Jaden Smith, the first participant at HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US
Have you checked out Shia LaBeouf's project at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY?
It's called HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US and streams online via hewillnotdivide.us. The project involves a camera outside the museum that will record and live stream for the next 4 years (or as long as Trump is president). People are invited to come and stand before the camera and say, "He will not divide us."
I've randomly gone on to the site and I find it to be fascinating. In times of great political turmoil, artists, writers and musicians have always responded in their own way. As with all art that stimulates and engages people, this project has taken on a life of its own. Many Trump supporters have shown up and lamented and ranted into the camera. There have been poems and prepared speeches from anti-Trumpers. There was a man from Tennessee who shared about his struggles as a Muslim in a community that rejected him. There have been arguments and even a fight. A barrier was put up for safety.
In a strange way, it has become a direct reflection of the world we live in. Dividers. Anger. Hope. Love. Connection. Expression. And above all, a continual call to come back to unity, to remember that we are stronger together.
The other day I tuned in and saw someone that I now know frequents the spot. He is a rapper, and I didn't catch his whole name, but it has to do with Paper. I have watched him freestyle about the power and hope of a new day and about how self-love is the foundation of all love. I have seen him dance and get other people to do his dance to the chant, "He will not divide us."
It was early morning when my favorite Queens rapper came back to the project. He had just shown up and his friend Pan soon came after. They were talking when suddenly, off camera, someone asked him if he'd breakfast. He said no, and then the person offered him food they'd bought. Paper (I'm sorry if that's not his name) then comes back into the camera with the food, and I see the person who had gifted it to him walk by in the background. It was none other than one of New York's finest.
Paper's reaction to the cop's random act of kindness was one I couldn't stop watching. I rewound the video over and over to hear his since gratitude. I watched the cop walk by in the background. I felt the love. I felt the generosity. I felt what is the real spirit of humanity, and not the one that is trying to convince us we are not One.
Love is still out there. Police officers are doing random acts of kindness. A man with amazing bling is spittin' spontaneous raps about love. And Shia LaBeouf is reminding us that the heart and soul of art is something that gives people a space to express themselves. Hang on my friends. There is still good in the world. We will pull through. Below is Paper's words, along with a screen grab I took of the moment.
"Thank you so much officer. I appreciate that... wow... thank you so much... Wow... Yo, that's... that's like one of the nicest things someone has done for me. Shout out to Officer Chavez. He just asked me if I had breakfast and just gave me this sandwich. I'm literally trying not to cry because I'm so happy right now."
Above: Malala Yousafz, Pakistani refugee who stood up to the Taliban in order to support a woman's right to an education. She won the Nobel Peace Prize.
When looking back on history, it's always easy to say what we should've done. It's easy to separate who was innocent from who was guilty. It's easy to say, "I would have supported the Jewish people trying to flee the horrors. I would have stood up to the majority and done the right thing."
However, at this time in history, we are again faced with the exact same scenario. Millions of refugees, who are fleeing because they don't support ISIS, not because they are ISIS, are trying to find a place, any place, where they can live beyond the ravages of war and terror. Banning refugees is detrimental to all seeking refuge, but even more so to women and children.
In 1938 (one year before WW2 started), 67% of American people supported keeping out all refugees.
In case you can't read the text below in the graphic, I've written it out. This poll was published in Fortune magazine in July 1938:
If you'd like to read a bit more on this, with a follow up poll that occurred a year later, here's an article from the Washington Post: What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II
"World peace can only be based on inner peace. If we ask what destroys our inner peace, it’s not weapons and external threats, but our own inner flaws like anger. This is one of the reasons why love and compassion are important, because they strengthen us. This is a source of hope."
- The Dalai Lama via Facebook
Follow the Dalai Lama on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DalaiLama
It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people - women as well as men.
Biography from Susanbanthonyhouse.org
Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was brought up in a Quaker family with long activist traditions. Early in her life she developed a sense of justice and moral zeal.
After teaching for fifteen years, she became active in temperance. Because she was a woman, she was not allowed to speak at temperance rallies. This experience, and her acquaintance with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, led her to join the women's rights movement in 1852. Soon after, she dedicated her life to woman suffrage.
Ignoring opposition and abuse, Anthony traveled, lectured, and canvassed across the nation for the vote. She also campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property and retain their earnings, and she advocated for women's labor organizations. In 1900, Anthony persuaded the University of Rochester to admit women.
Anthony, who never married, was aggressive and compassionate by nature. She had a keen mind and a great ability to inspire. She remained active until her death on March 13, 1906.
On Saturday, I was honored to be a part of a the worldwide demonstrations that happened in the name of love, unity and human rights. There was no denying that this was a historic day. To have millions of people around the world, at the same time, gather together for a positive cause created an astounding and momentous day.
The feeling within the crowd at the Oakland Women's March was empowering, energizing and at the same time peaceful and respectful. There was no feeling that what was happening was going to get out of control. There was truly a feeling of solidarity and a communal desire to support peace and love and reject hatred and violence.
The Women's Marches were marches for all who feel alienated, scared and alone during this turbulent time. If you ever feel that you alone can do nothing, that you are powerless, never forget that you are at all times a part of something bigger. You matter, and when we as individuals assemble to stand for what we believe in, we return the power to the people.
Below is my favorite piece of rally art. All around the hat were photos of generations of women who came before her. Thinking about what they did for us, and what we could potentially do for future generations, really moved me. Much love to this woman!
That's me (pink hat)! Getting onto BART to get to the march was pretty crazy! Like most cities, the turnout was far higher than expected. When we arrived at the location it took an hour just to get to where the march officially started. There were thousands of people in front of us, and as we moved forward, thousands more joined behind us. All of these people went to the march. It was awe inspiring.
This year I have made physical fitness one of my top priorities. I am reminding myself that my body is my living soul. It is my creation, my connection to this world, and the most intimate thing I know. There is nothing more personal than the breaths I take into my body, which become one with me, living inside of me for a brief but life giving moment.
Although I deepened my commitment to exercise and yoga with the start of the new year, I really started moving this way last summer. I have always found this is the best way to create lasting results, whether it be in exercise, work or spiritual goals. I start where I am, ease in, and once I have a solid foundation, then I build from there.
I have never been one to set big, lofty goals such as lose x amount of pounds or run x amounts of miles. I find that to be counter productive as the gap between where I am starting and where I want to go can be so big it can be overwhelming.
Instead, I continually focus on the mantra of one step after another. E.g. today I can run .5 miles. Next week I will run .6 miles. Through this system I build habits and a foundation. Small but consistent steps are the most powerful ally to making change.
When I started runnning I got winded and died after half a mile. At this point I am up to 2.5 miles, with the aim of running at least one mile twice per week.
Whatever it is you're aiming for, and no matter how long you've been after it, keep going. Progress is rarely instantaneous, but when you look back you can always see how important each step was. Sometimes it's even the smallest step, the one you took when you thought about quitting, that mattered most of all.
Yin yoga is one of my favorite yoga practices. It is a restorative practice that involves deep stretching and poses that restore alignment and balance to the body.
Physically, it's the easiest yoga you can do. Mentally, it can be more challenging, particularly if you feel nervous or unsettled by pausing and letting go.
There can be something reassuring in keeping busy. It keeps our minds occupied and, even if it's only an illusion, the doing and moving and hustling can feel like we're in control of something. So when it comes to pausing and tuning into non-doing there can be that mental struggle. That thing that says, 'this is a waste of time! You have so much to do!'
However, the more I practice yin yoga the more I discover the power in relaxing, releasing and allowing. It's the deep, inner power you can only access in those quiet moments when you tune into your deepest resources of prana and infinity.
It's the power that says I am that I am.
It's the power that says I am so taken care of, so sure of myself as a physical being in this world, that I love sitting back and letting life unfold.
If if you have not yet incorporated yin yoga into your practice, I hope you give it a try. It's truly meditation for the mind and body.
There are about as many leaves on a tree as there are hairs on your head.
I am so in love with Lab Girl, a book by Hope Jahren. I'm listening to the audio version, which narrates in a soft and tender voice. I love hearing about her passion for the natural world. I also really enjoying hearing about her childhood in Minnesota, where her father seeded her passion by allowing her to tinker in his own lab. Here's a bit from the blurb:
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she's studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book might have been a revelatory treatise on plant life. Lab Girl is that, but it is also so much more. Because in it, Jahren also shares with us her inspiring life story, in prose that takes your breath away.
I love this quote that came with my tea tonight. It reminds me of something I have discussed with a friend. We often talk about the ripple effect, about how one person's actions ripple out further than they'll ever know.
When you think of one acorn you don't generally think of a thousand forests. But if one acorn grows a tree, and that tree seeds a hundred other trees and those trees seed a thousand trees in time, that one acorn could sure enough seed a thousand forests.
As you go about your day today consider what impact you have. Are you planting seeds that you want to leave for your future self, or even future generations? If not, what can you do today to change the things you're cultivating? Perhaps it's even just to consider that one seed, one acorn, one person can and does change the world.
If you're in North America then you know we are having one of the coldest, rainiest, snowiest winters in years. All of the snow and rain has been so refreshing, but I'd forgotten what it was like to spend most of the season indoors.
I got out today for a little hike. It's still cloudy but the fresh air and open views are still amazing. I was also delighted to find some little waterfalls, which are filling the space around me with serene sounds. I'm sitting on a rock enjoying this crisp winter day in Northern California and wishing you a wonderful day also!
Morning Meditation: 14 minutes
Deeply connect to God, the Universe and your guides and angels. Breathe in all of the love, support and new opportunities that are here for you. Release feeling stuck, unsupported and like nothing ever changes.
This meditation is both empowering and relaxing, created to start you feeling centered, grounded and in harmony with possibility and the divine energy of life. It begins with the soft drumming of a tribal drum. The drum welcomes you to a new day and helps to awaken and focus your mind. Several rounds of deep breathing follow, filling your body with fresh, nourishing oxygen. Deep breathing is a proven way to reduce anxiety, assist in cell regeneration, release toxins from the body and energize the mind.
You will then connect with the energy of the Sun, the energy of life, warmth, renewal and rebirth. You will breathe this energy in and radiate it out, lighting yourself up like a powerful golden sun. After immersing in and fully nourishing yourself with this energy, you will light up even further, this time with the Light of God. You will fill yourself with a bright white light, filling each cell of your body with it until you are one with the loving, creative, powerful, supportive and healing light of God.
After this you take this light in even further, seeing it in your bones, so you feel supported and strengthened by it. You will see it in your muscles, so your movements are carried by it throughout the day. You will bring it into your eyes and ears, so that you see and hear with positive intentions of love. And you will fill your mind with it, so that your thoughts, feelings and memories are full of high vibrations.
From here, you will ask the Universe to deepen your connection to your guides, angels and God. You will remember that this day is entirely new, and all things are possible. You will open up to the infinite possibilities of this new day, and see it not as a predictable and boring day, but one that is open, full of beautiful surprises and expansive.
To purchase this mp3 for $2 go here. You can also buy it as part of a bundle and save 20% here.
I am a body composed of seven billion billion billion atoms (which is a lot - that's 7x10 to the power of 27!).
I am composed of more atoms than there are stars not just in the solar system, or the galaxy, but the whole Universe. All of my billions of atoms miraculously come together to form bones, muscles, eye tissue, nerves, a brain, a heart and all the parts of my body.
I am the perfect reflection of brilliant, individual parts creating something beyond comprehension - I am a reflection of the cosmos.
My body is a perfect metaphor for the world it lives in. Just as each atom of my body is vital, so is each person. Although I don't understand or agree with all people, I know that every life, including my own, is as valuable, mysterious and complex as the atoms of my heart.
I am a body composed of seven billion billion billion atoms. When I close my eyes, I can feel each one of those atoms vibrating with joy, love, abundance and freedom. I can feel how powerful each atom is, and how that power of love and joy is magnified a thousand times as I become aware that is me. I am those individual atoms.
I am love. I am joy. I am freedom.