Life rule number 1: Don't be a dick
My number one life rule is “Don’t be a dick” and if you really think about it, it’s a pretty great way to live your life. Before you do or say anything if you remind yourself to not be a dick you’re probably going to speak and act with kindness and compassion.
This incredible and unprecedented moment in time that we are living in right now is the perfect time to use this motto as much as possible. For example: do I need 29000 rolls of toilet paper or am I being a dick? Do I need to hang out with my mate right now, or am I being a dick? Is blaming a whole race for the coronavirus okay, or am I being a dick? If the answer to any questions we put to ourselves is “Yes, I’m being a dick” then perhaps we need to reassess our points of view and our attitudes and invite compassion and understanding in.
Throughout this intense crisis, the main thing I have been coming back to is community. I’ve been drawn and moved to reach out and check on all my people, to offer our course for free for the first month and make a number of online classes available for free to support people staying at home and freaking out. I’m thinking of every and any way that I can help and support others in my community (Yoga Nidra for health and well-being coming soon). I'm doing what I can in my capacity to help. I believe our community reaches out beyond our family and friends, our industries and our countries, we are a community of human beings and we’re all in this together.
In living memory, we have never experienced anything like this, something that has the potential to affect every single one of us. Think about that.
There are 7.8 BILLION humans on this planet and EVERY.SINGLE.ONE is affected by this pandemic.
This community of ours is in panic mode, in crisis and is suffering. My questions to you is, what are YOU doing to not be a dick in this time of disaster. Are you supporting your community? Are you doing your best to stay at home, not catch the virus, not spread the virus? Are you supporting the disadvantaged people around you? Are you looking out for each other?
As South Africans in a third world country, this virus could be utterly devastating. If one human in any of the townships contracts this virus, can you imagine how many people will die? Without access to clean running water, to medical help to self-isolation and social distancing? The remarkable Ndivhudzannyi Mphephu, a fellow Yoga teacher, wrote the following:
“Holding up a mirror and checking my privilege right now.
The COVID - 19 'national disaster' has brought with it some minor inconveniences and shifts in my own life:
I am not able to continue the social and emotional learning work I was doing at a primary school.
I am not able to teach or practice yoga at a physical studio.
I need to practice social distancing.
I need to complete work packs with my brother sent home by his teachers.
I moaned a little upon realising all the above. Gotta CHECK my privilege though. These are really MINOR concerns. I am relatively safe, healthy, comfortable, contained and well in the midst of all of this. This is as a result of my privilege and I acknowledge it. Guilt and shame accompany this acknowledgement.
COVID - 19 is generating discussion around the deep social, economic and health systemic problems and inequalities in our society. We are considering the pandemic's impact given densely populated environments, lack of access to handwashing facilities, homelessness, an under-resourced and overwhelmed healthcare system, and precarious small businesses and employment conditions - to name only a few issues.
COVID - 19 is not an isolated 'national disaster' - it is undeniably linked to pre-existing social injustice and it is further exposing and exacerbating this painful reality. As a result, many are not and will not feel safe, comfortable, contained and well during this time. Furthermore, many have not felt safe, comfortable, contained and well BEFORE this time.
I hear the call to focus on self-care, checking in on others, spirituality, and other relief efforts such as supporting small business, paying employees, avoiding panic buying and practicing social distancing as much as possible. I also call on all of us to let these times radicalise us. I believe we need to examine and challenge capitalism and work to root out poverty and inequality in all its manifestations.”
I beg of you, in this situation, to not be a dick, for the sake of our very precious and precarious community.
My beloved teacher, Lady Ruthji says: “If you think of something nice to do for someone, you must do it. You MUST do it.” I have lived my life with Lady Ruth’s voice repeating this to me for the last 9 years. While you’re at home now, in the safety and comfort of your home, taking some time to think of your community, this community of human beings we are all a part of. Take some time to think of the good things you can do to support your community and then DO THOSE THINGS. Check in with you thoughts, words and actions and make sure you are not being a dick.
I am sending strength and health to each and every human being, along with such peace and big love to each of your hearts. Stay safe, be considerate and support your community.