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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.

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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.”

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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23 Comments

  1. Kathy Kise

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Sharing is caring in such an open way that demands some kind of response. I read your article and felt what you must have experienced in the swirl of competing ideas alongside enormous uncertainty…the option to love it all seems to be the most significant change we could bring to this world where separation has been the way for too too too too too long now. I love you for your courage to share so beautifully and without needing to become defensive in any way…keep up the awesome work of sharing just so. With Deep Appreciation! XO

    Reply
  2. annie

    You express so beautifully what is in my heart. I walked in Washington DC yesterday. And I breathed deeper that there was a sense of a huge community with shared values…that anger was not the main energy. A lot of “I had to show up.” I met a woman on the Metro who had come to DC on a bus from Texas. So many so moved to come together. One step at a time for people who knew that voting was not enough.

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  3. Tammy Copenhaver

    Thank you Lissa! Your perspective is truly a Blessing. <3

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  4. Karen “Radhe” Katra

    Beautifully expressed, thank you Lissa xxx

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  5. Barbara Nelen

    If we could survive the shredding of the Constitution and our laws by Obama the last 8 years, having an America-loving President again will be a blessing. No one wants your abortions taken away. Or your birth control. We just don’t necessarily want to pay for them. I don’t know of any right that anyone had prior to President Trump that they won’t have after, only better. Give it a chance. Don’t believe the lying media, the hysteria, or those being paid to riot and cause anarchy. We are still the greatest country on the planet. If we were not, People would not be risking their lives to get here. Give peace and peas a chance.

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    • Lissa_Rankin

      Thank you for feeling safe to express your views here Barbara. All respectfully communicated views are welcome here, and I hope we can all learn to give each other- and our feelings and thoughts- a way to be safely expressed. If you feel comfortable doing so, can you help those who are really triggered by the Trump administration understand why you feel as you feel? If we can listen quietly and witness what you’re feeling and experiencing respectfully, can you help us understand how you feel?

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      • Anna PM

        Lissa I just want to quote: when the power of love is greater than the love for power there will be peace….

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    • carol

      What you don’t understand is that American is great. It always has been and will continue to be. Trump is about dualism. When you say “make American great” it impiles that we are not great, or something has fallen amiss. Trump is about dualism – win/lose, for me/against me. . . .pay attention to language, and you will see that is the only language that Trump knows. Love is beyond dualism. Love is beyond separatism Love does not call names or judge harshly. We need leadership that reflects Love not division or defensiveness

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    • Anna PM

      Thank you for your post, I am with your thoughts. I just don’t believe everything media says, I like to inform myself about facts and hate chaos and anarchy, it’s time to accept things as they are, time to accept a change and let go and let God. I am sure good things are coming and I open my heart to them, light is coming, darkness is disappearing, namaste

      Reply
  6. janetm

    Dear Lissa, First of all it has been a blessing to get to know you through your writings and interviews. It is not easy to be exposed to the world wide web. There are so many gremlins who would tear anyone down once they find out their weaknesses. If you make them known through your own generous spirit, all the more they will attack. So I say the following with the deepest respect for you and the wonderful work you are doing,
    I can understand you may have had a nice time with well-meaning people on Saturday. The controlling outer circle however is not so magnanimous. Lenin used to call them, “useful idiots”. in other words those who would further virtually the same agenda of socialism and anarchy, that is, to put the power in the hands of the few. Soon after their usefulness is spent, those who marched and manned the barricades are summarily discarded and even killed.
    I do take issue however with your title of “non-duality”. Ying and Yang have for millennia been recognized at the center of creation: darkness/light, male/female, etc. The most recent social engineering nonsense shoved down our throats is to make a mishmash out of gender which you know as a doctor is inscribed in every one of our cells. The Left which has been pandering to marginal groups tried to make them the norm with the majority of hetero society seem like freaks instead. Sexuality has been created for reproduction. To stray too far from that path invites a whole lot of dysfunction. Let’s put it this way, the reproductive system was not designed to enter the digestive one.
    Hollywood for decades has made it seem that sex is mainly for fun and there are no consequences for multiple partners or sleeping around. In effect, we have been lied to – constantly, repeatedly.
    Any girl who would follow the example of Louise Ciccone (AKA “Madonna”) might find herself with STD’s or aborting those inconvenient results of sex. As a doctor you are aware, there is NO fool proof birth control. This doesn’t even take into account the emotional effects of abortion and ruined families. The globalists admit that destroying the modular family is a necessary for world dictatorship. The Communists know that 100 years ago. To have the government provide contraception and abortion is indeed giving over the control of our lives.
    There used to be subjects that were indeed private and not for public consumption. I am sorry but the language and graphics broadcast on the 21st were simply a festival of profanity and indecency. But it didn’t stop there. “Madonna” after dropping a few F bombs, despite the fact children were there, said she would like to blow up the White House. This is “love”? No, it is cognitive dissonance, a split between words and reality, typical Hollywood lies.
    There was nothing to indicate the dignity and modesty of women. Those who don’t mind showing their little cats, were still raving about something said in private many year ago by the President (who won fair and square).
    Instead, the serial groper and rapist, the husband of the person most of the marchers voted for, was strangely ignored. Hillary aided and abetted Bill for decades, harassed and threatened his victims. And by the way, those women working for her, didn’t always get an equal wage as the men. I suggest you do a little research into how the poor people of Haiti were swindled by the Clinton Foundation. These crimes alone cry to heaven for retribution. HRC’s campaign was full of empty slogans mainly to get sympathy from the Left and marginal groups, who by the way, probably have more rights and clout than average workers.
    The hate pouring out of the Left is a direct result of their having miscalculated peace and love forever while waging war. It is the supreme irony that Obama who received the Nobel Prize for Peace when first entering the presidency, dropped thousands of drones, destabilized the Middle East causing a million or of deaths, hundreds of thousands of refugees and in the (modified) words of Hillary Clinton with reference to the shameful disaster in Libya, “we came, we saw and they died”.
    .

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    • Steph Slawek

      Janetm, I appreciate you sharing your views with the amount of eloquence and respect that you did. You are someone I would appreciate hearing more from to help me understand how and where we’ve diverged in our POV.

      I can’t respond to everything you have said here but I will agree that the physical reality we live in is based on duality. But Love is (perhaps) the only force or energy on the planet that has no opposite. The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to experience the non-dual nature of the universe aka divinity aka Love. So non-duality exists in this world, and it is what gives life meaning. I hear you about the need for polarity in creation and reproduction, but maybe amorphism in gender is simply here to confront our minds with a tangible form of non-duality on earth.

      It sounds like this issue is threatening to you in some way? If so, I would like to know how.

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      • Lissa_Rankin

        I agree Janetm. Feel free to say more. We are all just trying to understand one another here. Any way in which we can help each other come together breed peace in our hearts and in our country. I am appreciating the respectful dialogue. It feels different than what tends to happen on Facebook. I also want to say that I have been intending to write a post I haven’t written yet, in part because so much is streaming into me in the past week and I literally haven’t had time to let my fingers catch up to my downloads. But I also notice the part of me that is a little afraid of backlash, so I’m probably procrastinating too. The post I want to write about is a Kali-esque, loving but fierce spouting of truth about how the far left (of which one might say I am a part) is demonstrating so much hypocrisy in the hate they are spewing at Trump voters. It hurts my heart and points out our vulnerabilities to see the people who live around me here in very liberal Marin County saying that they stand for love and spirituality but then espousing hate at anyone who doesn’t share their views. Stay tuned. That post is coming….

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        • janetm

          Dear Lissa, I am SO happy you mentioned my name. I have been admiring you and your work for some time. Thanks!

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      • janetm

        Dear Steph, I fear only God and His judgments. Having said that, hate is probably the absence of love. So there is no real duality that love will and can only absorb in the end. The world is moving towards that state but there is plenty that can pull us down meanwhile. We are complex beings, however, and do have a tendency to mistake the word for the act.

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  7. carinamarianne

    Thank you Lissa for sharing so lovingly what is going on at the moment and giving space for different opinions. It is crucial that we listen to each other and not only to those whose opinions we share. As a Scandinavian (non-American) the rhetoric of which country is the greatest is implying that all other countries in the world are inferior which is both offending and also untrue. I think we are all better off not comparing whose best and whose not – why not instead see where and in which areas we can all learn from each other and share those learning’s.

    Reply
  8. Ellen Clark

    Thank you for sharing your experience at the women’s day march. I was working on Saturday but enjoyed everyone’s postings about the great time they had. The concept of “otherness” and polarization is really hitting home for me as I work in a hospital where a lot of doctors and fellow associates are strongly Republican with “anything but Hillary” mentality. I love the people I work with but I feel like I’m walking on eggshells since Mr. Trump does not seem very presidential and I’m really worried about the future of our country. Trying to step back like you and understand my fears are just illusions of things that haven’t happened yet (and hopefully won’t). It’s the ego that wants to be “right”, I appreciate your posting that open my mind to others’ perspectives.

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  9. Beth Anne

    Lissa, I was happy to read your post and see that perhaps someone else feels the way I do. I was totally supportive of the Women’s March on Saturday but was saddened by the way some expressed their thoughts. I used to be on the “right” side. Although I’m definitely not “right”, I don’t want to label myself. Somehow we have to figure out a way to all get along without violence and criticism of one another. Maybe I’m naive in thinking that we can learn how to peacefully get along. My higher power encourages me to a “lover” not a “fighter”. I don’t want to just switch sides and start the fight on the other side. I want a different way of living. I believe I need to stand up for what I believe in, but I have to do it in a different way. For me, it’s a not a war of words and logic and arguing. For me, it’s a way of living and treating others and how I treat you does not depend on what you believe. So I was troubled with the some of the speakers and their messages. It left me in a real conflict. I think perhaps that is what you felt?

    I’m trying to live this out in my small way. I have recently started a local group called “Awakening Love”. I’m hoping that I will find others who want to start standing up for right and goodness in a loving way. I think we can “fight” in a different way. I don’t want the status quo. I grew up in an extreme right wing house and community and I saw the hatred and fear. I can’t simply switch sides and have hatred and fear.

    I’m not sure if what I am saying makes any sense to you, but I love that you use the term “Love Warrior”. That’s what I consider myself and by pairing the words of love and warrior together, it changes the connotation of “warrior”. Yes, I am a Love Warrior, but you will know me by my love.

    Thank you for your sharing! I love your work!

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  10. tara

    thanks for sharing Lissa. i was just listening to Gary Null and he reminded me that Trump was opposed to the TPP. i don’t know if he dismantled the plan yet but i hope he does. i voted for Bernie & then green for the first time. we need to let go of our party affiliations and deeply listen and think through what people represent. and we need to be ok if we are outside of everyone else’s box. i don’t know anyone who shares my views: i do not want their healthcare/deathcare system. i do not want to be injected with their poisons or be forced to comply with poisoning children. i do not want to be genetically modified in any way. i do not want free education that indoctrinates me to a world view that i will have to spend years unlearning. i do not want to fight for “jobs” when the very creation of a “job” economy was to enslave us and make us pay to live on the earth. i do not want to support a woman candidate who is bought and paid for by the banksters. i only want to see what is really happening and not delude myself. we lost our habeas corpus rights under Obama, and he imprisoned more whistleblowers than anyone. he was not the savior we want to believe he could be and we should not feed that myth about him, Bill Clinton or Hillary. my greatest joy is that Trump’s election means maybe more people will wake up. my wake up was Watergate. before then i was patriotic, my country do and/or die. i really wish i could feel unity with other women, but i know none who have my views. i, personally, think my views are clear and make sense. i guess that’s what we all think. i’ve been politically active almost all my life. when i ask women post march if they will be calling their representatives i have gotten a resounding ‘no.’ if it doesn’t lead to action it’s just to have a day with others in a group. which is ok if that’s what’s wanted. if it’s to create different conditions then we might just as well stay home and donate the money it costs to travel to these things to support someone else who is working for change. i suggested to a friend who lamented not being able to go: donate to the local group that is battling a water bottling plant here as they need money for their legal battle. had she felt well enough she would have paid $25 to get on a bus to go to the capital. if everybody put their $25 toward something it would be a pile of money.

    Reply
    • Lissa_Rankin

      Tara, thanks for your well expressed opinions. I have to admit that some of the things you speak of I’m not really well informed about. I so appreciate the chance to hear all of you share your views respectfully. And I love your suggestion about donating to those who feel called to do the feet on the pavement activist work. Thank you for your lifelong contributions and for caring for what matters to you.

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    • janetm

      Tara, first of all you are not alone. I concur with your views. Also, 29-30 million women voted for Donald Trump. The organizers of Saturday’s event did not want any pro-life or anti-abortion groups. If anything violates femininity, it is wrenching a child from the mother’s womb. Donald Trump was the first person to have the guts to say what is really involved in abortion during the debate with Hillary Clinton.
      We have been sheltered from cause and effect thanks to advertising and propaganda from special interest groups trying to sell products. Back then it was “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should”, until the Marlboro man died of lung cancer.
      In my extended family one woman in the 1950’s was faced with her life or her unborn child. She chose her son. Thanks to improvements in medicine this is not a decision that most women have to make and in fact is well below the 1% of all excuses for abortion. Nevertheless, some courageous women do choose life for their babies.

      Reply
    • Jim-el

      Dear Tara — I did not attend any of the Women’s Marches, though I sit — even now, days later — in support (and I love, and will forward, Lissa Rankin’s report). Your message here inspires me: I saved $25 by not participating, and I’m worth 4x the people with whom I communicate. Please tell me where to send $100 to support the most effective cause you might know.

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      • Lissa_Rankin

        Wow Jim-el- I love that you’re offering to help support what Tara cares about. Thank you.

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  11. Fabrizio Fusco

    “Imagine What 7 Billion Humans Could Accomplish If We Loved & Respected Each Other.”
    Yep, exactly. That would be amazing!

    Reply

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