Dressed in rain gear, prepared for a downpour that never came, I gathered with 60,000 of my sisters (and the men who stand with us) to choose love. I started crying from the first moment I encountered the crowd. I was so touched—by the beauty, the passion, the fear, the anger, the love, the frustration, the intimacy, the humor, creativity, the raw, pure humanness of 60,000 of us gathered together in our messy, human glory.
I was clear on my intention for being there. I wasn’t there to protest anything other than the polarity that hurts my heart and seems to be dividing us now more than ever in the United States. I showed up to stand for Love. I marched for Oneness, for freedom, for equality, for non-duality, for the end of “othering”—for no more us versus them, good versus bad, liberals versus conservatives, the far left versus the far right, pro-lifers versus pro-choicers, feminists versus misogynists. I marched for unity, alongside many who chose love with me.
Yes, there were some Trump haters there. Yes, there were a lot of angry protest signs with messages like “Fuck the Patriarchy” or “I’d Call You a Cunt but You Lack Depth & Warmth” or “You Can’t Comb Over Misogyny.” But those polarizing signs were outnumbered with signs like “We Believe: Black Lives Matter, Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, No Human is Illegal, Science is Real, Love is Love, Kindness is Everything.” Humor and creativity ran rampant. One woman held a sign that read, “We Are the Granddaughters of the Witches You Could Not Burn.” Another read, “Imagine What 7 Billion Humans Could Accomplish If We Loved & Respected Each Other.” A young girl dressed in indigenous costume held a handmade sign with kids writing that said, “Seeds Growing. Do Not Disturb.”
One woman was leading a group of us singing, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine” while she held a sign with an Angela Davis quote, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” There was harmony in the music. There was levity in our hearts. We were laughing and ecstatically dancing to a drum circle that joined us. Then the tubas marched through, and we all burst into laughter. I mean, come on. It’s not a real party until the tubas enter the scene!
There was so much art. So much music. So much chanting and laughter and unity and safe, loving touch. We felt connected to Something Larger than ourselves. We stood for LOVE. We were at peace, at least on the outside in our nonviolent march. I, for one, was deeply at peace in my own soul, in spite of the triggers I would feel when I would encounter the inevitably angry ones, the “Fuck Trump” ones, the “I Grab Back” chanters, the “Down with the Patriarchy” hurters.
I really loved the midwife who held the sign that said, “Remember the Wisdom of the Midwife. Breathe. Then Push.” Yes. We must remember to breathe. Then, if it feels aligned, if something is wanting to be birthed from us, it’s OK to push.
There are a lot of spiritual teachings about radical acceptance, about nonresistance, about going with the flow. I mostly subscribe to these teachings. I think much of our unnecessary suffering comes from how we fight life, how we resist what is, how we buck the current. But I also think the path of non-duality requires that we learn to hold paradox, and part of that paradox means that sometimes resistance gives us inner peace, and acceptance grants us the greatest flow. But sometimes Divine Will requires that we resist. Resistance becomes the portal to transformation, and we become Love Warriors, change agents who stand for the power of the open heart.
Me, I loved marching with my sisters and brothers and the children of our next generation in Oakland. I loved reveling in the creativity of our musicians and artists and activists, and I felt insanely grateful to live in a country where peaceful protest is still mostly something we can safely engage in. I appreciated what was happening in my own heart, as I noticed my triggers, prayed for peace, and committed my own personal march to non-duality. It was a great opportunity for self-awareness, other-awareness, and the move toward Oneness.
I found myself in deep inquiry. How can I open myself to seeing everyone’s point of view as equal? How can I find someone’s righteousness within myself? Where am I too hating? Might I feel the same way if I had grown up like this Trump voter? Might I too be raging and furious if I was the lesbian rape victim who is frightened that she might not be able to abort the baby she is now carrying? If I was a white, working-class man who feels like the feminist movement has shamed him and stripped him of his way of life, might I too go quietly to the voting booths and cast my vote for someone who wants to reclaim what he believes is rightfully his? Can I put aside the righteousness that the far left particularly popularized by Californian can be guilty of? Can I open my heart to see everyone’s perspective? Can I just listen and understand and stay open, without judgment? Can I stand for love, without picking sides—right versus wrong, black versus white, gay versus straight, liberal versus conservative, rich versus poor, the patriarchy versus women’s rights?
I know I am not doing all this perfectly. I know I am a product of my conditioning, and I am human, and that means I will screw this up as much as any of us will. I know that in spite of my intention to have a pure heart, I will be contaminated by my upbringing, my culture, my judgments, my ego. But I am doing the best I can, and I trust we are all doing the best we can. In fact, that realization gives me comfort.
We are all doing the best we can. We are all entitled to our own journey. May we never forget that we are all connected, and compassion is the glue that holds our hearts together.
From the bottom of my cracked wide open, bleeding activist heart,
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