I came home from an enlightening workshop on Yoga for Mental Health to hear the news about yesterday’s shooting in Florida, unamused that I had spent the day soaking in this wealth of information that is surely one solution to this growing instance of community wide massacre. I spend so much of my time as an adult in yoga studios. I spent so much of my time as an adolescent inside the spiritual container of a synagogue. Two places I’ve always considered to be extensions of my home: safe spaces of community, healing, growth. Places where we can connect with each other, connect with ourselves, and sometimes even connect to something much, much greater. These structures, built on a foundation of good intention, now resonate with a vibration of pain and disbelief. It is in these moments when I feel so lost, with no explanation as to what was true for those who caused such evil, that I always must come back to the written word. It’s important for me to process and understand, to clarify and mend my own broken heart. So I write, and I write, and eventually come to a conclusion about some of the things I know to be true for me…
Last weekend I gathered with close friends for a music festival in Florida called Suwannee Hulaween. In my experience, It was a pivotal moment in history. Fully unraveling the great mystery of that potent gathering is undeniably taking some time and energy, but it is effort I am so willing to give in honor of such a transformational experience. I'd never felt something this big, never tangibly witnessed an instance of such incredible importance. It was, in fact, the inklings of these feelings cultivated at other festivals and celebrations, that allowed me to truly recognize this poignant wrinkle in time. For a moment, I felt absolutely everything: the intention of the gathering, the energy of the people, the message of the bands, the frequency of the land. It was all powerful and all seeing when I let the moments wash over me and awaken parts of my soul calling out for answers. It was here I fully embraced my truth. Recognized it it as the essence of my life here, honored it as the truest remembrance of who I am. It was a moment to really FEEL the reality of our times, and the clear shift transporting us into a new realm of our human experience.
It was Saturday night: “Get up, Stand up. Stand up for your rights.” These words resonated thousands and thousands of voices, the message: an electric impulse charging the hearts of all who were there to behold. Feeling, at its core, the true hope that carried Marley forward in his unwavering belief and empowering calls to action. And here we were again, echoing his sentiments to rise up and be the change. I've always known The String Cheese Incident was an epic band, but it was this profound weekend that I had the privilege to see that they are so much more then music makers. That these individuals bring people together for a cause that is greater than a just good time. Greater then their impeccable groovy tunes, their incredible stage presence, and truly unique group of people they gather. They are our leaders, paving the way towards a new earth. A place where we all stand together in solidarity for the good we truly believe in. These are men of influence: using their power for good. Promoting a movement that celebrates love, welcomes community, and gathers tribes for righteous creation and collective collaboration. We live in a world where only an elite few stand on a platform with the world listening, and it is these particular leaders who choose to use their influence to inspire liberation rather then concentrate manipulation. In a time when so many of us are searching for honest guidance, they used their moment of visibility to shine a light on truth and remind us that we are stronger together: united and fighting for a common cause.
The news of the Pittsburgh shooting was waiting for me on the other end of this journey. I turned on my phone to an outpouring of kind words from friends who knew that this devastation would surely hit close to home. This time, it was my Jewish community on the receiving end of hate, and the atrocity was achingly palpable. Hearing one women’s journey of escaping mass persecution to find her life inevidably culminate in death by that same ignorance: I absolutely felt the weight of this tragedy. However, it was no more conflict then the pain my heart feels every time I hear another countless instance of other human beings attacked, murdered, and disposed of for the simple act of being who they are. Maybe even this time, since the skin color of those who fell was white, it would open the eyes of some of those who had previously not been able to see. That none of us are immune from this growing polarity of fear. FEEL it. We are witnessing it every day. History is being written, and we can choose to be a part of how this all goes down on paper, but only if we remember that we are ALL in this together.
There was a gathering to honor those 11 lives lost at the synagogue I grew up in. More people showed up to this service then have likely ever stepped foot in that building before. In my mother's exact words, it was "a kaleidoscope of colors, races, and religions. It felt really good." FELT really good. Because what are we if we don’t feel the weight of the world with our fellow humans? Who are we if we can not come together in solidarity to honor this beautiful blessing that is our life? This is what Suwanee Hulaween was to me. This is what it meant. When we gather, for the sake of love, to influence and alchemize the world’s unattended to hate.
It is in our darkest hour, when we truly see the brilliance of a small beacon of light. We are grasping for truth under a pillar of darkness, being led to believe that only a certain few can flip the switch and turn the lights on. Don't let them fool you. Your voice begs to differ. Call out to me in the blackest of nights, and I will know then that I’m not alone. Fill the fearful void of silence, with your truth and heartfelt words, and suddenly I will see more then I've ever seen before. Once we raise our voices together, we shatter the constructs of a world built to keep us in hiding. Our declarations of change are our verbal agreement to fight for an earth that honors the beautiful kaleidoscope of human kind.
Get up. Stand up. Stand up for YOUR RIGHTS. Gather together, feel the truth in your heart, and vote for the good fo all. Its truly only up to us now.
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