“Aging with Joy & Grace”

As soon as we are born, we are all aging but how do we age with “joy” and even “grace” ? Can we site some examples ? How does YOGA come into play ? Here we are gathering around to hear a well  articulated presentation by Will Meecham MD.  Will is a yogi and a doctor, a yoga teacher trained at Niroga who was our anatomy and physiology teacher for our year one curriculum.  Google him to find his MindfulBiology.org,  a beautiful blog site he created worth checking out for anyone interested in a different perspective as we relate to our body and …life.

I recommend reading up his articles under the system, HEART & CIRCULATION, this month being a heart health month.  He is insightful coming from a perspective of someone who did the typical and grueling med-school and practicing doctor stint and now sharing his wisdom.Aging with Joy & Grace was the title to last weekend’s yoga therapist training. Among some 50? attendees finding mat space on the labyrinth at Oakland Peace Center. Making up this module missed last year while in Japan for my mothers birthday. Reminded how my mother would make a great guest to teach this particular module as she would make a role model for many of us. There’s gratitude always felt because it’s only because of her support system of kind social services provided to seniors in Japan. Gratitude to tradition and culture where seniors are respected for their wisdom and the frail cared for as there’s a clear acceptance that we are all aging as long as we are living. There’s no exclusion and denial of this natural stages of our lifeline. It’s okay to accept it and go with the flow while doing everything you can to tend to the temple of body, mind & spirit.

Sad to not be there this year but need this for my yoga therapist certification … long and fruitful journey I know she supports. My feelings of guilt vanished as I listened to a voice message she left on the phone unanswered (looks like she called 2 am US time, hahaha)  “you don’t have to get me any gifts as the best gift for me is to know you are happy and healthy. Be sure to take care of yourself.”

Happy Birthday Mama!

Imagine

Every day do somersetting that makes your heart dance.  

And if your heart is so depressed that you can’t dance, then do 

something that will make other people’s hearts dance.

– Yoko Ono 

 

Ahimsa …Civil Society vs. Barbaric Society

In Yoga Philosophy, as with the 10 commandments, there are  what’s called the limbs of Yoga, a code of ethics and living of 10 Do’s & Don’ts (or restraints, self-control & self-regulation to observe );   the “Yama”s which means reigning in or restraints to adhere to and the “Niyama”s, which are observances or practice to abide by in order to live a life of joy and grace filled with meaning … The very first Yamas of all is … “Ahimasa”, non-violence.  Non-violence in words and deeds because without safety, there’s only fear … which is what breeds violence and … hatred.  That fear destroys all that is positive and good in us humans, sacrificing the potential for highly conscious and compassionate human experience.  All that is worth living for; all that gives life meaning cannot co-exist when there’s fear and violence … and yet …

It’s so frustrating.  There’s already been 18 school shooting this year and it’s only 45 days into this new year.  I had a reason to visit a local high school this week and the tension was palpable so much that I felt a sense of danger; this fear that this place, a place of learning is not … not a safe place.  And I felt a wash of sympathy for the students who live with that fear everyday, that terror in the back of their minds even in at a subconscious level, manifesting as anxieties they may just shrug off as mere “stress”.  But is that healthy stress or life-robbing kind of stress?  Life robbing in a sense that there’s always that fear of … what if?  Is it normal for teenagers or even younger children to have to have lock-down drills instead of spending the time to elevate their intellect? To stretch their imaginations rather than create anxieties of imminent danger of the unexpected violence that may be unleashed upon them due to lack of regulations to control those who are unable to rely on self-control and self-regulation ?

To me, anyone who uses a gun to harm another human being, has a mental health issue so that’s something not unique to USA and that’s not where the blame should be lodged against  – with that flawed logic, unless we are able to lock up all with so called mental health issues then the perils will not diminish.   There are lunatics all over the world but there are virtually no school shootings by a lunatic all over the world, except here.  And we call ourselves civil advanced society … Yes, if a crazy really wants to inflict evil and harm, no gun control is going to stop them – goes the argument?  Really?  Of course if someone deranged is set on inflicting harm, they can with knives or bows & arrows or whatever but with automatic assault weapons fit for the frontline?  Are we in a war zone combat to have to bring automatic weapons capable of massive harm to preserve our “right  to bear arms” ?  Isn’t the easy availability so seductive and tempting with those lacking judgement?  Not being able to purchase with such ease their assault weapon of choice can deter.  How can we let domestic terrorism to continue in this supposedly “civil”  society.  The way some politicians find faults with what is a very effective and proven method to solve America’s domestic inborn violence because of moneyed interest is nothing short of … barbaric. When we put our children in harms way to protect the self-interest of “right to bear arms” penned nearly 300 years ago, we are exercising cruelty.  Until this violence ends, we live in a barbaric society here.

Working hard to treat and improve mental health is a fine social work, very needed certainly but … that is related and yet another issue.  Gun control is more about justice and safety for all – it’s about public safety especially of our innocent children who still do not have an electoral voice – and that’s about gun control.  Or lack of it, providing a ripe environment for any crazies to open fire whenever things are not going his/her way – what is there to stop them when they snap ?  Anger management class one signs up for is not going to solve anything other than dampen DV level – nice but that’s not going to stop massive shootings and massacre of innocent people being at a certain place at the certain time – just being … unlucky.  Should our safety teeter on this thing called … luck?Anti-gun control interest will muddy the waters on this debate and cut off funding for true study and research for updated viable public policy to take place, citing some “insane” and I would call cruel argument that the likes of massive shootings comprise only 1-3% gun-related deaths. So that makes it okay that this kind of tragedy repeats itself?  That we do nothing to prevent this from happening again because the likelihood that your child will die from such an incident is minimal?  Is this a civil society we live in?

There are probably as many crazies in other parts of civilized world on this planet as on this particular land called the USA BUT why is it that I feel safe in the crowded streets late at night with drunks and oddballs in Tokyo while in a pristine suburban school campus, I feel anxieties of feeling in a bit of danger ?  Why the anxieties and if I feel it, what about the poor students?

Those with mental health issues just can’t get a hold of a gun in other parts of the civilized world.  Sure if you are part of an organized crime, they may have a gun and that’s understood – that’s why if someone has a gun, most people in those parts of the world will immediately associate the gun ownership as someone affiliated with organized crime OR the exact opposite, member of law enforcement. ( There’s that trust with the peace officers that appears lacking in this country.  Why is that?)  Sure, in any parts of the world,  if you are intent on harm, one can still get a knife or whatever and bludgeon people to death but then, the job to kill and harm is a bit more labor intensive and not as fast and easy so … THAT is a deterrence.  It’s just not so easy as picking up a gun and shooting.

Oddly, some very brainwashed people will respond how gun control does not help as long as there are crazies among us but let other countries record speak.  It does work.  Gun control does clearly help reduce fatal and unnecessary deaths and casualties.  Gun control does reduce the cases of violence. Violence begets violence and the answer to “bad guy with a gun” is not a “good guy with a gun” shooting down the bad guy.  No.  It’s such a immature, childish argument – can money and power corrupt sensibilities so much? It’s shameful.

Can we take a look at this and tell me why that cannot work in this country wrought with more conflicts and thereby more stress on a day to day level, increasing the level of triggers for some with mental health issues.

In a civilized world, we should not fear for our lives teaching at a school or sending a child to a school.  I really do think if all those politicians who just talk and take no action actually sent their own child to the neighborhood PUBLIC school; rather than just affording their own protection by sending their child to an exclusive private schools, they will have more empathy and find the current situation at schools across this land to be intolerable.  As long as the decision makers and power holders have their own children shielded from the plights of public schools, entitling them and giving them elite and separate reality, things will not get any better.  In fact, it’s that elitism and separation, that sense of entitlement among the likes of those in public offices that put that so called leader, similarly lacking in empathy,  in the place of highest political power today.  Had their own kids attended public schools, the country’s public schools will improve overnight and safety issue resolved … immediately.  It’s that divide that separates the have’s from the have-nots that breeds more fear and lack of political will to solve this current problem of gun violence.

It is very sad.  I wish we lived in a true democracy and true safety where children and teens have no worries of getting gunned down in a supposed safe place but to is free to learn and grow; imagine and dream for a better world. And I am going to do all I can to support their safety so they can grow up and be their fullest potential beings in a more civilized, real democracy.

I put a vote in for Emma Gonzalez.  Very courageous to speak up.  America is not going down to the … as long as there are young women and men like her.  Passionate and Righteous.  As long as there’s impassioned teen like Emma, there’s still HOPE as so many of the politicians are shameless and hopeless.  Sadly Washington’s swamp bigger now; only draining that took place is a BRAIN drain, replaced by heartless ego, hypocrisy, greed and sadly, mental health issue of their own.