February 2017: The Month of ideas to build on...

Here we are in February and if you have learned about polarity, yin-yang, true-false, action-reaction, diversity, and what feels bad vs what feels good, then you are acutely aware as I am, of the unprecedented challenge yet sincere desire to feel and remain inspired and grateful. As almost every emotion is torn open like a gapping wound to be dissected, we seem to be left with enormous resistance, fear, depression, and discord.
How does this cycle break? The lower vibration of 'fighting" a cause, simply begets the same low vibration in a perpetual spiral down. We need, instead to be able to see the polarity with curiosity, set our sites on what makes us happy, and attract that energy to us. NOW!!!
Not so easy? Pick a project, see the good outcome potential in the best interest of all involved, grow a feeling of momentum in your mind with this project that leaves a sense of feeling good, refuse to dwell on what feels bad about the project, and fly with that every day.
Be the observer and when you feel good, build the momentum. When you don't feel good, pause through meditation, breathing techniques, prayer, or a nap. Then return to the focus of what feels good and uplifts others.
Yogi Bhajan once said among many other things that: We must understand through compassion or we will misunderstand the times.
Below is a letter written to me from my niece, Elisabeth, describing her beautiful experience of participating in the women's peace march in Washington. Her account is refreshing, personal and seen through and for beauty. Please enjoy. And blessings.

"Hello dear ones,
I'm not sure what the march looked like on the news, so here's my report from the ground.

We boarded our bus at 8pm on Friday night from a school parking lot in Rockport, ME, loaded down with snacks, funny hats, cardboard signs, and lots of enthusiasm. There were 52 peppy Maine women, as well as 4 men who made not a peep on the journey. One of the men took the seat beside the bus lavatory, which was the first sign of widespread male deference that carried through the weekend.

The first stop was a rest area in Massachusetts. Upon discovering the squalid state of the bus toilet, we all decided to hold it until the bus stopped, only to discover the women's restroom locked. Fifty-two women stormed the men's bathroom. I made a joke suggesting that our fight lie here, at this brick artifice, where we would protest tirelessly until the women's bathroom was open to all! Unfortunately, I had not gained adequate report with the group for my joke to be well received--or maybe everyone was too occupied with the state of their bladders.

I would be surprised to learn that anyone slept on the way to D.C. The uncomfortable bus seats combined with anticipation was too much for us. Every few hours someone would walk around with a box of mini-whoopie pies, a Maine delicacy donated to our cause by a local baker. I abstained from sugar and nibbled on radishes, dried cranberries and hard-boiled eggs. Day broke to grey mist, and spirits were still high. We sang a few songs, passed around more treats, and also a black Sharpie so everyone could write their name and an emergency contact number on an arm. This was sobering for me. In the months leading up to the march, I've intentionally blocked thoughts of what could happen to a large crowd of women in these strange times. I heard friends say they weren't going because what if someone drove a truck through the crowd, what if someone put a bomb in a trashcan, what if Trump has us all arrested, what if what if-- The Sharpie moment passed quickly and without discussion. We talked about whether to carry rain coats, how much water to bring, who has a roll of duct tape...

Because of bus traffic outside D.C., we were 3 hours late arriving, disembarking in the stadium parking lot at 9am. I formed a small group with Elizabeth, Lee (my friend and boss), and four others. The six of us merged into the river of women and some men which flowed for a few miles to the capitol building. As we walked through residential streets of D.C., many people were outside their houses waving and showing support, or offering paper cups of coffee. We passed an African American church where parishioners filled the steps, cheering us on, and offering us use of their bathrooms. The atmosphere was absolutely joyous. Law enforcement were respectful and respected, guiding the way, offering alternative routes to the capitol, returning smiles and waves. We weren't even to the rally yet, and people of all ages and backgrounds were singing, meeting each other, photographing each other's signs.

When we passed the capitol, we entered the deep mass of humans, crushed into the street from building to building. Soon, near the park by the National Gallery, we couldn't move. Shoulder to shoulder for hours. We couldn't get anywhere near the rally, so we missed all the speakers (which I finally heard recordings of yesterday). It was uncomfortable and unnerving to be stuck like that, but the crowd remained joyful, kind, and respectful. If someone needed to move through, the crowd found a way, everyone--without exception in my experience--made space with politeness and consideration. Singing, chanting, and raucous cheers moved through the streets in enormous waves. After awhile I felt like a little buoy bobbing in a sea, and I had to stare up at a bare tree to get my bearings and combat dizziness.

After a few hours it seemed we might not get to march. Rumors were passing through the crowd that the march route was already packed with people so there was no where to go. Even with this, people were optimistic, saying that it didn't matter if marched. What mattered was that we were all standing together in huge numbers. But we all faced the direction that the march was supposed to move and waited. Soon, a miraculous wave passed down the street, where each person said, TURN AROUND!, spun 180 degrees, and in an instant we all about-faced and in minutes the crowd began to march! I wonder how this happened. We headed off in the other direction, turned a corner, and walked for hours, apparently filling many streets, converging and diverging as long fluid rivers of people! We marched parallel to the Mall in the direction of the White House, which had been completely blocked off, and then zigzagged through the city for miles.

It's true that many people were angry. I've never been so angry. Many people are frightened. I'm frightened. Many people I walked with have much more reason to be angry and afraid than I am. Women in headscarves. Women of color. Transwomen. Women who fear deportation. Women who fear for the future of their children and grandchildren. The day was physically challenging for me, yet there were women with walkers and in wheelchairs. There were women carrying children. The news says there were more than half a million of us in D.C. There were no incidents of violence that I heard of. When we passed armed young men in National Guard uniforms, the crowd cheered for them and they smiled like little boys. People are angry and afraid, but what was so extraordinary was how those feelings en masse transformed into a great strength and that strength produced palpable JOY! I've really never experienced anything like it. I don't know what will come out of this day. I heard an estimate that on January 21 more than 4 million women and men who support women marched worldwide. What will come of this? Hopefully more women will run for office and take on leadership roles in our communities. Hopefully we'll remember what it felt like to walk with kindness and respect beside those who look different from us. It was so wonderful reading all the signs people carried. What does this individual woman care most about? Many women were outraged that our country elected a man who has spoken so disrespectfully, contemptuously and unapologetically about women and people of color. Some signs were about clean water. Some were about reproductive rights. Some were about civil rights for Blacks, Natives, Muslims, Latinas. Many women are terrified by climate-change denial. I loved seeing the thought and creativity that went into each sign, held high on aching arms, and how the crowd made space for and carried along all these messages. Hopefully some of us will remember that feeling of anger turning to joy.

Around 4:30pm the crowd began to really spread and people started mingling in groups or looking for food. Somehow, the original six in our group had managed to stay together, although often we'd had to form a chain so we didn't drift apart. Elizabeth, our new friend Pattie, and I decided to turn back toward the stadium. We figured it would take a few hours to walk back. The rest of our group planned to find dinner and take the Metro back, but I wanted to stay outside and above ground. We were able to squeeze against buildings and work our way slowly back against the current. It was amazing to see how many thousands of people were still marching through streets we'd passed hours before! We passed the Trump hotel, where protesters were leaving their signs in great drifts against the chain-link fence that barricaded the hotel entrance.

As evening fell, we passed the Capitol building again, back into the residential streets. Some people stood in front of their houses handing out bottles of water, snacks, and offering directions. Locals mingled among us and asked how far we'd traveled and if we needed anything. We got back to the bus and nestled back into our uncomfortable seats, just glad to be sitting. As each Mainer boarder our bus, we cheered. At 8pm when we were all accounted for, we depart D.C. I fell asleep immediately, woke at a rest stop in Delaware, then slept straight through until first light, when the dreary half-frozen salt marshes outside told me we were in Maine. A wonderful sight. We arrived back in Rockport at 7:30am on Sunday morning. Friends and family had set up a table with hot coffee and donuts. Elizabeth and I drove to a diner and ate poached eggs.

I thought of so many loved ones when I was marching. All the people I wished were with me, or who I wished could feel some of the power and joy of the day. I also kept thinking of this poem, which my mentor Joanna published a few years ago. So I'll leave you with her poem, which expresses better than I can the way I want to be in this world, whatever this world may be. Love, Elisabeth"

PROCESSIONAL (by Joanna Klink)

If there is a world, let me be in it.
Let fires arise and pass. The sky fill with evening air
then sink across the woodlots and porches,
the streams thinning to creeks.
In winter there will be creatures half-locked in ice,
storms blown through iron grates, a drug of whitest ardor.
Let the old hopes be made new.
Let stacks of clouds blacken if they have to
but never let the people in this town go hungry.
Never let them fear cold. If there is a world,
let it not be temporary, like these vague stars.
Let us die when we must. And spinelessness
not overtake us, and privation,
let rain bead across tangled lavender plants.
If there is a world where we feel very little,
let it not be our world. Let worth be worth
and energy action--let blood fly up to the surface skin.
If you are fierce, if you are cynical, halfhearted, pained--
I would sit with you awhile, or walk next to you,
and when we take leave of each other after so many years,
the oaks will toss their branches in wheels of wind
above us--as if it had mattered, all of it,
every second. If there is a world.