WELLNESS FOR ALL-Originally published on- 11/17/2019
Attending workshops at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Stockbridge, MA is my favorite way to invest time and money. Learning from remarkable practitioners of yoga, coherent breathing, stress reduction, Ayurvedic-nutrition, and most recently Metta meditation has influenced my teaching, and ways of being. Expanding my views (literally and figuratively) helps me cultivate an open, curious mind. Without this wider lens, I’m embarrassed to write, I’m not 100% certain I’d notice the inequity of the current social landscape.
My October Berkshire visit for a Metta meditation workshop with Sharon Salzberg was deep and full of transformational moments. The practice of Loving Kindness is done silently, offering benevolent health, peace, and ease to yourself, acquaintances, enemies (perhaps a difficult stretch), and all sentient beings. Who knew sitting on your butt (at times in discomfort), has the potential to amplify circles, broaden awareness, settle anxieties, and shake you awake to the life you’re living.The act of wishing good-will to others, has the capacity to not only make your inner world more peaceful, but also foster acceptance, forgiveness, inclusion and love.
Social and racial disparities are obvious in wellness spaces such as Kripalu. Access to health enhancing programs seems reserved for the affluent few. Not unlike many college tours I’ve been on (primarily in New England), the Kripalu campus was overwhelmingly white. However, diversity was strongly represented by employees cleaning bathrooms, stocking cafeteria trays, and providing fresh towels. In mindfulness practice, they say change begins with noticing. Noticing when your mind has spun out in a fantasy, your itty-bitty committee has taken a turn for the worse, or paying attention to simple pleasures- like the gripping hug of a child, snowflakes on eyelashes, or the taste of a steaming cup of cocoa on a winter’s day. We can’t change what remains unseen.
During the meditation practices, when invited to wish positive, peaceful, healing energy to acquaintances/strangers, I knew precisely who I’d be offering blessings. I fantasize about a future where healthy living isn’t reserved for the privileged and monochromatic, and where we take care of the whole and not just the haves. A future where thoroughly seeing becomes prevalent, and un-noticing doesn’t feel right in our soul, and where all beings have access to the privilege of health and wellness.
Today (post- George Floyd's death), "un-noticing" is impossible. Excavating another layer since writing the above blog-post...why do wellness presenters look the same?
Are Black Americans facing greater health risks and hospitalization rates during COVID-19 because of people's choices and lifestyles, or circumstances beyond their control?
Becky Widschwenter- Mindful Movement with Becky