For years, I have been out of the loop politically. It's just a bunch of mental masturbation to me. Blah blah blah! I vote. I care. But I'm just tired of the bullshit. I grew up in an intellectual household where knowledge of current events was very important. Reading the New York Times and multiple other publications daily was the norm. But not for me. I'm a Sunday New York Times Style Section girl. Cover to cover every week.
Then last week when I was driving home from work, I heard Michelle Obama on the radio speaking at the DNC. I have some background with Michelle. I'm from the same neighborhood in Chicago where she and Barak used to live. I went to the same school as their kids. Like all Hyde Parkers, I kind of feel like I really know Michelle and Barak Obama, so when Michelle was speaking, it felt like listening to a trusted friend. At one point in her speech, Michelle said, "If you succeed you don't slam the door shut, you reach back and help the next person succeed."
Whoa. When I heard her say this, I nearly wept. Her voice, so warm and loving and fierce all at once, made me feel like she really believed that statement. I know Michelle and I aren't really friends, and I know she's speaking to millions of people, but it felt so real, like change is possible if we can remember not to slam the door shut.
The next morning I taught the 6am class at The SweatBox. The class was all women, about ten of them, mostly in their late 30s to early 60s. One older woman made the trek down to Capitol Hill from Shoreline at the ungodly hour of 5:30am to meet her friend who lives near the Capitol Hill studio. Her friend had been complaining about her arthritic shoulder and she knew yoga would help. All of the women worked their asses off. They always do.
At the end of class, when everyone was lying in final Savasana, I did my usual guided relaxation. "I don't know if any of you heard Michelle Obama on the radio last night." (Some whoops were shouted from the corpse poses in the darkened room). "She said, 'If you succeed you don't slam the door shut, you reach back and help the next person succeed.'" Hallelujah and Amen uttered the corpses....
I said, "Michelle Obama must do yoga because she has so much to give." Now I don't know this for sure (because she and I are not super tight friends), but I know Michelle Obama must do yoga or something equally self-nurturing because she is a woman who clearly takes care of herself enough to be able to offer amazing inspiration to those around her. I said as much to this class full of hard-working women. It is only by caring for ourselves (yoga, yoga, yoga!!!), that we can replenish the energy neccessary to support our families, our communities, and (dare I say this semi-political utterance)our country.
I'm still not political, but Michelle Obama's one liner gave me some clarity about how all parts fit into the whole of making our country a better place. Taking care of ourselves is the first step. Give yourself a little and you'll have a little bit more to give. Thanks Michelle Obama.