Despite all of this, I'm approaching the end of May feeling strangely happy and inspired. I think in part I've just been feeling a profound sense of gratitude for my circumstances in life and a feeling of total humility for how relatively charmed my life is - and it really, really is.
It's tempting to avoid the news because it is usually overwhelmingly depressing, negative, and tragic, and there's no way any one individual can carry with them all of the horrors that happen day to day. I often go through phases where I just have no desire to follow the news too closely. However, I usually find that the more connected I am to it and the more I try to learn about a story (and better yet, try to do something about it or engage with someone about it), the better I feel about things overall. I'm still left with knowledge and images of tragedy I might not otherwise have if I didn't watch the NBC Nightly News (how I love me some Brian Williams!) or decided not to read various shared articles by my Facebook friends, but the old cliche "Knowledge is Power" is always and profoundly true. It's always better to know and to be an informed citizen. Heartbreaking though it might sometimes be, it gives you the gift of perspective in your own life, to say nothing of gratitude.
I have stopped myself so many times this month during challenging moments at work, frustrations when traveling, when I was struggling to heal ASAP from a stupid and stubborn minor toe injury, and told myself how tiny those problems are in the grand scheme of what so many other souls are dealing with or have dealt with. I received some wonderful news last week regarding a family member's health and was at once overcome with a sense of joy that I felt almost anything could go wrong for me that day and I just flat out wouldn't care. The relief I felt overshadowed absolutely everything else, and man, were my priorities straight that day.
It's hard to put into words everything I'm feeling as this month draws to a close with all the joy and madness it's contained, and with Maya Angelou's death yesterday causing the world to overflow with her massive abundance of wisdom and articulation, I was terribly tempted to just plaster my blog with her words. When you're searching for profundity, who better to turn to than her, right?
But - that wouldn't really have been in keeping with her spirit. However inarticulate, I believe she taught that it's important to speak - to sing. To at least try. We can't solve everything wrong in the world or prevent bad things happening in our lives, but we can do our part. We can keep our priorities straight, have compassion for those less fortunate, and hold tight to whatever religious or spiritual practices keep us grounded. I know with every fiber of my being that my new daily practice, which is roughly two months strong now, has been invaluable in keeping my head on straight.
I will close with her last public quote, however - a tweet, which is just so very 2014. It's simple, it's profound, it's why I practice and need yoga.
"Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."
-Dr. Maya Angelou-