It seems that only with great momentum and force are we able to make an ounce of impact on this world. To change the world sounds daunting and nearly impossible, dramatic, and irrational – a task fit only for someone who is "in power.” Perhaps we have forgotten that it is only once we have become deeply rooted in ourselves that we are able to cultivate change. As individuals, we have lost sight of our power. We have forgotten that we each hold the force it takes to spark change.
Change starts with one choice – love or fear.
As a nomad who has been physically uprooted for nearly a year now, I have found that yoga has become less about the physical practice, and more about a consistent uplifted mindset. Being a person who thrives on routine, I quickly learned how easy it is to get caught up in the stimulation and distraction of the outside world, especially in an unfamiliar and exciting place. It took losing myself, and my routines, to discover the elements of my character that would allow me to survive.
These deepest, truest parts would become my foundation. When the world felt chaotic and out of my control, I learned to love the ride, instead of fearing it. In a world where we can truly be sure of nothing, I learned that I could, at least, be sure of myself.
My hammock and yoga mat quickly became my places to regroup. Whether I was hanging from the only two trees overlooking vast mountain ranges, or practicing squeezed in the corner at a youth hostel, these places provided a safe space for me to reconnect. I created a little bubble where I could escape. The world and its people continued at their pace, respecting the fact that I had taken a moment to pause.
As I stripped away the distractions of the world, I was forced to face the demons that arise as one searches for a still mind. I noticed that just like in our outside world, we must internally choose between love and fear. I noticed that many of us have forgotten to pause. We find distractions that allow us to ignore the parts of ourselves that we find unappealing. We fear what we do not know. And what could be more terrifying and uncomfortable than not knowing yourself?
After making the conscious choice to invest in love over fear, I noticed a shift.
Universal forces started working with me instead of against me. Small acts had big impacts: the time a man with a tray of pizza appeared at my hammock, expecting nothing in return; the grandest adventure and the birth of my creative writing persona, Atticus; the encounter with one with an eerily similar path and a matching tattoo; when a festival bracelet literally fell onto my wrist; or the time I befriended a gentleman, who I later discovered to be the band manager of my favorite group.
Soon I noticed that I was, in fact, attracting love. The stray dogs could sense it, and I quickly (and proudly) adopted the title of dog whisperer, as animals, so pure in their nature, innately followed what they needed – love. And so to change the world – a task that sounds grand and distant and some would say even impossible – we must start with today, with that choice, and with ourselves.
I live my yoga by choosing love – by choosing to be the one that the stray dogs follow around, and the one who is not afraid to pause on my mat as the chaos carries on. Each day I choose to sit with myself and challenge myself to search for a still mind. I choose to expose and accept my deepest, rawest parts, instead of suppressing and burying them deeper. It is only once we have fallen in love with the parts of ourselves that we do not understand – the parts that seem ugly and unappealing – that we may share our love with others.
I choose to be the change by starting with myself. Although I am still learning to love all my parts, I hope to be an example to inspire the ones who have yet to reach this translation of self, in order to expose them to the reality that the more alone you are, the less alone you become.
You are the change. I am the change. We are the change.