2020 A Hopeful New Year

It’s not been a Happy New Year for most of Australia, and not here in Canada either for us as we watch the land we love smothered in fire and smoke.  I’ve spent the last week tied to my phone every afternoon reading the news and hearing from friends and family about what they are going through, and this week of course was the worst. It’s devastating to watch, and quite hard to be so far away while I hear stories from those in the midst of this disaster.

I’ll admit, this past week I’ve been in despair and feeling quite hopeless.  That doesn’t help anyone, I know, but hopeless and helpless is how I have been feeling.

So, finally today, with no way to help, nothing that felt big enough to make a difference, I did something small, I just moved.  Walked the dog.  Rode the elliptical.  Got on my mat.  When I think about it, it seems so insignificant, indulgent even, given all that people in Australia are going through.  But, with nothing else to do, I moved, and it helped.

It felt good to be in my body and off of my phone after days spent glued to the news. It felt right to be present with what was happening now in my body, mind, and emotions – even when it was hard.  Now I feel stronger, more hopeful, ready to see in a new year.  And, I have remembered that there are some things that I can do to help:

  • Stay connected – sending love might not seem like much, but it does help when you are going through a crisis to know that someone is thinking of you.
  • Bear witness* – this might be happening a world away right now, but it’s our world, and climate change knows no boundaries.  If those people and places I love in Australia must experience this, it’s the least I can do to witness it.
  • Send money* – there are organizations on the ground helping to support the firefighters, affected families, and animals now, and to help everyone recover in the coming months.  I’ll be donating to (verified) fundraisers and especially to the NSW Rural Fire Service today.
  • Speak up – I am so lucky to have citizenship in two countries and I will use my vote, my voice, and my time to speak up, volunteer, and challenge government on all levels to address this current crisis and act with vision for the future.

What can you do?  Well, all of the above if you are able.  And, if you are a yoga teacher, in the coming months you can help by donating classes, fundraising for organizations on the ground, and perhaps doing a training in trauma aware yoga and/or yoga for first responders (like Frontline Yoga) and offering classes for frontline workers like our brave firefighters.

If you have other ideas to share on what we can do to help, support, recover, and move forward please do share them below.

Sending you all love, wherever you are in the world, and wishing you a hopeful new year.

*For some, watching the news or social media can be triggering or retraumatizing.  If that’s the case for you, practice the self-care you need right now and take media breaks/withdrawal as you need to.

*Here is a helpful article with links to places you can donate much needed funds. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/21/how-you-can-donate-and-help-the-volunteer-firefighters-in-australias-bushfire-crisis

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