If I use Nonviolent Communication to liberate people to be less depressed, to get along better with their family, but do not teach them at the same time to use their energy to rapidly transform systems in the world, then I am part of the problem. I am essentially calming people down, making them happier to live in the systems as they are, so I am using Nonviolent Communication as a narcotic. –Marshall Rosenberg, Center for Non Violent Communication
As I look at the week ahead, I notice that this coming Friday is Juneteenth, the celebration of the last reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved people in Texas in 1865.
One hundred and fifty-five years later, this day continues to resonate and teach us that our freedom is contingent on everyone’s freedom. That is, I can’t fully be free unless everyone is free. As such, Juneteenth is not an event to be celebrated in the Black community alone but one that has universal appeal.
As a Cuban refugee my family made it here seeking that freedom that was proclaimed all those years ago. I’m here because of the struggle for freedom. As someone who shares his yoga practice with others, there’s a taste of inner freedom I sense as we move and breathe on our mats that I know can translate to an outward manifestation. If it doesn’t translate and the practice becomes something about looking good enough to post on Instagram than yoga becomes a mere narcotic as Marshall Rosenberg observes, just another way to keep us distracted from our own hearts, in fetters to our lack of imagination.
I invite you to think about this and encourage you to see your mat and your yoga practice as a form of liberation and engagement, as an incredible vehicle not merely for your own benefit but for the good of many. We can’t be free unless everyone is free. This is why I keep showing up with you! And it is a practice because we are always learning.
Education is powerful. As a way to celebrate Juneteenth, I invite you to take a look at the film 13th on Netflix. The film traces the development and application of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, providing some context for the nationwide protests highlighted by the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Please watch. I’ve seen the documentary several times. It is powerful, heart wrenching, and insightful. Share the film with someone else. Let me know what it brings up for you.