The following post is coming from my heart as an individual. I am not writing this as a yoga teacher, a representative of Yoga Sol, or a contributor to Columbia Woman Magazine. I am writing this as Sarah Kohl, human being. While I suspect that the organizations I represent hold similar beliefs, my views are not necessarily theirs and they had no part in this post. Hold me, alone, accountable.
Our country is in the midst of a horrible epidemic that is taking the lives of our own. Bullying has always been a part of the lives of the young (and some adults,) but lately it has escalated to a level that is heartbreaking, horrifying, and even deadly. We have lost several youth in the last week due to bullying so extreme it resulted in these young people taking their own lives. Many of these people were bullied for being gay. They were chastised, criticized, bullied, belittled, humiliated, verbally and physically assaulted because of whom they chose to love.
Let me repeat that: They were tortured because of whom they chose to LOVE.
What is going on? How is it that loving someone – ANYONE – is wrong? How can choosing to LOVE be worthy of being shown HATE?
I don’t get it. I just don’t get it. It breaks my heart. It makes me weep. It hurts my soul.
Dan Savage, an openly gay journalist, has started a movement called the It Gets Better Project in response to so many young LGBT folks taking their own lives. It is a brilliant, beautiful, inspiring campaign to send a message to the youth of America (and the World) that IT DOES GET BETTER. Celebrities and non-celebrities record and upload messages of hope to those suffering bullying, judgement, and hatred. I have spent quite a bit of time watching these videos, reading messages, and contemplating how many of my own loved ones have suffered this kind of injustice silently. NO MORE. We can stop this.
You will never be able to convince me that love is wrong. You will never be able to convince me that hate is right. When we harm others, we harm ourselves. When help others, we help ourselves. I end most of my classes saying something along the lines of, “We are one world, one people, one love. What we do to help ourselves helps the world. Making ourselves better makes the world better. Give yourselves credit for doing at least one thing today to make the world a better place.” I believe every word of that. I also believe that we are all one. We share the same world, the same sun, the same moon, the same stars. We share the same energy flowing in and out. It’s called Prana and it is real. I also believe in Karma and that we get what we give in this lifetime. We make our own reality. We make our own peace or we make our own war. It’s up to us.
Do we all have to believe the same thing? Of course not. Do we all have to love the same way? Of course not. Do we all have to love? YES, OF COURSE. We have to love, even if it only means loving ourselves enough to want to make our lives better, our future better, our world better by spreading compassion instead of ignorance, love instead of hate, acceptance instead of judgement.
LOVE one another. LOVE. Just love. Stop hating. Stop hurting. Stop it now. It DOES get better. It will get better if we make it better. Start right now. Vow to end this needless pain, hatred, and violence. All we have is each other – hold on, give what you want to get, be the change you want to see.
ONE PEOPLE. ONE WORLD. ONE LOVE.
It starts with you and me.
- Memoirs of a Bullied Kid (danoah.com)
- The Bullying Epidemic and the It Gets Better Project: 5 Questions for Columnist and Activist Dan Savage (britannica.com)