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You Moustache This Out! November 8, 2020

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Books, Changing Perspectives, Donate, Faith, Healing Stories, Health, Karma Yoga, Life, Love, Men, One Hoop, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Volunteer, Wisdom, Women, Writing, Yoga.
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“We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and dear God – please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.”

– quoted from “Love Is The Measure” printed in The Catholic Worker (June 1946, 2) by Dorothy Day (b. today 1897)

Maybe it’s just me; but have you noticed that this year (in particular) there seems to be more awareness around the fact that there’s a “wrong” way to ask someone how they are doing? Don’t get me wrong – I think we all appreciate when someone cares enough to ask about our overall well-being (and then sticks around to listen). And anyone who is over the age of five knows that there are levels of “Fine” and “OK” that either hold a wealth of subtext or a complete lack of context.

Earlier this year, after the world watched George Floyd being killed, there were articles (like this one) about how to check in with POC – in particular, Black people – and I had more than one people say to me, “I’m not going to ask how you’re doing, because….” To some, especially my white male friends, I explained that if they would ask me how I was doing at any other time in our kinship (anthropologically speaking), they could ask me during a time when pretty much everyone in the world was horrified, terrified, exhausted, angry, and sad.

That said; I appreciated the awareness that the question (and the opportunity to ask it) were not simple and perfunctory. Similarly, I appreciated the friends, especially my close white friends, who might have done some soul searching before calling me, but were also quite aware of the fact that they could call me, “should” call me, and ask, “How are you today?” Simple as that – with no other explanations or apologies needed. I also loved that before one of my Tuesday night Zoom classes, when we were all checking in (and basically saying, we were doing “OK”), someone called out the fact that none of us was really doing “OK.” Because while checking in with each other, and ourselves, is important, being honest about how we’re doing in any given moment is also important to our overall well-being.

“And there are Father Zossima’s unforgettable words in The Brothers Karamazov – ‘Love in practice is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.’ What does the modern world know of love, with its divorces, with its light touching of the surface of love. It has never reached down into the depths, to the misery and pain and glory of love which endures to death and beyond it. We have not yet begun to learn about love. Now is the time to begin, to start afresh, to use this divine weapon.’”

– quoted from “Love Is The Measure” printed in The Catholic Worker (June 1946, 2) by Dorothy Day (b. today 1897)

This morning I came across an article entitled “6 Questions to Ask Instead of ‘How Are You?’, According to Therapists.” And, I’ll be honest, when I first saw the headline; I wasn’t going to open it. But once I did, I realized how fortunate I am to have people in my life who ask questions like, “But how are you, really, really?” (Which is not on the list, by the way.) I also noticed that the 6 ways reference can actually lead to dialogue and honesty – and that those are two parts of “sharing and caring” that can also lead to improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

In an earlier Movember post, I mentioned information on the (US) Movember website that always strikes me as off – but also oddly accurate: “70% of men say their friends can rely on them for support, but only 48% say that they rely on their friends.” I feel like this year, with everything that’s been going on, there might be more people checking in with each other, but not really, really checking in with each other. Which brings me to Alec (and Brendan Maher)

Brendan Maher is a “Mo Bro” and the Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Movember. If you go to the (US) Movember Foundation’s “Men’s Health – Mental Health and Suicide Prevention” website you will find a picture of Mr. Maher. He’s smiling gently, and looks like the kind of guy you could talk to about almost anything. At first, I thought he was “Alec.” It turns out, however, that ALEC is actually an acronym for four simple steps a person can take when checking on someone who is going through a hard time:



Encourage Action

Check (Back) In

If you check out the website for more details about ALEC (a model developed by “R U OK?”) and you compare it to the six questions referenced in the aforementioned Huffington Post article, you will find that each and every one of us can be Alec… and Alec’s friend. Each and every one of us has the ability to identify and (help) eliminate three-fold sorrow. It’s one of six our “super” human powers after all!

One of the reasons why checking in about how someone is feeling in the present moment, is that things change and the way we feel changes – physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetic/spiritually – moment to moment. As the world changes around us, it’s OK – more than OK – to be happy about certain things while simultaneously angry and frustrated (sometimes about the same things). We can simultaneously hold gratitude and sadness about a lost loved one – gratitude that they were in our lives and sadness that they are no longer with us on physical plane. We can be confused about which way to go moving forward, while also very confident about our desire not to go backwards.

One thing it is important to remember is that we embody all of the sensations, thoughts, and emotions we experience. So, as we are checking in with each other, be sure to check in with your own self. The physical practice of yoga (hatha yoga, regardless of the style or tradition) is a great opportunity to tune in and tune up. Also, take some time – maybe while you walk or sit or write – to ask yourself, “How YOU Doin’?”

“What’s happening now is impacting us all in different ways. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do, where to start or what to say. As we push through this together, we hope we can empower people to connect with others who are struggling and find the help they need now.”

– Brendan Maher, Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Movember

Please join me for a 65-minute virtual yoga practice on Zoom today (Sunday, Movember 8th) at 2:30 PM. I am in the process of updating the links from the “Class Schedules” calendar; however, the Meeting IDs in the calendar are the same and are correct. PLEASE NOTE: Zoom 5.0 is in effect. If you have not upgraded, you will need to give yourself extra time to log into Zoom. You can always request an audio recording of this practice (or any practice) via email or a comment below.

Today’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [“Look for Movember 3rd 2020”]

In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, recordings, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). Donations are tax deductible; class purchases are not necessarily deductible.)

Some of you definitely moustache this out!

“What we would like to do is change the world–make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute–the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor in other words, we can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We can give away an onion.”

– quoted from “Love Is The Measure” printed in The Catholic Worker (June 1946, 2) by Dorothy Day (b. today 1897)

If you are thinking about suicide, worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also call the TALK line if you are struggling with addiction or involved in an abusive relationship. The Lifeline network is free, confidential, and available to all 24/7. YOU CAN TALK ABOUT ANYTHING.

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