“Human presence is a creative and turbulent sacrament, a visible sign of invisible grace”. John O'Donohue

Friday, 21 March 2014

Selfies Of The Uneasy Protester

Those of you who are friends on Facebook will have noticed my mini protest over the make-up free selfie craze that is still continuing to fill our news feeds. I find it offensive and exploitative, for many political, spiritual and cultural reasons, and whilst one or two friends expressed sympathy with my view, I could tell I wasn't winning any brownie points for pushing the issue.

"Validation" of the selfie phenomenon, came from a £1m windfall for Cancer Research UK, with people declaring that - look - the whole phenomenon had a point after all, so shut your face! I was passive/aggressively shut down on one conversation by one woman who wished me "good luck with the crusade." 

And yet push I did, because, in Jude world,  it is rarely enough to remain silent, even though I recognise that I allow myself to become provoked by the hurt of not always being heard.  I even posted a "selfie" of my own pale and hairy legs and a call to donate to small charities in greater need, and, in my opinion, doing much more valid work. This has forever been my problem. As I declared to some yoga friends the other day, I am pathologically truthful.  It has even lost me jobs in the past - one of the reasons I am self employed - and it continues to be a potential source of conflict.

In reflection, I recognise an uneasy relationship with the aspects of myself that I openly declare and project. Because, as a yoga teacher, and supposedly "spiritual" person, I have this not so deeply buried notion that I am somehow letting the side down by allowing myself to get angry in the form of protest. Like, maybe I should be chanting and  raising the vibration instead?

I am reconciled with these aspects of myself, but in truth, when I express my words of protest, there is a part of me that does worry about the reactions of those who might be expecting something a little gentler and less provocative from a yogi. But this spiritual yogi is also a feminist, a peace campaigner, an advocate of human and animal rights, a campaigner for integrative healthcare, an environmentalist and  a passionate defender of the marginalised and oppressed. In truth, I am a yogi and a teacher partly because these things matter to me.

In my work over the past year, I began to acknowledge and honour the transformational fire of appropriate anger and to begin to embrace it when it manifests. I also recognise that spirit is not always gentle. Sometimes the waves of awareness are powerful and turbulent .Loving, always,  but damned fierce.  Sometimes the energy that is required is one of saying NO MORE!  

It comes as no surprise at the Spring Equinox, and as we move into the more active phase of the year, that my fire is beginning to allow itself to be expressed.  I am curious to see where this realisation of my own uneasy relationship with my fire of protest will take me.

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