Everyone must have two pockets, with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When feeling lowly and depressed, discouraged or disconsolate, one should reach into the right pocket, and, there, find the words: "For my sake was the world created." But when feeling high and mighty one should reach into the left pocket, and find the words: "I am but dust and ashes." - Rabbi Simcha Bunim
one lesson i've learned about myself is that i tend to care most about the people i know and the places i have seen firsthand. for example, i am always interested in what is going on in peru and more interested in their political shenanigans than i am my own country's sometimes. i think one of the main reasons that i went to isreal in 2008 was that i wanted to understand more what i kept hearing about on the news. after two weeks there i had much more how clarity about how small that country is and how deeply those conflicts run between the people that inhabit it.
so i was excited to realize that i could check out the occupy wall street protests when i was in nyc a few weekends ago. i ventured out with amanda (one of my best peace corps friends who always puts me up on her comfy brooklyn couch when i am in town) to a demonstration in washington square park on a lovely saturday afternoon. it was well-organized, full of people who seemed happy to repeat the short snippets that the speakers were doling out in the human microphone style. after the official park they encouraged us to talk to the people around us about our feelings and opened up the stage for soapboxing. we hung around for an hour listening to people talk about everything from high rent prices in nyc and to how we should just stop paying back our personal debt to make the banks forgive it all.
on sunday we went down to liberty plaza and saw what i had been hearing about on the news. i had been expecting something big and dramatic but in that moment the vibe was really chill. people were laying everyone on the ground, playing guitar, holding signs, drumming, meditating, serving themselves from the ample food line (the revolution will be catered!). tourists milled around taking pictures (me included) of the mass of the mostly younger generation who was occupying the space.
i did not get to spend enough time there to have a real solid view of it, but i will say that it didn't, and still hasn't, caught me as my movement. i really do agree with a lot of what they are saying. there is a definite inequality of power and resources that exists in this world and effects everything about how most of the world lives. i agree that many people on wall street got greedy when they could not forsee their good fortune ever changing and how there has never been real retribution for their actions. it seems really clear that a lot of our country is struggling to stay afloat these days and that it's really hard work.
yet the more i learn about life, the more that i see that our thriving is an individual choice that each of us needs to make. i recognize that most times when i am being the victim, it's because i am not taking responsibility for something that i can actually change. the occupy wall street movement is saying that the higher ups have screwed up and that it's affecting our lives. it's an understandable argument--we are watching the sinking ship of our economy while watching our government childishly muck around--yet i'm not sure how helpful it is to shifting our country to a better place. to me, it feels like being in the energy of the problem instead of the energy of the solution. i kept wanting to hear something that sounded like hope or clarity or leadership or any of the things that would inspire some kind of real change.
while i was there, i was also thinking about last year's march for sanity. i think it was similarly aimless in its goals yet once i arrived on the mall, i immediately felt at home in the midst of the other the hundreds of thousands of people who wanted to make fun of our political and media systems. we came out in masses to stand up and show the world that a lot of our country is well-adjusted and ready to compromise and happy to be americans. it was revolutionary to me in that we weren't fighting against anything--just coming together in the spirit of having a good time and showing the world america's best face.
who knows, maybe i am wrong on this. maybe occupy wall street will grow even bigger and it will spark of positive change for generations to come and i will come to feel a part of the movement. i see a lot of potential for our country so i truly hope so and if so, i will be happy to have seen it from it's beginnings.
also, a few exciting things that i want to share:
--i am leading an intro to thai massage workshop at quiet mind yoga this sunday from 2-4pm. it's going to be an awesome session where you will learn how to give (and receive!) a basic thai massage. you can sign up here and let me know if you have any questions.
--if you have more time this weekend then you should stop by the gooDBuddy gallery in my neighborhood. our bloomingdale artist exhibit is being left up one more week and it's worth a view. it exceeded all of my expectations of what a neighborhood art show could be and came together in a really diverse yet cohesive showing.
--and i just found out that "the lovers manifesto" is going to be part of the first volume of the poetry of yoga, which was organized and edited by the awesome teacher and activist, hawah with a forward by shiva rea. it'll be released on 11.11.11 and contains work by sharron gannon, chuck miller, krishna das, tias little and i feel so honored to be able to share some page space with all them.
--as part of my 300 hour training, my lovely mentor shawn parrell asked everyone in our group to take on a new practice. mine has been abhyanga, ayurvedic oil massage. i am amazing by how much i have been enjoying and how it's helped me to feel so much more grounded as we transition to drier, colder weather in dc.
--in the past two weeks, i saw two movies at e street that i loved. happy happy is noweigan and quirky and oddly heart-warming. thundersoul is a great big documentary that honors what music can do to lift us up. i saw this preview too and can't wait.