The Peaceful Warrior

Ahimsa seated hands in air

On the elementary school playground the new girl, Katie, who had just moved in from out of state gets isolated by a pack of girls. “You wear such strange clothes,” “Yeah, you look so weird,” “Why don’t you go back to where you came from” are just a few of the comments from the crowd. The more Katie gets laughed at and ostracized the bigger the crowd gathers around her, even boys stepped in.

Katie has to make a quick decision, break down, and slump into a defeatist posture and or run away to tell a teacher. Or even worse, put a lid on her voice and escape to a bathroom to cry it off only to be terrorized by those girls again another day.

But having had yoga bully proofing training at her previous school, Katie knew which choice to make. She stood firmly planting her two feet flat onto the earth, straightening her back and broadening her shoulders.  Standing in Tad asana, mountain pose, the first posture she learned in yoga education, and then Katie took 3 deep breaths before replying to the mob.

With confident body language, Katie spoke in a strong voice, “I feel good when I wear these clothes. Sorry if you don’t like them, but I never asked your opinion. This is how the cool kids dressed at my old school. Maybe you could help me learn your style so I can be as cool as you!”

The crowd went silent. No one knew what to say. Katie’s confidence shined through and the slight flattery towards the group shocked the onlookers. Finally, a soft spoken girl from the crowd said, “Sure, we can teach you a lot of what we do here.” Almost unanimously the others chimed in, “Yeah”, “OK”, “We’ll help you.” Finally, the leader (the bully who started it all) spoke, “I can show you, I even have some magazines in my backpack we could look at together for current fashion ideas.” The spell was broken. Katie proved in that moment that she would not take abuse from anyone.

The other students got it and never approached her again in this way. One definition of a bully is someone who intentionally hurts another person physically or verbally. Research shows that bullies are typically insecure within themselves and often come from a troubled family life, they are sometimes even victims of bullying within their own family dynamics. Thus, they carry this to school and put down or torment others.

Often times the school systems are preoccupied with disciplining the bully or trying to change the bullying behavior. This approach misses the point and is not working. Just look at what kind of shape the nation’s schools and colleges are in today regarding violent issues.

Often parents come to me and complain about the schools approach to intervention. They tell me that the school blames their son or daughter because they are an easy prey to the bully. The support is just not there within the schools. Seeing this I realized it was time to jump in and help the families of victimized students.

[notify_box style=”green”]In 2004 I began, CALMING KIDS (CK): Creating a Non-Violent World, in order to teach children, teens and young adults how to avoid becoming the victim in school or in the neighborhood. The primary task is to train students how to become “peaceful warriors,” a Buddhists term meaning to be calm yet strong when dealing with confrontation. To teach school age youth how to stand tall, centered and grounded, how to speak confidently from a strong position, able to express their personal beliefs. Techniques are taught to build self-esteem and courage combined with the practice of important verbal tactics such as humor, flattery, compassion, and self-love.[/notify_box]