Saturday, September 25, 2010
I met Carol Horton.
I met Carol Horton of the blog: Think Body Electric last night. We had food and drink at Mana, one of my favorite places right across the street from Yogaview-Division. It’s always so great to meet blog friends, and it was a delight to meet Carol.
Guess what we talked about??
Well, we talked about yoga culture and yoga blogging, Internet culture and relationships.
I heard Carol express concerns about how yoga is increasingly being taught as more of a workout sport, and less as a spiritual discipline. And I also heard her say that when she started yoga, she really wanted to stretch out, but she remembered that some of her earliest teachers said things about synchronicity and spirituality that made her stop and think in different ways at times. And at some point the yoga really hit home and became an important and safe place for her to nurture her authentic self.
I found myself identifying with what I heard her saying (I hope I got it right—there’s always the danger that I might have just seen my own projections.), and I found myself thinking that our early yoga paths may have been somewhat similar.
The image of yoga, as it is becoming more incorporated into American culture and advertising parlance, seems to be taking on popular notions about beauty and worthiness for women which means thin and physically desirable to men. This directly presents a deep and personal conflict for women (not unlike me) who through the process of yoga have found a connection to personal authenticity that went previously unrecognized by others, but now is seen and known, personally, by individual practitioners of yoga, possibly through a breakthrough experience during the practice.
I understand this. Our personal revelations about life are sacred and important. And worth honoring and protecting.
Blogging about yoga gives a forum for people who care enough about it to devote time regularly to writing about it to be read (or “heard”) by others, and there is an opportunity for feedback. This is the richness of this medium. Blogging has been such a blessing for me because of this. Through blogging I have learned that I am not alone. In fact I have discovered that others feel similar to me on yogic subjects. This has been very affirming.
Another richness of the feedback in comments is that they can contain viewpoints that differ from those expressed in the original post. If this is done in a respectful manner, it can be very helpful to readers and writers on the Internet.
What has sometimes happened (recently in my direct experience) is that someone will openly attack someone else personally (and/or behind their back). Personal attacks are not appropriate or helpful. I think that when people get into attack mode it indicates a personal issue getting triggered, and in that reactive or "triggered" mentality we might just want to make the other person “wrong” or somehow convince ourselves that they are insignificant (lesser than our higher or more relevant viewpoint).
Another option (rather than an automatic attack) is to take some time and process the anger through personal journal writing, or another private avenue like talking to a trusted person outside the direct conflict to gain clarity. Then, if you want to take on the issue or idea publicly, do it in a way that honors and respects all parties involved, but be heard. Allow your distinct viewpoint to get some air and eyes. It’s always a risk if you know or aren’t sure if others agree. But do it. I think it helps everybody to open our minds and hearts to understand multiple viewpoints.
Another response that I find suspect is just shutting someone out. If you are deeply disturbed by something someone has said try to find out more, possibly through personal email (or possibly through personal journal writing), if the subject seems sensitive. But if you don’t like something you read in someone’s writing after years of relationship, and respond by unfriending on Facebook or unfollowing and blocking them on Twitter, what message does that send?
It sent a confusing message to me when that recently happened. I just don’t know why two friends that I’ve included in my prayers, and helped me through some lonely times, particularly when I was new to blogging, have suddenly cut themselves off from my info. But I honor their apparent need to define a boundary right now.
That’s it in a nutshell (for now...): Yoga Culture, Blogging, Internet Culture, and Relationships.
I am getting an education.
Thanks, Carol! I’ve only processed a bit of our in-depth conversation. I really appreciate the opportunity (that we seized) to get together and share ideas.
What a blessing!