Last night there was a peaceful student demonstration on the Berkeley campus that was taken over by non-student agitators – in costume, no less - bent on creating mayhem by smashing windows and starting fires. This brought out helicopters to circle round and round above the campus til after midnight, which kept everyone in the area awake with rattled nerves much of the night.
Try falling asleep to incessant chopper noise!
I think we can expect protests of the new administration to be an everyday affair from now on, and needless to say, the ‘professional’ agitators – whichever side they are on – will show up at every demonstration. That’s their job - to ruin the show.
I am reminded of how cats can make fools of dogs by initiating a chase that leads the dog right to the slickest part of the house, often the kitchen floor, and then the kitty casually steps aside as the poor pooch goes skidding and sprawling all over the place.
I think we have to do better than falling for the same trick over and over again and think up a strategy more effective than crowd protests.
I happened to be on Campus the morning after the demonstration because I was asked to help take Herb’s old office apart for an incoming faculty member. The room was exactly as I had last seen it 2 years ago - his desk still littered with scientific papers and correspondence, his bookcases still filled with rows of journals and Chemistry texts. It felt as though he had just stepped out for a moment, and once I actually began to talk to him - “Whyever did you keep 3 of these..?” before I caught myself. My task was to pick out what I wanted to keep, and the Department would clear out the rest.
Dismayed by the sheer number of books on the shelves, I asked his colleague, “Who can we give all these books to?”
“Oh, nobody will take them,” he told me. “The science in them is old stuff - nobody’s interested. It’s a new era. We’ll just put them all in the recycling bin.”
Just like that. A lifetime’s brilliant career over, and now of little account except as a stepping stone to what comes next.
Science has moved on. Herb has moved on.
It’s time we move on, too.
Rumi has said, “Make like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.”
I believe a long season in the world, which has been coming to a close for quite a while now, is finally ended, and it is indeed time for us to move on. Had we not been shocked out of our socks by the dramatic events making it clear we have got to change, we might have just ignored what was obvious yet one more time.
We cannot ignore the signs for even one more day. The climate will not let us; refugees flooding the world will not let us; the threat of Fascism will not let us; our own hearts will not let us.
It’s now or never, I’m afraid.
This makes me think of my tomato plants that continue to put out little yellow flowers when it is much too late in the season for them to ripen into tomatoes. They do this every year as if hopeful that maybe this year tomatoes in November will work, but of course it never does. When their season is over, it is over and soon the whole plant, yellow flowers and all, will mulch into the ground - as it should.
So if the time is NOW, how do we start?
First, I would say, by grieving our losses. Really going into our grief, we need to sob in one another’s arms, holler with anger, stamp our feet until they hurt and blame the government and other people for everything bad that is happening – without taking anyone’s anger at ourselves personally!
And then we need to take a big breath and laugh together, wondering why it has taken us so long to accept the inevitable Renaissance that is waiting for us to make happen! We will make it glorious, yes we will, and working on it will be the most stimulating, the most important, the gladdest work we have ever done in our lives. We will be grateful beyond measure and we will know that by gratitude and by the powerful use of our best and most beautiful selves we will be healing the deep wounds of our souls.
And thus the world.
I know, because it is the work I do every day. As a healer using these principles, I observe how people can heal by seeing themselves ‘whole’ – body, mind and spirit – and discovering how beautiful they are when they allow their true selves to shine through. All I do, using improvisatory dance and sound, is to guide the body in motion to match the energetic balance and beauty of the universe. It is that simple.
If it sounds like magic, I suppose it is, but if it works, so what?
I believe that is where we must start the big work of our times, envisioning the energies of universal balance, beauty and wisdom, and then making it happen in the small daily motions in each of our ordinary lives. It is a matter of doing the positive even more than protesting the negative. Put the energy where we wish it to go!
Intention is power! “If we can walk, we can dance; if we can talk, we can sing.”
My favorite students are those who come in saying, “I’ve always wanted to dance, but I’m such a klutz…”
I love to be there as witness when they discover just how beautiful they are when they surprise themselves dancing!
Discovering their own potent beauty is what heals – oh yes, it heals!
Remember what Emma Goldman said?
“If there’s no dancing at the Revolution, I’m not coming!”
She knew just what she was talking about!