One of my yogis in last night’s class had a very heavy heart. Her son was a first responder in San Bernardino. She chose to come to class anyway. I’m so glad I didn’t cancel class for my son’s violin performance. I felt this need to be there for my students, so we just upped the hour of the class. I am beyond grateful. I learn so much from my students. This woman knew she couldn’t DO anything about the San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 and wounded so many more that her son attended to. But she could have chosen to stay home, watch the news, drink wine and live in fear, anxiety, sadness. Of course, we all need to grieve and to feel our sadness. But she realized that if she stayed home watching the news, living in fear and anxiety, maybe drinking wine, nothing would change except her own well being. So we held class without lights at sunset. We prayed for peace. We meditated on gratitude. With every inhale, we breathed into all is well. With every exhale we breathed out, I choose Love, alternating with I choose Peace, and I choose health. It was a powerful class and a powerful reminder to me that in times of stress, anxiety, chaos and powerfully tragic events, we all have choices. Do I wallow in my feelings of powerlessness and drown my sorrows with alcohol or food or other substance … or do I breathe, feel the sadness and pray for hope, pray for love, pray for peace?
This is know for sure: whenever someone says “It’s God’s Will” or “Everything happens for a Reason” it isn’t always true. God didn’t want those 14 people to die. Just like God doesn’t want anyone to die or be injured from mass shootings by hysterical, crazed people. I believe that God gave us freedom—the ability to make choices. We have the control over choosing love over hate. We have the choice to get help if we are depressed. We have the choice over whether we drown our sorrows in alcohol or drugs and endanger others. We have the ability to get help if we are addicted. We have the choice of taking care of our bodies, our minds, our hearts. We have choices, even when it feels like we don’t.
I’ve experienced a lot of violence in my life and I know that God didn’t wish for my dear friend to be shot and killed in high school by a crazed stalker and not me. This week many years ago, I remembered to go to detention after school and my dear friend who got in trouble with me for being late to class, didn’t. It wasn’t God granting me life and forcing her to die. I am not that special. I was lucky. The stalker was waiting by our cars parked side-by-side and shot her 6 times. The stalker chose hate. He chose something incomprehensible. It had nothing to do with God—or me.
Exactly a year ago, my youngest son’s best friend and his mother were killed by an out of control driver as they crossed the street after a kindergarten Christmas performance. Had I gone, my son and I would have been walking beside them. Did God allow me to live and allow them to die? Of course not. I was lucky, yet again. The driver chose to abuse her pain killers and alcohol. Of course she didn’t mean to intentionally kill them, but she did make bad choices by getting behind the wheel of her car under the influence.
Today, with every breath, I choose to be grateful. I choose peace. I choose to be a conscious, loving mom to my boys. I choose to take care of my health, my heart and to surround myself with loving, healthy people who make good choices. I will NOT drown my sorrows and check out this holiday season. I choose love. I choose peace. I choose gratitude. These are my mantras as I meditate today, if you haven’t figured that out. And I pray for all those who are suffering to feel this vibration of love. There are more positive, healthy people in this world than there are those who wish us harm intentionally, or who make bad choices and hurt us unintentionally. I choose peace. I choose love. I choose gratitude—with every breath. I hope you’ll join me. Namaste.