As a personal rule for my own sanity I stay out of politics, and I don’t usually talk about my education. Not because I am not proud of it, I am very proud to have graduated from Creighton University. I received an excellent education. But as a yoga teacher/studio owner, I always joke about how I don’t use my degree. And often I tell people I majored in history, just because it’s easier than explaining what I really studied.
The truth is I use my degree all the time. It has shaped me as a person, taught me how to see beyond the surface of problems, and emphasized the importance of being a just and inclusive member of society.
I majored in American Studies with an emphasis on racial relations. My classes included topics about immigration, social injustice, regulation of development, white privilege, diversity, and the making of America. It was not glamorous. Often, what I was learning about was heartbreaking, and the system seemed so locked, the racism so embedded in people’s heart that I graduated thinking I couldn't change much of anything. So, I set most of what I learned aside and went off in selfish pursuit of my own peace. I am proud to say that I have done a great deal of self-study and found a sense of peace that may waver, but for the most part I can always find my way back to. However, there is a part of my healing that is incomplete because it is deeply intertwined with the healing of our nation, and really, the healing of humanity.
Over the last two years I have observed us, the American people...us, humans...a little more closely. Watching our issues, our inability to relate, difficulties accepting each other, differences of opinions creating hate, and downright injustices taking place. Sadly, and truly, it’s nothing new. As I quietly observed I have found myself remembering my classes, the textbooks, and the stories that explained the roots of all these problems. The roots are so deep and very tangled. I am gravitating back to my studies. Re-reading some of the books I found illuminating 10 years ago and seeing if there’s anything I missed. I am all for looking forward rather than backward, but we cannot go anywhere if we don't understand the gap holding us back from evolving as humans.
There are lots of bridges to repair, issues to address: economic division, racial segregation, inequality, unfair policies, poverty, violence, political insanity, unheard voices, and more. I believe we are at pivotal moment in history. One of my professors might say, "These are defining times".
Today, I encourage you to ask yourself, How are you defining these times? What part do you play in this pivotal moment in history? Do you stand on one side of a bridge? Are you digging a wider gap beneath it? Are you knocking bridges down? Or working to build a better more durable one?
If you are like me, you might be staring frustratedly at something that is clearly broken, but you don't know where the problem is and you have no idea how to fix it. That's okay. The first way to fix anything, is to understand why its broken. Start by educating yourself. Pick up a book! Listen to a podcast! Have conscious respectful conversations with people who think differently than you, with people who look different than you, and with people who have a different social and/or economic background than you. The picture above shows some of my favorite books from my extremely thorough education. And I fully recognize that being able to receive the education I did is in part because of my white privilege. But we live in the age of information. There are SO many more books, podcasts, and resources out there for FREE! Find them. Communicate. Educating ourselves is like gathering the tools we need to rebuild a better more peaceful world.
I believe in Oneness. And I believe we can dissolve our issues and work together. I believe we can bridge America to be a place of peace, integrated diversity, true equality, inclusivity, and radical freedom. I believe we are in a evolutional era not just in our country, but within the human species as well. I believe we are progressing toward collaboration, understanding, and wholeness. And unlike how I felt as a young graduate, I now believe that I can make a difference and contribute to this beautiful expansion and rise of the conscious collective. And I believe you can too. So, let's do this. Let's bridge these gaps. Let's heal...together.