I hope you are doing well and taking good care of yourself.
The image above made my heart soften when I saw it and I felt it was important to share. What does it make you feel, think, see?
I am drawn to touch upon this topic and share a great idea I had about the presidential debate.
I was so disturbed by the last debate that I felt physically ill; I felt my heart rate increase, my chest tightened and my stomach was upset. I kept asking myself why I was watching, but I knew I needed to continue even though I felt conflicted.
Since I am going to watch again tomorrow night, as I am sure many people will, I felt it was necessary to come up with a mindful strategy to be present and take care of myself this time.
My approach is twofold; stay grounded in my body and stay mindful of my breath. What better way to do that then to play a little game I am calling ‘Where Practice Meets Politics”. You can follow along below or come up with your own exercises, or poses, and practice them as you wish throughout the debate. Get creative and have a little fun with it to keep yourself connected to your heart during the debate.
Feel the earth under you, stay rooted in your body and mindful of your breath. The light will shine through; this I am sure of.
I am so lucky to be surrounded by such wise dharma teachers, practitioners, healers and friends. I would like to share some words with you from a special woman I know.
“I had an image of this time we are in as drawing out all of the hatred and mental impurities for all of us to our individual degrees.
I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to be cleansed and even more hopeful that as those with the deepest hatred are drawn out that they may be purified now.
I am holding that image especially for them.
Let’s join our light together and help purify those who are lost in our collective darkness.”
Prior to the beginning of the debate, find your breath. Sit comfortably and notice your breath. Inhale completely and exhale completely. As the candidates are being introduced and the room in settling, do the same. Settle into your body, into your breath and ground yourself to the earth.
As the first candidate shares their opening remarks take some deep breaths in cat and cow pose. Move slowly and breath deeply.
As the second candidate begins their opening remarks take some deep breaths in child’s pose. Move slowly and breath deeply.
Do push ups as Chris Wallace asks the questions.
Inhale as you go down to the earth and exhale as you come up.
See if you can hold half plank for the entire two minutes one candidate answers a question.
Do crunches for the entire two minutes the other candidate answers a question.
Do bridge pose if a candidate begins to frustrate you or you notice irritation building anywhere in your body. Take deep breaths.
Do cobra pose if a candidate knocks your socks off with a great answer.
Take deep breaths.
Rest in thread the needle pose when they discuss why they are fit to be president. Hold each side for the length of one candidate’s response and then switch for the next candidate’s answer. Soften shoulders down into the earth and take deep breaths and you listen mindfully with your ears.
As the moderator closes the debate twist legs to one side and release arms to each side with open palms. Take a few deep breaths on each side. As you twist, visualize your breath purifying your body and detoxifying any, and all, negativity, judgment, attachments and fear from your mind and body.
Turn the debate off and rest in svasana for 5-20 minutes.
Place some support under your head and knees, cover your eyes with something and simply be. Feel the earth holding you and the sky embracing you. Notice your breath. When you notice thought simply return and notice the next breath.
“There is a Bodhisattva, whose name is Avalokitesvara, in Vietnamise we call her Quan The Âm, in Chinese, Quan Yin. It means: ‘Listening deeply to the sound of the cries of the world’. And listening deeply is the practice of mindfullness. But if you are full of pain, full of anxiety, full of projections, and especially full of prejudices, full of ideas and notions, it may be very difficult for you to practice deep listening. You are too full. And that is why to practice in order for you to have space, to have freedom within, to have some joy within is very important for deep listening. Avalokitesvara, Quan Yin, she practices deep listening to herself, and to the world, outside. She practices touching with her ears.”
~Thich Nhat Hahn