I have this symbolic practice of breathing love into the earth each morning.
Like a prayer, my version is just a little different.
I started the practice the first night of the protests in uptown Charlotte.
I was in a yoga class a mile or so from downtown Charlotte when I first heard the helicopters. The city was preparing for possible violence.
My teacher was calling us into the various poses and all I could think about was the pain and anger breaking out in my beloved city, only a short walk away.
She pulled us into child’s pose at one point.
For those of you who practice yoga…you are very likely familiar with “child’s pose.”
I found myself crying there…feeling the helplessness…the overwhelming helplessness.
What can I do? What can I do?
And from nowhere it came. The breath.
I cupped my hands around my mouth as if to whisper, brought my hands and face as close to my mat as I could possibly bring them and exhaled a deep whispery “loooooovvvveeee” into the earth.
My intention in that moment was clear.
With all that’s happening in the world…I wish I could hold that pure intention in all that I do.
To literally breathe love into each and every encounter.
To wonder with this same kind of loving intention, what it must feel like to be Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump…to be ridiculed, shamed, hated so much by so many.
In 1976 my father ran for mayor. He ran on the Republican ticket.
One afternoon…I remember it with vivid detail…I answered the phone.
The man on the other end told me “We’re gonna kill your daddy.”
I was fifteen years old. My legs buckled beneath me and I dropped the phone. I was so frightened by that call…couldn’t sleep for days. I was extremely protective of my father as any child would be.
I knew nothing about politics at that time. I only knew my father…and what I knew of him was what I believed him to be…a good man.
He was not always present, especially during that year. He was not always there when I needed him. But he was, from all I had experienced a good and thoughtful man.
Which makes me wonder how I would interact if I had time with each candidate. Would I be all that you believe me to be? That I believe me to be?
Would I listen? Would I seek first to understand? Would I ask questions with curious wonder?
Could I love them? Could I afford them the same respect and love I seek from them?
Could I breathe love into each word? Could I rise above the politics, the stories I read in the media and see instead…the human being…if for only a moment…a beautiful and sacred moment?