Monday, January 19, 2009

President Obama & Nikki's Healing Story

I'm so elated about the Inauguration. The anticipation I feel reminds me of Christmas Eve. (I know Obama is talking about our need for sacrifice and Santa isn't really about that, but I'm that excited nevertheless.) Watching TV on election night when Obama was declared the winner and seeing people like civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis break down in tears was so poignant. In trying to assign some meaning to this historic moment, I remember this lovely healing story from my hero, karma yogini and fellow BTWGer, NIKKI MYERS.

I've adopted and come to love the term ‘healing story’. I first heard this phrase in the wonderful book entitled Waking, authored by Mathew Sanford. Waking recounts Mathew’s trauma and transcendence following a tragic automobile accident that killed his father and sister and left him paraplegic. In this beautiful memoir, Mathew describes healing stories as “stories we have come to believe that shape how we think about the world, ourselves, and our place in it….Healing stories guide us through good and bad times; they can be both constructive and/or destructive and are often in need of change. They come together to create our own personal mythology, the system of beliefs that guide how we interpret our experience.”

Traveling home from Denver, I recognize that I am in the midst of my own powerful healing story. I was invited to Denver to participate in The Huffington Oasis, a collaborative effort created by Arianna Huffington and Seane Corn to promote a contrast to the talk and politics of the Democratic National Convention and to offer delegates, press, staff and anyone else who wanted it, yoga, massage, facials, meditation, whole food vegan snacks, organic green drinks and more as a way to unplug and recharge rather than the usual vodka, cigarettes, coffee and donuts used for that purpose.

The creators of the Oasis recognized that the DNC brings together bright and brilliant minds engaging in big, far-reaching, life impacting decisions. In that recognition, they began to conceive of a place where these big decisions could be made from a mindset of calm, balance, and tranquility rather than fear, anxiety and stress. The Oasis became the supportive environment for that mindset and it was a huge hit at the convention. Seeing our nation’s leaders come into the room stressed and anxious and leave renewed and relaxed was a healing story in and of itself. It was truly a blessing and honor to be a part of it. My prayer is that this one becomes a healing story for all conventions everywhere.

However, The Oasis is only one part of this story. The other part of my healing story happened at Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. When I arrived for my shift at the Oasis, I had no idea what was coming. When I was gifted with ‘the golden ticket’ to the acceptance speech, it took all I had not to disrupt the tranquility of the Oasis with screams of sheer joy.

And as I sat in Mile High Stadium on this historic night, in this incredible setting along with a crowd of 85,000 + Americans, filling a football stadium, waving American flags and signs calling for "Change” I start to realize something deeper than I ever expected was stirring within me.

This amazing grace began when excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech started to play. As the big screen displayed the 1963 images of protesters being beaten, fire-hosed, and viciously attacked by police dogs, I vividly recalled (as I have many times before) that defining moment in my life. That’s the origination point of this healing story.

As a 10 year old black girl watching the civil rights protest on television, I clearly remember making what I now know as a ‘fundamental illogical childhood decision’. (I learned this term recently while studying yogic philosophy and psychology in India.)

The decision that 10 year old girl made at the time was this: if people that looked like me were being subjected to this kind of assault and cruelty by police, government officials and authorities – there must be something horribly wrong with me. In that moment I decided that I must be terribly flawed, unworthy and fundamentally wrong, otherwise this attack by the authority figures that I’d been taught were good, right and honest couldn’t possible happen.

This decision I made as a 10 year old girl has been a mighty force, a limiting belief that has run through my entire life.

On Thursday, August 28th in Mile High Stadium at approximately 6:30 p.m. in an absolutely grace-filled moment, more than 4 and half decades after I made that fundamental illogical childhood decision..the spell was broken; the lie undone. Decades of unworthiness, defectiveness and hopelessness that have been a familiar undercurrent of my every triumph, failing or anything in between dissolved. Every dimension of my being feels and experiences this transformation to wholeness, compassion and truth. It defies words. And, this all happened even before Barack launched into his historic address.

After Obama’s speech, the transformation amplified, becoming even more rich and full. It is an experience that continues right into the present moment.

This healing story now guides my life in a new way. I now think about the world, myself and my place in it differently.

Yoga teaches us that there is no separation. From that teaching I know that this is not just my healing story. It’s a healing story for people of all races, for America and for our planet. My awe and gratitude defy words.

Nikki is attending The 44th President of the United States' Barak Obama's swearing in ceremony as well as a fancy ball or two. Along with her healing spirit, she is taking her precious granddaughter Myanna, and my slinky black Richard Tyler gown. She promises us Nikki's Healing Story II.

From 'I Have a Dream' to Obama Inauguration

Update 1/20/09:

Love the crowds. I feel the energy through the TV and through the internets. I'm going to remember this day for a long, long time. I love all of the tales of hope & healing. So many people are sharing poignant & heartfelt stories about what today means to them. The media is actually allowing people to speak from their hearts straight to us without the absurd filters and divisions into "left" and "right" usually imposed upon news coverage.

Whether they grew up in the days of Jim Crow or the hip hop days, so many people honestly felt this could never happen, that a person of any color, or any person outside the narrow view of "mainstream" could become president of this country. Some wouldn't even dream about the possibility, and now it's true.

I heard Colin Powell this morning. He is the epitome of Establishment to me. I imagine him truly believing any man or woman could pull him/herself up by the boot straps and become president, but he was terrified that it wasn't so. It is so. Namaste.

Update II 1/20/09:

Wow! What an amazing day. It's been inspirational.
Loved the poem.
Loved Facebook/CNN thing.
Hope my dress is having fun at the ball.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Ellen, Wow! Thank you for sharing that story. I took my children to see Barack when he spoke downtown, and the moment was magical. He is truly whole food for the soul! Happy Holiday, Kelly