In activism lies the power of connection. Not just activism, per se, but physical events – rallies, marches, protests, gatherings, meetings. As our political turmoil intensifies, I’ve been feeling the need for more connection to my human community well beyond the push-button democracy of signing online petitions or sharing posts on Facebook (they have their place, limited though it is).
My own troubled soul, restless with turmoil and seeking fuller participation, requires more than online discourse, spirited though it can be. I must – and have begun to – turn east out of my mountain driveway, joining others down on the plains at rallies or marches, accompanying women and enlightened men to speak out in favor of our democracy. Witness the words of renowned spiritual speaker Carolyn Myss:
It is a basic spiritual impulse to try to find meaning even in tragedy, which awakens our need for greater action, justice, and protection of human rights. Uncivilized behavior, murder, and tyranny strengthen our belief in civility, civilization, and democracy. Undisguised bigotry and hatred wake us to the need to practice love, compassion and tolerance…
Every intelligent, thoughtful and morally conscious American today feels the call to speak out, or just do something. Gone are the days of a complacent democracy where we can all rest easy with the way things are or trust they’ll be there when we wake up in the morning. Going outward and finding others who feel the same way gives our hearts unity in a life-affirming way. We need to feel we are not suffering in solitude, but that we can share our confusion and our fears with others.
In the union of listening to the stories, we can feel honored to bear witness. In the shouting of voices crying out the wants of the heart or the concerns of the mind, we can feel a little closer to understanding that the subtle differences separating us aren’t as great as we are led to believe in the abstract back-and-forth of online communication. There is no replacement for face-to-face communication. In physical gatherings, we bear witness to the diversity of concerns and see firsthand the places from where they came. And in the act of joining others we join that small part of ourselves with the common thread tying everything together. Life and our desire for it, in its fullest expression and diversity.
Saturday’s Keep Families Together! Rallies across the country gave us the one thing human beings most long for: Unity. An opportunity to connect with others similarly suffering. An opportunity to bear witness to others experiencing pain in even more immediate ways. An opportunity to join a chorus of voices crying out against the injustices of greed and racism. It gave us all a place to be with our grief for humanity, if only for a while. It fed us so that we could sustain, continuing on to more engagement in other equally important undertakings. Jesus, Allah, the Buddha and any spiritual deity knows, there are many awaiting – or maybe even just an opportunity to brighten our spirits to begin fresh and anew.
See you at the next rally. May the grace be with you.