Last week, I attended a methodology workshop for design professionals. It was great. I spent the day with other creatives who think in symbolism. We shared best practices and fully supported one another. I was surrounded by other people just like me.
That night, while driving across the Bay Bridge, I was flipped off. That’s not unusual. People are always showing their middle finger to others for perceived or real slights in traffic. But, these kids (I’d guess they were all under 25) then added chants of WP.
I didn’t know what that meant. I flashed a peace sign, through up my Buddha hands and looked confused.
They quickly clarified that WP means White Power.
In the workshop, we talked about opposites coexisting in long-term trends. I see people coming together in small and large ways. Helping one another. Making the world a better, more peaceful place. And, simultaneously, I see people self-segregating. Fearful and judgmental.
They want to be surrounded by other people just like them.
Surprisingly, I didn’t get angry when the boys continued following me and yelling White Power. I did call the police though. It was kind of a yoga moment.
Besides the Buddha hands, I thought about my effect on others. In my life, so far, people react very positively or very negatively to me without knowing me. There’s rarely an in-between. That’s especially true when I teach yoga.
The great thing about my training is that I know it’s not personal. What comes up in class comes from within. The teacher doesn’t create it. In my design career, I know that intense reaction, positive or negative, means I’m doing something right. No artist or designer wants a neutral response.
“Meh” is heartbreaking.
My taking yoga off the mat lately means finding those Buddha hands, not taking so much personally (when I can) and appreciating both positive and negative reactions as equal.
Day by day, step by step…just one millimeter at a time.