Cory Booker with Trevor Noah (right) on The Daily Show
Wishing all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday – I thought Cory Booker’s mother’s quote was just delightful.
He was being interviewed by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show and appears to still be as humble and service oriented and brave and kind as he has in every other interview I’ve read or seen with him.
Years ago, I remember reading that when he was Mayor of Newark, New Jersey (I felt an affinity as I lived in Newark, Delaware for a year as a kid), someone had contacted him about snowplows being needed and their elderly parents being snowed in. Next thing they knew, the then Mayor was out shovelling the snow himself.
I don’t remember all the details but this man – now Senator and, hopefully (after Hillary and Kirsten Gillibrand? I don’t even get to vote, this is seriously none of my business) a future US President – has literally saved lives. When Jon Stewart interviewed him years ago, I think he was compared to a superhero. He just seems so kind.
In the interview I saw this week, he was doing his best to think of nice things to say about people on opposite sides of the political spectrum.
And then he talked about love, in the widest sense. Easy to say, challenging to do:
‘Love everyone. Love seems like a soft word but I preach against tolerance because that is held up as some kind of ideal in this country, that we tolerate each other. But that’s a cynical state of being that says that if you disappear from the face of the earth, I’m no better or worse off. Love says, “I recognise that you have worth and value and I need you.” There’s an old saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together… we need each other.”’
I adore this man.
When we feel safe, it’s easier to hold that sense of love for our fellow beings. When we feel threatened, we view the whole world with suspicion. I always tell my yoga students and clients that just as some days we’re physically stronger and more flexible (and other days less so), sometimes, a Metta (loving kindness) meditation can feel amazingly heart expansive and empowering. Other times, it’s just too challenging to send loving kindness to ourselves, let alone people we’re struggling with (who am I kidding – it’s often hardest to send it to ourselves). Love is expansive. Fear makes us contract.
The theme continued in a yoga class I attended today. Sometimes I cover classes for the lovely Emma Turnbull but today I got to enjoy taking her class. She used Deepak Chopra as inspiration re pranayama, asana and meditation and encouraged us to give to everyone we met all week. While this can be an actual gift, Emma suggested kind thoughts and well wishes.
I’m used to doing my morning Metta meditation (sending loving kindness to various people and groups and the world at large) but have, so far, found it both lovely and challenging. First off, it’s so easy to forget. And then (already!) transformative.
Cycling home, popped into the Post Office – crazy long queue and one poor cashier on her own. Normally, I’d have sighed and pulled out my book. Today (also partly inspired by Dorothy Nesbitt and Art Giser :)), I was happy to just stand and be, sending well wishes to all the others in the queue (and the cashier, of course).
This is probably one of those posts where I forget quite quickly after writing but it’s a practice I want to play with more. Of course we’re human and it’s not always possible. But it’s so much more empowering to walk through this world from and expansive, open, loving place.
What helps you feel expansive?
How have you found Metta and similar meditations?
Do you agree with Senator Booker that love is better than mere tolerance?
Feel free to comment below.