Being Online is a Responsible Act. Check yo-self.

Fill yourself with so much love you'll not have an opinion of another.

Check yo-self. Seriously. I came across a thread in my own yoga community recently. Where it was filled with teacher-bashing, student-whining, making fun of how people "om," farts in a yoga class, Instagram photos, sexuality, mental stabs and therapy numbers threats etc. The thread included valid points on what is appropriate vs what is not in a yoga class from assisting to yoga dudes hitting on said yoga girls.
BUT I had to stop. 
I stopped reading further. My body wanted to react, defend, and share the responsibility we have as a community, as students of the practice, as teachers - blah, blah, blah. I wanted to share that xenophobia is alive and rampant, clearly in our own community if people are being called to forfeit themselves to a comment thread to bash others. Imagine a responsibility we have to not hate - GASP! Is it too much to not hate? I chose to sleep on it. And I thought this morning how yoga teachers bashing on each other is nothing new. You see, years ago, I thought yoga teachers were something to obtain to be - they seemed to have picture-perfect lives filled with hugging trees, peace-ing in and peace-ing out, and loving each other up. I had wondered what it would be like to have everyone in the world attend a yoga teacher training - because it transformative and eye-opening in ways I never knew existed until I lived it. And I would say that kind of love and transformation is the case for many, many teachers and the great support system of life. But fore some, some hide behind that fake love, the one that whispers behind your back, or that chatters about how you teach, how your represent yourself, and try to "should" you with their own ways. I have known teachers to be banned from studios, great teachers that faced criticism for being exactly who they are, and some teachers receiving backlash for similar words as these or for putting themselves out there into the world - especially the Internet. Through the incident of reading blasts from the very people I have practiced alongside, taken their classes, loved, and learned from - I realized that sometimes we are hard, or we become hardened. And when this happens, it sets off a chain-reaction to attempt to tear others down ensuring our place in inferiority is kept. After much thought, it came down to me feeling sad for the community. For the dialogue. For social media. Sad for teachers. Sad for students. Because - if anything - we need to lift each other - in all of the ways we are different. 

We have a responsibility, as a community, to be light. To not go down the path where we bag on others, because that is not our calling. Everything we do is an act out of love or a call for love. Our Soul would never task us to tear others down to fill ourselves up. No matter where you are, what you do (teacher or not), where you live, who you love, what you look like, and where you want to go in life...your greatest gift on this earth is to love and be loving.  We all rise by lifting others. 

With that being said, people will charge others with opinions according to their beliefs -- do not for one second ever think you are unworthy of this practice, unworthy of life, unworthy in walking this earth as your BADASS - BOLD - BEAUTIFUL self. 

Today is a call for responsibility and love. It is so much more than sparks on comment threads about yoga teachers, classes, farts, oms, etc. It's about creating a community. This is an online community. We can all do better by encouraging each other, lifting each other, and creating a space that is open, honest, and loving.

I am incredibly grateful for this online community. It's been a blessing for our family, it's connected me to wonderful students and teachers, gifted me endless support and projects and referrals, a place to write about real-life-hard-as-shit-stuff and beautiful-fun-happy stuff, and I believe the direction we are going is beautiful and positive, one that I hope continues to grow in love.
 

Fill yourself with so much love you'll not have an opinion of another.
Life is hard, sometimes. People are hard, sometimes. I think what is the hardest, sometimes, is to witness people being so hard on themselves. Because it shows. It shows up in your self-talk. It shows in your relationships. It shows up on the mat in huffs and scoffs and walk-offs. It shows up when you finger-point. It shows up in your posture, lowered gazes, and your presence. It shows up in your reactive ways. It shows up in your breath. It shows up in your campaigns of right vs wrong vs my way. It shows up when you exclude or dismiss or negate or tear-down others. It shows up.
The Internet is a funny place. A mix of responsibility with addresses of how we show up, the energy we give out, and the things we say. It's a responsible act to be online. This place can be positive place for connection in many ways. A place for screened photo-streams, thoughts, words, dialogue, and happenings. A place to express. A place for art, inspiration, and booming creation. 
It also a place for a "new" kind of brave, those that hide behind screens with pumped up chests, proud determined to break others down. It's the kind of brave that showers hate on women for being too thin or too curvy, too sexual or too naive, for wearing bikinis (god forbid it makes you a less-than yoga teacher if you're in said bikini in a yoga pose - I'll get to that another time), or whatever the fuck the newest hate craze is. It's a place for xenophobia, racism, homophobia, a place to bully, and any other kind of negative shit. 
In all this "new" kind of brave, you show up exactly as you are seen. We all see you. We see what you long for with your trivial attempts to downsize other humans. We see how the world and people have made you hard. In all of your hardness, we see your pain. We see the child in you. We see where love has left. We see the way you talk to yourself. We see you as you are but we also see you as what you want to be, and that is love. Your hardness calls for it, your hate is a form of love begging to be soft. And to you, I send you some good-hard-soft love. It is love that you want, after all, because love is where you came from.

stephynow