Embracing yourself and other people

The invitation on the mat this week was Surrender. It was about going with the current rather than against it, and letting go of the brain chatter along the way.

Hunter S. Thompson didn’t talk about Surrender in his now-internet-famous letter about the meaning of life. He did talk about letting go of the tangible long goals we find so much comfort in and instead work toward one simple goal. He says: “So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.”

Yesterday I watched a movie in the bath. This is one my favourite things to do on the weekend. It was The Boy In the Striped Pajamas and while the film was beautiful, the story was numbingly tragic. I won’t get into what happens, just watch it. Watch it if you want to think and possibly cry.

In it one of the characters, who is eight, admits to his elderly tutor that he likes adventure books better than history books. And his tutor says that is was time he stopped reading stories and started reading fact.

I thought of myself at that moment, in my bathtub, as adult as I will ever be, consuming fiction such as this movie. Certainly I know people who only read non fiction, who only watch documentaries, or nothing at all. But stories are a window to fact, and a perspective on reality. This one was full of jarring World War II history, made particularly poignant on the eve of Remembrance Day.

Among other things, it made me think about the subtle views we hold about people who are different from us. The movie shows an extreme manifestation of this fear and hatred of different-ness, but in our world we are quick to judge each other, and quick to lump people together. It’s a survival tactic, but from my seat in today’s world, it’s not needed.

In the Human Resources field, the concept of Diversity has given way to the concept of Inclusion. This reframes the conversation to emphasize our similarities, rather than our differences. Rather than filling quotas (still a hotly debated topic in business), we can hire the best people with the knowledge that all will be included.

Back to yoga, I spent a lot of the Surrender class surrendering in Child’s Pose. Surrendering to a long week, surrendering to a low energy day, surrendering to a hip opener and that peaceful, grounded feeling of rooting your feet, knees, and forehead into the earth.

Hunter S. Thompson inspired me not to worry so much about the tangible goals and to think more about becoming more of myself. Today that means spending time in my warm apartment with my needlepoint, probably listening to public radio and feeling cozy. Tomorrow it will mean putting on a pencil skirt and delivering on a project that will bring one of my company’s policies up to current standards. Then coming home to make pasta with homemade sausages.

This is the life I’m creating. May all who read this find equal joy in their Sundays and Mondays.

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