Last week, a co-worker stopped by my office to chat. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to current affairs, and I voiced my every day growing anger and grief and disgust and commitment to seek more ways to have positive impact. My co-worker essentially responded that as a yoga teacher, she thought I ought to know that I shouldn’t get so upset, things weren’t so bad.
As should not be surprising to those who know me or practice yoga with me or read what I post on social media that I explained that my yoga calls for lucid and engaged citizenship and not escape from challenges and difficult emotions. My co-worker demurred, still wanting her own comfortable silence.
The fateful weekend passed. When I returned to the office this week, I found a note and a cookie on my desk. The note basically said, wow, Charlottesville, I hope you’re feeling ok, I thought you might like a cookie. Without addressing the substance of the note, (my own conflict aversion coming to the fore or perhaps my sense that in this case there was little point in pursuing the conversation further and my co-worker has been a pleasant colleague ), when emailing about another matter, I said merely thank you for the cookie.
I’d thought that would be the end of it, but my co-worker then stopped by to thank me for saying thanks for the cookie, I no longer restrained myself from passionately though tolerably politely articulating what I really thought, including what a privilege it is to be able to have a bakery cookie whether for hunger or comfort.
I can relate to wanting everything to be ok, and I’m really glad I have plenty of food and a comfortable home, but I also believe that with my privilege comes great responsibility, now even more than ever. I seek to be more aware not less. What about you?
At lunchtime, I bumped into a co-worker from an office where I worked for a few year in the 1990s. We shared stories of our concerns and fears in these times, both as citizens and as Federal workers . One of his daughters just graduated from U.V.A. Another is in grad school there, so they have lots of friends in Charlottesville. We went back to our respective offices, but it is hard to work. The weather was hot and thick with humidity, the gardens oblivious to current events (so far).
I spent much of my day divided between errands and home repairs and checking the latest news. Before beginning my day, I got deeply immersed in Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, which I cannot recommend highly enough for more perspective on the current state of our society.
It was sticky walking about the neighborhood, and things are lush. Easy to pretend everything is ok and for now, it is for me. From that privilege, what can I give? Amidst sharing that I am again reviewing what time and resources more I can offer, sometimes I want to connect through offering beauty.