Non-violence sounds easy, no?
This was something that I found difficult to do throughout my (yes, some of you might say: short) life.
I grew up with violence around me. My dad would – everyday – beat my brother and I to a pulp for no reason (or maybe I was just too young to know). My mom would be frustrated with her life and her circumstances, and as a result she would always hold on to a knife, threaten to kill my brother and I and then herself. Call it escapist. I called it wise back then.
Exposed to pain and violence from a young age, that was all I knew. Violence was the way to process my anger. Violence was the way to make sure that people heard me. Violence was the way to make myself feel human and in touch with my emotions. Sadly, it was the only way I knew how to navigate through life.
I was cleaning out my life just last year, and I stumbled upon my stash of things from my childhood. I opened a box, and in it was a birthday card to myself.
It was my 11th birthday, and in my birthday card I said “Dear Nathalie, please give yourself the best gift of life. Death. Here are top 10 ways to die: 1. Jump off the building. 2. Stab yourself. 3. Jump in front of a train….”
Funny how 11 year old me knew the that the greatest gift in life was death (it really is, because the moment we are given immortality, life somehow becomes meaningless). But maybe I had taken my understanding of death being the greatest gift in life too literally. At a young age, I had mastered the art of being violent to oneself.
It has been a difficult journey. I’ve only been pursuing yoga for the last 3 years, but I’ve only seen the effects of ahimsa bear fruit in the last 1.5 years or so.
Yoga gave me an outlet to let go of this anger. Yoga gave me hope that I could be a non-violent person. To others. Especially, to myself.
– Nathalie Rachel Fernandez, 24 Oct 2016