously step onto their mat and do the work of self inquiry and connection.