Where you eyes go, your body will follow. ~Michele’s Hot Yoga Instructor
Years ago I went to Hot Yoga every week, at least once.
We were in that pre-kid time, when “busy” meant something wholly different than it does now. We remember it fondly. Knowing now, of course, that we’ll remember this time fondly, too.
Anyway, if you’ve never been to hot yoga, it’s often a pretty regimented and scripted event. In fact, at the Chicago studio where I practiced, each class was scripted down to the exact word. The cadence was the same, the tone was the same, the words were the same…
Some might find that boring. To me, it was (and is) soothing.
And near the end of class, there was a particular pose – the spine twisting pose.
As you would expect from the name, it involves a deep spine twist – not unlike the one you probably had to do in gym class as a fifth grader. Just a little more involved.
As with other Hot Yoga poses, you hold the pose for what feels like forever, allowing your body to soften and deepen the stretch.
I still remember the words of encouragement from the instructor, directing us to stretch our gaze as much as our torso. Always the same. Always profound.
“Where your eyes go, your body will follow.”
It’s true in the physical sense, of course. (Anyone who’s ridden a bike knows this. And if you’ve ever been in a car near someone who is texting while driving, you’ve seen it, too.)
But it’s also true in the mental sense.
Where our eyes go, our minds follow.
When my eyes could reach that back corner of the room, my mind realized that I could do just one inch more. And so I did.
The physical capacity of my body was no different.
It was my belief about what my body could do that changed.
And it all started with my eyes.
Where you look is an intentional, not passive, act.
Last week I shared an NDN video featuring Simon Rosenberg, who shows how Democrats have a shot at keeping the House and Senate. I’ve been glad over the last week to see other polls backing up his analysis challenging the narrative that the midterms are a lost cause for Democrats … and confirming that this is a competitive election, not a red wave.
Simon has been begging Democrats to look just a little closer at what’s going on around them.
It’s a great example of someone challenging everyone else’s gaze.
Where are your eyes right now?
Where are you willing them to look?
Are you looking at doom and gloom forecasts of the election and – without even knowing it – stopping yourself before you even begin?
Or are you looking toward the goal and pushing as far as you can – recognizing that of course it’s hard but that with constant work and effort we can get that little bit farther… and maybe it’s that last little bit that will matter the most?
This week, focus on your eyes. Will yourself to stretch your gaze.
And then do the things that bring your body to where your eyes have landed.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of July 26, 2022
Is it 2022 or 1922? Congressional Republicans Don’t Seem to Know
It’s 2022 and there are 195 Republican Congresspeople who voted against the Right to Contraception Act. That’s incredible to me, but it’s true.
Go here to see what members of your State’s Congressional delegation voted for/against the bill. https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2022385. If you live in Missouri, both Dems voted for the bill and ever single Republican – including Hartzler and Wagner (both women) voted against.
The bill has been sent to the Senate, where it may get hung up with the filibuster.
Again, this is completely wild to me, but it is where we are.
Please call your Senators and ask them where they stand on this bill – which should be about as controversial as vanilla ice cream.
As an aside, Senator Romney asked last week if we are going to need to codify every Supreme Court opinion.
The answer is: With this Supreme Court? Absolutely.
Up Your Postcarding Game with Watercolors! (Fun!)
Oh I love this event from Postcards to Voters. One of their wonderful volunteers is “postcarding it forward” by sharing tips and techniques intended to enhance your craftivism enjoyment.
Longtime fine art and graphic design instructor Allie will show us how to create spiffy (but simple!) watercolors to delight voter-recipients. Mark your calendar:
Sunday July 31, 2022
4 PM – 5 PM Eastern
One Million High School Students (h/t Chop Wood Carry Water)
If you’ve been reading Small Deeds for a while, you know how much I think high school students and recent grads can impact elections. The kids really are the future, and we have GOT to register and mobilize them.
A conversation I had with a canvasser in Ohio last week confirmed the importance of simply asking kids if they are registered. While the canvasser was talking to a woman, he saw her teenage daughter was listening – and included her in the conversation. Turns out she was a recent high school grad getting ready to go off to college. When he asked her if she was registered, she said no.
He was able to direct her to the secretary of state’s website, where she registered on the spot!
She had just never been asked, or told how to register. And that’s common!
The Civics Center estimates that one million high school students will be eligible to register and vote in time for the midterms. That’s right – one million. (Check out the cool image below for how many students are turning 18 in your state!)
And did you know: Sixty six percent of young voters who were registered voted in the midterms.
But you thought young voters don’t turn out, right!?
That’s not the whole story! Less than half of youth ages 18-24 were registered. And so, we get an overall youth citizen turnout rate of just 32%.
There are going to be targeted actions over the next few months, as high schools and colleges start the fall term. The Civics Center is coordinating volunteers across the country to reach out to these high schools to encourage them to get their students registered to vote this fall and to take advantage of their training sessions and resources to learn how to hold a high school voter registration drive.
They need your help. Join them on July 28 at 4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET for a virtual volunteer workshop to learn about how you can get involved in this campaign. (https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEudeyoqjotHNOn59vDv3GYgVB2CW7DLfMT?sourceid=&emci=a262f950-5e08-ed11-b47a-281878b83d8a&emdi=098569bd-6208-ed11-b47a-281878b83d8a&ceid=23722445)
They’ll go over the many ways you can support high school registration efforts through building relationships with students, educators, and community members.
Wednesday/Thursday: Vote Save America
Vote Save America is having a 100 Days of Action before the Midterms. You can take the pledge here, which will direct you to some high-impact events in your area. Take the pledge here: https://votesaveamerica.com/100days/?_kx=zdU58pq8BqFvECHXots1DCj1WjlBqMUaL3ZxAu6dGd4%3D.UbWYQp
If you’re really ready to level up your organizing skills and connect with other volunteers and activists, join the Vote Save America virtual community on Slack. This is an opportunity to go above and beyond, whether that’s simply signing up for opportunities with more organizations and campaigns, taking part in trainings and programming, or working with folks who live near you to make a difference in your community. Join a welcome call to get your invite to the Slack.
WHEW! GO TEAM!
P.S.: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work you can do so via Patreon at
https://www.patreon.com/smalldeedsdone or via paypal at https://www.paypal.me/smalldeeds
My deepest gratitude in advance.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every email! We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.