Paul Schutzer/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
By Stacey Griffith
January 16, 2017

Well the time has come.

It wasn’t until this election that I paid close attention to what it means to be for certain things. I learned how much I appreciate a leader with poise, dignity and calm. I will miss the Obamas and the cool undercurrent that they take with them from the White House. We all set our DVR machines last week to ensure that we caught the final farewell from our first black president. He afforded our country feelings of acceptance, unity and pride. President Obama’s accomplishments are even more magnified on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as I recall on an experience I shared on MLK 2015.

In 2015, my partner and I were invited to attend the premiere and surrounding celebrations of the movie Selma, on Martin Luther King Day in Selma, Alabama. There was no way I could have prepared myself for the impact this experience left on my heart. The history of the place, the Civil Rights Movement, and the present day racial divide, shook me to my core. As John Legend and Common sang Glory on the Edmund Pettis Bridge with the entire community holding lights and iPhones high in the air, I was covered in goose bumps, and profoundly moved by how all of us there on that bridge. Since this last election, many of us are scared that the country may move backwards. Back to the days of division of equality; and fear over hope.

So what can we do? How can we overcome our fear and release the tension and stress we wake up with as inauguration day nears? I want to give you something to focus on this week that will take your mind off of the political pressure the circumstances may be putting on your spirit. Let’s give this a shot, and see if it makes you feel better.

Of course part of healing our soul is spiritual work. There’s friends, family and good old cardiovascular exercise to get those endorphins pumping. But what can we do beyond making just ourselves feel better? How can we create that feeling of unity that existed before this election, the feeling that I got standing on that bridge in Selma. Another simple exercise….kindness. LOVE THY NEIGHBOR. I say it all the time in my classes at Soul Cycle. We are a community here. So turn to your neighbor and say hello. Smile at them! Give them a high five. And don’t be the weirdo that doesn’t say hi! There’s something to this mindfulness and awareness that’s trending these days. It makes you light, happy and full of positive energy. And when you emit that light, it reflects onto others. The hashtag not my president is not going to heal our hearts, or rebuild our divided nation. Let’s try a different approach, on a human level. Be nice. Listen. And find common ground. We can fight for what we believe in, and still maintain the respect and dignity we learned too well from our outgoing leader. Thank you President and First Lady, we will miss you. Let’s see what 2017 brings!

Stacey Griffith is a senior master instructor at SoulCycle and the author of the upcoming book Two Turns From Zero. Stacey’s motivational coaching style combines a passion for dance, athleticism and mind-blowing music—all set to the beat of her voice. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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