FOCUS OF THE WEEK: IT ALL STARTS WITH ONE (Aug 19.13)

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There are many reasons why we practice yoga: health, harmony, focus, strength, flexibility….but ultimately you practice because it helps you live your daily life. To be rooted in self-awareness is a wonderful gift and guide on how you spend the hours you are not on the mat and that includes becoming aware of how the smallest egotistical choices you make every day affect not only you and your community but the entire planet.

Yoga advocates we change whatever we can change, anyway we can without ever being discouraged. It activates the spiritual warrior in us and grants us license to love and protect “others”. Through the power of our words, thoughts and actions, we become carriers of positive change. One unfortunate yet common reaction to this is “Seriously, how am I small peck of dust going to be able to change anything? Social and behavioral deeply rooted issues will never change, certainly not because of me”

Nothing breaks my heart more than this strong belief that is the very reason, most of the planet continues to carelessly perpetuate the same destructive patterns, individuals going about their individual lives feeling separate from the rest. What about all these tons of inspiring stories out there, of people who were able, to raise awareness, show a new way, inspire and usher major change in the world. Want a list?

Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Malcom X, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Charlie Chaplin, hell even Angelina Jolie, writers, poets…aren’t they all proof enough that it all starts with one. And why can’t that one be you? One makes a difference so stop believing otherwise.

I was at the beach last Wednesday with my nieces and some friends. As we swam in the sea, which always makes me cringe because of how disgusting it is, my niece (who lives in a much more civilized country than ours and cannot comprehend why would such a beautiful country as Lebanon be so mistreated) found what looked like a portion of a plastic bag in the water. She pulled it out while I said almost apologetically “it’s plastic, isn’t is sad?” She said, “It can’t be, it’s white algae” and I responded “No it’s plastic I promise you”
It was so hard for her to accept this crazy idea that she kept on insisting it was algae, she said “In the Atlantic ocean there are white algae” and I said “I know sweets, but this is a plastic bag”
With a really sad and resigned look on her face, she went out of the water and threw the plastic corpse in the trash. I looked around to see if someone was watching in hope that her action would inspire others in doing the same. Most people would have just left the plastic bag to float away and carry on with its purpose to kill sea life

There is a serious threat on the environment in this country because of how WE treat it, so isn’t it OUR responsibility to try and fix it? I read a report on the levels of pollution in Lebanon and how the Nitrogen Dioxide in Beirut is two-thirds over the Global Standard. TWO FREAKING THIRDS! This means that our city is alarmingly polluted (http://keeplebanongreen.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/lebanon-nitrogen-dioxide-pollution-in-beirut-two-thirds-over-the-global-standard/)

The article encourages us to take action and matters in our own hands given the lack of government-planned environmental policies or initiative or concern.
Got that one right! Weak, corrupt, inefficient and inexistent do not jive well with saving the environment. If you can’t expect anything to happen on that front, do you just adapt and let it be or do you try and do something about it with the unwavering conviction that as huge as this may seem, you alone can start to make a difference. Beirut city is turning into an unlivable health hazard and you have the power to do something about it. The question is are you going to?

Here are some of the things you can do:

* Carpool and “come together”.
* Service cars are at your service all day long. Foreigners take them all the time, why shouldn’t you?
* Apologies to those of you who own them but you can stop driving monster SUVs and buy a smaller car that emits less carbon monoxide, the same carbon monoxide going straight into the lungs of your children.
* You can turn your cars off when stuck in traffic for long periods of time.
*You can walk, hop, strut, bike, if the weather and distance permit.

The Great Einstein said “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”

Come on, save the world.

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