I got in my Lyft ride on Saturday to go back to my car, and my driver said, “Are you part of the protest?” I immediately replied, “No! Not at all. I was here to stand with others for our civil rights; I was part of a march to move forward.”
My husband Richard always stayed neutral and never spoke about his political views or religion in his work. Even as Chris Mathews grilled him on his show “Hard Ball” about which side he stood, Richard smiled his best Cheshire cat smile without a word. That being said, I’m sure you might guess he was a democrat with a strong bent towards Buddhism. He never believed that supporting our nation to be divided and bipartisan served us, and there is no need to pass judgement on either the side which is measured by your personal values. There is, after all, no light without shadow, and our nation is a democracy–we are free to choose. He and I shared the belief that we are stronger standing as ONE.
On Saturday, I joined some soul sisters in the Women’s March in Oakland that was sixty thousand strong. In all honesty,I wasn’t sure I was going to go because I have no desire to be a part of anything that isn’t peaceful. But when I woke up that morning, the sun was peeking out from behind the previously angry rain clouds. Sunbeams have always caught my attention and since Richard’s passing, they’ve felt more like direct communication. That was my first clue that I was being called.
Later, while sipping my warm cup of java laden with almond milk, I turned on the news to catch a glimpse of President Trump and his lovely wife, Melania, sitting in church. As coverage progressed, numerous spiritual leaders and teachers from all religions around the globe stood at the podium in prayer for the new President and first lady, asking for the strength, support and love they’d need to lead this great nation. As I watched, President Trump sat with his eyes open and his arms crossed tightly over his chest—as if protecting himself with an armor over his heart. I tried not to be judgemental thinking that perhaps he just crosses his arms over his chest when he’s tired or concentrating.
As I watched on, however, I couldn’t deny how it looked. Body language 101 tells me that this man in this moment does not appear to be open—even as spiritual leaders pray for him.
Watching this scene is what moved me to march. I realized I needed to be one with thousands to move forward in taking a stand—not in protest against Donald Trump as our President—but for our civil rights. This image of a man closed off, consciously or unconsciously shielding himself from prayer, drove me to add my presence to the masses. Afterall, if we’re going to try to get through to someone like our new President Trump, we have to know deep in our hearts that every single person matters.
I was hoping for a peaceful march. As the day went on, although were some haters, negativity was actually the exception. I was struck by the overwhelming presence of lovers in the crowd. There were drums and trumpets playing. The scene was so colorful with so many creative signs raised high that this “protest” looked more like a parade than a demonstration. It was full of hope and joy and open hearts moved by their values– by passion—and the freedom to speak out.
I felt in awe of my fellow Americans, both men and women who marched, on this day. I looked at this as a healing step forward—while Trump supporters may have resented this march—in my mind it was an essential part of healing as a Nation hearing the echo of President Obama in his last address to the nation, “Yes, we did, and yes, we can!”
We are blessed to live in a country that values freedom of speech. Now, we all must honor that freedom and do our best to come together as ONE without hatred.
Moving forward has always been the best way to heal. Life keeps marching on—and when we step in to stand for what we believe with passion—when we stand for love no matter what, we are living our most vibrant life. Isn’t that what we’ve been striving for all along?