I am a cynic. The more palatable way to describe my mind’s state is realistic. Either way, optimism doesn’t come easily to me. Maybe it is my anxiety that makes me this way, causing me to constantly think of worst case scenarios. Most times, I don’t want to see the good. I would rather remain in the fact that we all are pinned against each other in partisanship and in conflicts around the world. Somehow, it is easier to go along with the conflict instead of standing against it. But, apathy is not a state to inhabit.
The inner-cynic compared myself to people who practice gratefulness (all my yoga teachers). How can they be grateful in this mess? My contemplations in downward dog let me see the world right side up while upside down. I had to find a place within to solve the bitterness. Then, I could be positive, do better, do more. I turned on my mindfulness app and opened up a thankfulness meditation. A mantra of thank yous structured in a way to keep my focus. Thanking a role model for support, thanking the earth for provision and beauty, thanking myself for breathing. In this moment, I felt the knots begin to unravel.
In my practice of gratefulness, I found my privilege in my peace. I have the ability to set aside time for meditation or walks outside. While I am walking outside, I usually don’t fear for my safety. My whiteness allows me to find moments where I can step out of the hate in the world. Thankfulness can surround this privilege and leave you yearning for the same for marginalized groups. That desire directs you towards action.
I still get tangled in knots each morning when I open the news and scroll through the feeds. And then I release, to thank this world. Once I made this practice a habit, I started smiling more through the bad news. While emotions of rage, disgust, and frustration still arise, I manage to find peace outside of it all. Realizing, this is not permanent. There is hope.