It’s said that the world has become like a small town in many ways. The web and mobile phone services connect us instantaneously with amazingly remote places. Inexpensive air travel has made big distances minuscule.
This process has accentuated the differences between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, developed and developing, as we see the disparities so much more clearly. I know people who want to turn their heads, not read the newspapers or watch the evening news, rather than have famines, floods and human afflictions in their faces.
So, I was very much heartened today to hear of the work of Off The Mat, Into The World. Marianne Elliott – Regional Leader for Australia & New Zealand – has contributed a podcast recording to the website Yoga Teacher Podcasts that I found inspiring and you might too.
The OTM organisation couples yoga practice with “conscious, sustainable activism and grass roots social change”. Those who sign on can participate in leadership trainings, link in community collaboration, and create local and global service projects.
There are so many ways of getting involved with other people for the common good.
I decided that when I turned 60 that it would mark a turn on the road for me from being career-oriented to being an elder in the yoga community, contributing in whatever ways possible. This seemed a better approach than being down in the dumps about getting old. To celebrate turning 60, I created a project of raising money for Medecins Sans Frontieres by getting sponsorship from friends and family and shaving my head. I even got a friend with a similar birthday to engage in this activity with me, and we raised $5,000.
Yoga practice is not really a solitary pursuit. Mature practice makes us want to share the blessings we receive and connect with our global family. Perhaps you’ll be able to find ways of doing this in this the season of goodwill and giving, and make it a commitment and focus for the New Year.