“Imitation is suicide.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In fashion, we all copy each other; it’s how a trend becomes well, a trend. In art and creative endeavors, everything is derivative. (Have you seen The Fashion Police on E! Can you say “Bitch Stole my Look?!). Often, we’re inspired by others so we take that and make it our own. Except when we don’t. And that’s called STEALING.
Today, the title of my blog (and ultimately the thematic content behind it) was, let’s say “borrowed” for the nth time by a prominent and respected figure in the spiritual community. This time, however, it wasn’t just a mention in a random article, but used as the title of her own blog (or rather, vlog) post. And here’s the thing: I’m all for sharing ideas and I’m even more for being the source of inspiration for someone else’s great work, but I am not for being ripped off. I do my best on the daily to practice the 8 limbs of yoga, and non-stealing or ASTEYA is central to that effort. Of course, typically, this one isn’t a challenge for me (unless I’m roaming around my BFF’s closet, and then I really have to practice non-stealing).
The Urban Dictionary defines the word “junkie” as a person who is consumed by addiction. I suspect this “spirit junkie” whom I have previously written about in the most celebratory of lights and once highly admired, is simply addicted to the attention given to her as a “spiritual leader”. Attention is an opiate- especially for those who have made careers of being in the public eye. I mean, why else would she appropriate someone else’s good idea for herself and not give credit where credit is due? And how could someone who is revered for helping others live their most authentic life be so inauthentic in her own life? Then again, I guess this wouldn’t be the first time in the history of the world that this has been the case.
While the concept behind my blog is certainly not original, the articulation of it, in terms of my slogan and my expression of it, most definitely is. Spirit & Sole: A SPIRITUAL GIRL IN A MATERIAL WORLD was born from the deepest parts of myself and I cannot just stand by and watch my baby taken from me and given a new last name. And this is exactly what began to happen shortly after a twitter exchange wherein said spirit junkie acknowledged her love of my blog. Look, I’m not trying to create enemies, and the last thing I want to do is make a bigger deal of this than it is. But I’m upset. And I think, rightfully so.
The use and promotion of my blog’s concept by a more prominent and already established public figure could potentially derail the sale of the book I am currently writing based on this very idea of being a spiritual girl in a material world. And that just ain’t cool. At all.
A yogi friend recently said this to me: “cause no harm, but take no shit.” And this is exactly how I feel about this situation. Because if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that true spiritual leaders forge connections, build bridges, spread peace… they don’t steal.
This post is not meant to cause harm (AHIMSA); it is merely meant to shine a light on the issue of our culture revering someone who is not wholly authentic. Or, at least, the fact that we are all human, no matter how high up we hold our “gurus” (whether they be celebrities, politicians, authors, journalists, etc) on that invisible pedestal of our psyches.
In a lot of ways, this woman is like the star of the documentary KUMARE; revered simply as a result of her ability to help others realize their own gifts. And I think that’s truly a beautiful thing; something to be admired. But please, give credit where credit is due. Do not borrow without asking and in the same breath call yourself a guru. Or hell, call yourself whatever you want to, just not a “spiritual girl in a material world.” Cause I got that shit trademarked. *