Preserving election sanity and learning humility with child’s pose
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on October 24, 2017
I have something in common with the presidential candidates.
There’s dirt in my past.
I recently sat with a legal pad, and I created a loathsome list of things I’ve said and done which I’d never want to see the light of day. I included childish tantrums, insensitive utterances stemming from ignorance and bad behavior during heightened emotional states. Although there was nothing illegal, this generic bad behavior would be embarrassing to explain on a campaign trail.
By the time I got to the middle of the second page, I stopped the scary paper trail.
There was a reason I did this.
I was in Meghan Pullaro’s power yoga class at Ruby and Pearls, Fort Myers. My mind was wandering during practice. I couldn’t tame my thoughts about the presidential election and the recently released emails and audiotapes and miscellaneous fodder.
I was in Tabletop, transitioning to Child’s Pose. I brought my big toes to touch and opened my knees.
I was high on my own virtue, indicting the candidates for being dishonest, selfish, crude and disrespectful (among other things).
I pushed my backside to my heels for full Child’s Pose, and it was painful.
My tight quads pulled my knees, still tender from a recent marathon. I tried to lower my third eye to the floor, but, as I straightened my arms, a jacked up rotator cuff screamed.
I was contorted and stuck, awkward and uncomfortable, so I shoved two bolsters under my seat so I could sit on my heels. I propped my head with a block.
When I know something isn’t right, all I have to do is look in the mirror to see what’s wrong. An hour later, I was sitting with the legal pad.
When does the past count?
I stared at my past and compared it with the pasts of others, pasts I was expected to evaluate.
I placed a heating pad on my rotator cuff, and my smug superiority melted.
I pondered: Does the past have a statute of limitations?
For me, it does. The events needing absolution didn’t have to happen twenty years ago or even eleven. For me, the past is the past, even seconds ago, and it has no bearing on who I am in this moment. This has saved me much madness.
Here’s the rub: If I want others to honor my past’s expiration date, I should do the same for them.
Who is exempt from this rule? Apparently, public figures’ pasts never expire, but this didn’t sit well with my body.
I slipped a grounding headband over my crown. Designed by crystal artist Ana Peth, I felt the energy of black kyanite, quartz and ruby aura. I closed my eyes.
I set an intention for this meditation: When does someone’s past matter?
This election has been stressing me out. The stress isn’t rooted in what’s swirling around me but in what’s swirling within me. As I dropped into my breath, I felt the crystals dissipating the storm clouds of hypocritical judgment, cheap shots and snarling opinions.
I unplugged the emotion attached to my past and the pasts of others and became an observer. I didn’t judge; I assessed.
The chimes of my meditation timer sounded after 30 minutes. I blinked my eyes open. At the bottom of my abbreviated list, I wrote this:
“When does my past matter?
- When my past isn’t the past but still in the present.
- When I don’t own my past.
- When my damage, if any occurred, has yet to be repaired.
- When I forget to be humble.”
I rose from my chair and dropped to my hands and knees. I brought my big toes to touch and spread my knees. Slowly, and with patience (for myself and others), I sat on my heels. I stretched out my arms and fingertips and separated my shoulder blades, stretching my heart center.
I stayed there for a while, and I pondered how to choose a president without condemnation — and without sinking into the gutter myself.