A 60-min yoga video accompanies this post. Prefer to jump right to the yoga? Just scroll to the video below. New to yoga? Please take 2 minutes to read this first. If you’re new to my site, please take a moment to get to know me.
I’d love to see a world in which a livable income is a basic human right.
Too many of us are begging for bread at the castle doors. The difference in quality of life for the upper crust (some of who consolidate their wealth and widen inequalities through tax havens) and the rest of us, most especially the poorest among us, can’t be ignored—it’s not right.
Meanwhile, the images we see all over social media and in advertising sell us phony ideas of who we are—and can be. What does striving for the “perfect” bikini body or a 6-figure income do to address the real anxieties and pains we’re grappling with in the world as it is right now? Absolutely zilch. Plus, these images come with an awful side effect: they can erode our sense of self-worth—if we get stuck comparing ourselves to images, we get stuck on the feeling (not a fact, a feeling) that we’re worthless failures.
I’ve been battling feelings of being less-than, and they arise from stressful circumstances: my housing situation is unstable, and I lack financial security. It can be a slippery slope to doubting my skills and contributions. I’ve caught myself thinking, What do I have to offer when my life is such a mess? Gratefully, the reasonable voice chimes in with a winning rebuttal: I have plenty to offer because my life is such a “mess.” Whose life isn’t in some kind of mess, anyway?
This economy is making us myopic. It individualizes us into corners of loneliness, shame, and exhaustion. Perhaps that’s because our social interactions revolve so much around market-based transactions (why are there so few commerce-free places to mingle in? Why must we desperately compete for [low-paid] work when there’s so much wealth in the world?). Then there’s the unspoken message that if you’re struggling financially and/or burned out, there’s something wrong with you. Forget about intensifying social and economic inequities—pull your chin up, get yourself on social media, spruce up your LinkedIn profile, maybe take some online courses in personal branding and money-management, and Ta-da!
Here’s a message for us to speak, loud and clear: We are worthy—and all of us deserve much better than a divisive, tiring system.
Trying to get by in isolation, by shouldering all the personal “failures” and worldly troubles on our own, doesn’t work—and we know it. So let’s fill our hearts with fierce tenderness and speak up about realities. There’s no shame in mindfully using our voices—the anxiety and frustration are perfectly normal responses to the madness (I don’t need to specify madness, right? I mean, just skim the headlines on any given day…). The more we speak truth from a loving place = the more we can move ourselves and society toward healing and fairness.
Consider pairing the following yoga video with:
How to Mind the “I’m Not Enough” Trap: Davida Ginter is a social strategist who provides leadership workshops. I’ve recently had the pleasure of speaking with her about overworking and identifying too much with work. Her post offers helpful insights about burnout—and preventing it.
How to Move Forward Once You’ve Hit Bottom: Pema Chödrön, a Buddhist writer and teacher, encourages healthy relationships with failure.