On November the 8th, 1960, our country elected John F. Kennedy as our 35th president. He was an icon of hope in the physical sense, in his speech and in his essence. He stood for peace, freedom and courage.
He started the peace corps. He set the goal to land on the moon by the end of the 60's (the space race). We did!!. He was integral and representational during a time of war (Vietnam's beginning), the Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missle Crisis and the building of the Berlin Wall.
Often, when we watch the news and see what's going on around us in the world, we are overwhelmed with the need to help and what we could possibly do as individuals to make a difference.
We often think our actions are small, from simple gestures of gratitude, holding a door open for someone, offering our time or money to a cause that means something to us. What we do everyday effects the fabric of our community and country as a whole. When we act in right thought, speech, action and live our purpose, what is in our heart, we are inwardly and outwardly changing life as we know it for the higher good of ourselves and everyone around us.
I know, what an overwhelming responsibility? Are you up for it?
Every day we have a choice to decide how we will respond to what is going on around us and within us. It's easy, in the still quiet of the morning, to feel peaceful and calm and set forth good thoughts for the day or week ahead. But it's when life throws us for a loop - we are running late, we forget to turn off the stove and have to run back home, have a fender bender - our fault@!, have an uncomfortable altercation at the dry cleaner, the 405, our workplace, that we are really challenged towards our greatness.
It's hard not to let the little things get to us. But, we have a choice with each test, each uncomfortable situation, to pick the peaceful, amicable, higher path to get through.
In fact, we will keep having the same daily challenges until we learn the right way to get through it.
I can't tell you how many times I've been cut off in traffic with my shoulders creeping up towards my ears and screaming profanities until I realized that it will never serve anyone to react that way. Now, it happens every freekin' day. I live in LA!!! And it doesn't bother me a bit. Not one bit. Just ask my mom. I'm usually on the phone with her when I'm in traffic and she can tell you how annoying I was screaming at traffic when she was in the middle of a story and now, it doesn't happen anymore.
And I know it might seem small, but energetically speaking, every little thing you encounter during your day attaches to you on some small level and it builds up. Little barnacles on pretty salt scrubbed rocks become laden and heavy with attachments.
Why not start practicing kindness, even if you are served with utter crap in your day?
I PROMISE you, it will come back to you. The things that used to bother me so much, I would carry with me for so long, it would make me sick to my stomach.
Now, I don't have room for it. The more I practice being kind, smiling, relaxing, being aware of my surroundings, even if it's uncomfortable, the easier it is to respond in an easier way.
I can attribute a lot of this to the fact that I am teaching Hot Yoga.
It's transformed my life even though my home base is in Hatha Flow yoga - linking breath to movement in balance.
Students and teachers alike, CHOSE to walk into this externally challenging environment (um, like 108 degrees!!!) with a mirror in front of them to FACE whatever is coming up for them inside and out. This practice sets the stage of uncomfortability. YOU then get to chose how you will react. I see a lot of people freak out in anger and frustration. Ahh, they will learn. I hope to help them.
I chose to get through it with slow calm ease. Even if I'm dying inside, I chose to be cool, calm and collected. This keeps me cooler, calmer and more collected in the heat of life that comes out from long lines at the post office and long holds on the phone with the DMV. ANNOYING, but I remain calm and remember my breath...then call my mom and vent.
All this...
to let you know that WE are great, right now. Whether we are president of the United States, Student Council or PTA. We are great. Be that role model, that icon for others to live up to in right speech and right action.
When you become confronted with whatever, external circumstances and internal tapes of negativity, turn the channel and find the happy show of laughter and goodness.
On inspiration, John F. Kennedy...
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to past or present are certain to miss the future.
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
Leadership and learning are indispensable of each other.
Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.
The best road to progress is freedom's road.
The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.
Things do not happen. They are made to happen.
There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers quietly building new structures.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
Be peace. In your core. Be your own peace corps. Join it, be it, share it, live it.
Be the president of your own united state.