Dear Homegrown Yogis,
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” I have always loved this quote from Maya Angelou, but I’ve recently gained a different understanding and appreciation of it. As I think it has been for many people, the last few months have been an intense period of learning and growth for me. To be honest, however, I did not pursue this learning and growth; actually to be super honest, I probably would have opted out of this learning and growth if given the choice. Yet once I decided to embrace the process of knowing better, doing better was an easy next step for me.
Over the last few months, I have had conversations about what it’s like to be a Black person in my own community. I have been reading and listening and talking and doing a lot of self-inquiry about my own beliefs, behaviors and attitudes around race. Without the murder of George Floyd and the protests following, I don’t think I would have ever learned what I have learned. Because of it, though, I will raise my daughter differently, run my business differently, vote in every single election and conduct myself differently in my day-to-day life.
Over the last few months, I have also experienced what it’s like to lose my business and financial security. I have seen how overwhelming the unemployment process is and how there is a real likelihood that my once -thriving business will not survive this pandemic. Without it happening to me, though, I don’t think I would have ever learned what I have learned. Because of it, I will always shop local, vote in every single election, and treat others with extra compassion and kindness.
See, I’m a good empathetic human being (as I would argue all of you are too). When I see suffering, I want to help – that is a natural response. My most important job then is to pursue learning and to educate myself. It is not enough to say, “well, I didn’t know.” I need to know about issues that don’t directly affect me; I need to ask people how they are doing and really listen to their answer; I need to do the work of self-inquiry on a regular basis – not just during times of crisis. What I have learned is that doing better once knowing better is the easy part – the challenge is to make the effort to know better before education comes knocking at my door.
One of my greatest teachers and sources of learning during this time has been Lauren Queen – a Homegrown Yoga teacher you can catch weekly on our schedule. She has graciously offered to write something for all us about ways we can educate ourselves and know better about race and inclusivity.
After reading it, I encourage you to see if the drive to do better flows naturally into your life – I know it has for me.
With all my love,