As I sat on my patio last night scrolling through my Facebook feed I was deeply saddened by the number of times I read “Me too.” posted by women I know, love, and respect. And while I cannot fix this alone I feel it’s partly my responsibility as a man, son, veteran, father, grandfather, and yoga teacher to share a few thoughts on the subject. If we’re going to make changes, real lasting changes, it has to start with acknowledging the problem and deciding right here and now to own it.
While I am not perfect in any stretch of the imagination I do try my best to live the very best I can each and every day. Over recent years I’ve been surrounded by women who have inspired me beyond words. Because of women I’ve been able to overcome a lifelong struggle with bulimia and I cannot fully express in words my gratitude for every single one of them who supported my heart and provided that safe container for healing to happen. We hold trauma in our physical bodies and yoga has helped me to see and understand this first hand. I’ve received extensive training on how trauma, sexual or otherwise, actually changes our physical self. Our brains actually change as a result of traumatic events, but there is a way to heal.
I was raised to respect women and for that I owe the deepest gratitude to my Mother for teaching me to do the simple things such as holding open doors, respecting women’s space, standing when a women leaves the table....basically things we call “chivalrous”, but truly things we need to call “being a decent fucking man”. I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16 years old, and even then was only allowed to go on group dates. Young people, and especially young men, need to be taught to own the responsibility of being in the company of women. Period.
Change starts inside, it starts with owning our shit, it starts with stopping. Stopping the behavior that leads to the pain of others, because when others hurt we all hurt. We cannot make lasting changes for the betterment of our world when half of the population feels threatened, fearful, and hurt. An analogy comes to mind - When we hammer a nail into a piece of wood we can remove the nail, patch up the hole, and paint over it, but the wood is never the same. The scars of trauma will be there, but we can learn to overcome the painful memories, or at least rise above the pain to a place of peace.
It’s time to bring this discussion to the next level. Right now. I want to be part of the solution and I hope other men will continue to speak out and set the example for the next generation of men who will inherit what society has allowed to be the status quo. WE MUST DO BETTER. We owe it to our Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. It starts at home, it starts in our schools, it starts in our proverbial locker rooms, it starts in places of worship, it starts on our yoga mats, it starts on our meditation cushions, it starts inside our hearts, it starts with you and me. If there are women who are hurting and need a man to listen I’ll be here. If there are men who need mentoring I’ll be here.
I’m humbled today and am sending energy of love, balance, solidarity, acceptance, and support to all the women who have been personally violated. One love.