by Caitlin Rose Kenney
photo: Balinese blessing basket and offerings.
A friend and a colleague told me to write down 25 things I was proud of or happy about that happened in 2012. My initial reaction to this exercise was “This is a bit hokey, but hey, focusing on positive things can’t hurt.”
While there was certainly a lot of change in the air during 2012, it wasn’t as “divine” or as “terrible” as everyone predicted it to be. I am remembering being at John Friend’s workshop in Denver during November 2011 and the prediction for 2012 was “transitioning from humanity to divinity” with the warning “this could hurt!” This prediction contained two of our favorite words in the yoga world “humanity” and “divinity” (we like “transition” too). Before I delve into 25 amazing things that happened in 2012, I’d like to speak to the implications of how we relate to the word “divinity”.
The definition of divinity is the quality of being divine, godhood, deity or having divine attributes: ranking below god and above human. What is inherent in both the definition of divinity and our cultural integration of the word is a sense of hierarchy; that being divine is better than being human. If being divine is better than being human than it is no small leap to organize further by saying that being human is better than being animal. The focus many yogis have formed on being divine and hailing others who are “enlightened”, “gurus” or “teachers” has proved to be a faltering system of hierarchy. Divinity has been used as a justification for corruption, exploitation, immorality and irresponsibility. The yoga world is neither alone nor immune to this historical pattern.
Now is the time to question the implications of identifying with this type of divinity. Does seeking the divine result in you placing yourself or others on a pedestal? Does seeking divinity create a chasm between those who are doing things right and those who are doing things wrong? Does seeking divinity set a precedent in our inner world that leaks to our relationships, our community, and our environment? Unarguable, our eco-systems have suffered immensely because of our impressive ability to alter our surroundings – a divine capability. At the core of it, is there really a difference between the person that justifies working for an oil corporation and the person that justifies the abuses of a guru?
As we prepare to move forward from the darkest day of the year, a time to celebrate our most thoughtful and intuitive selves, how can we see past the illusion of hierarchy?
We can agree yoga is about union. Let us yoke together our experiences and offer the best of what we know. If divinity exists, than it exists in all of us. In every teacher, every student, every handful of dirt, every flight of a bird, every needle of a pine tree and in every burning star. Divinity is not a promotion from humanity and it’s definitely not a justification to behave poorly, contain a population of people or to rob the Earth’s land of materially valuable substances.
A blessing for us all as we reflect and re-aim: may our definition of divinity be of benefit to ourselves and by way of ourselves, especially to others.
My list of 25 things that I am proud of or happy about that happened in 2012 is full of divine occurrences. They are divine because they are indescribably beautiful. They stimulate every sensory receptor in my body and I am filled with a sense of awe and wonderment. I am filled with the thoughts “I can’t believe this happened!” and “Of course, this happened!” at once. In writing this list I have been able to re-experience and re-view some of the most moving events and culminations of 2012. This process, of honoring the past, has helped me set the stage for the future.
Top 25 Divine Moments & Accomplishments of 2012
- Exploring London and India with Tania Plahay.
- Recharging in Bali with myself.
- Farms and motorcycle rides in France, Geneva & Egypt with Joshua Scott Onykso.
- Assisting two 200-hour yoga teacher trainings.
- Owning 4 yoga classes a week.
- Getting a raise for doing what I love.
- Holding a baby goat.
- Being wrapped in the kind coils of Chino the boa.
- Breaking an 8-year pattern.
- Seeing the Tallest Man on Earth, Bon Iver and many other artists perform live.
- Being Round Midnight’s Facebook profile picture.
- Meeting Amy Tessler, Dakota Hills, Chelsea Richer, Ellie Fayen, Aiesha Teague, Kirsten Larsen, Lizzy Jo Williams, Chuck White, and Margo Moscou.
- Creating Yoga + Art with Ana Corella and Gregory Allen Klein.
- Taking a road trip to the great Sand Dunes with Tanika Vigil, Kolya Glick and Jared Lipton.
- Many motorcycle rides.
- Seeing someone I love become happy and healthy again.
- Watching my friends follow their dreams, move to different cities, and work to make a positive difference.
- Being in the best shape of my life.
- Getting bangs.
- Being a keeper of honeybees.
- Being treated by Shamans and healers.
- Sharing a man’s end of life journey. Sir Johnny, I will never forget you.
- Clearing the skeletons from my closet.
- Exploring San Francisco and reposing in Sausalito with Megan Hunt.
- Cooking up a friendship with Chris Duiven.
Now it’s your turn. After you make a top 25 list of 2012 and you feel warm and happy inside, plant seeds for the future. Just as you would make a new residence homey, set props and place inspiration around you for what is to come. Something fresh, something wise, something soft and something solid.