“”But I only want to love. I don’t want to feel or radiate or express anger. I’m willing to come to the Women’s March, but I’ll do it in a loving way. For me it is not a protest march.” My friend Julie was taking the risk to tell me what was in her heart about “the Resistance”.
I really believe in bringing as much love as possible to our Resistance work. I for many months wrote a blog focused on exactly this: Resistance, Peace and Love. My signature peace poem, “Sweet Peace” wrestles with the place of resistance and love. The last verse of that poem says,
“And so yes, even more than resistance
Our work is to love
Our work is to create peace within ourselves
And then radiate peace to each other.”
And even to those on the other side, even to their leaders
“Who are so wrong-headed
Sometimes so full of hate
That they get very dangerous and must be stopped.”
My friends who regard “not getting angry” as a cardinal value are, to me, like the monks in their monasteries keeping the planet from blowing up by the force of peace that they radiate – and I really believe they are doing that.
“Angry energy doesn’t serve us.” When maybe 15 twenty-something folks dressed all in black came out to one of our rallies and yelled “Kill the pigs” at the cops, that didn’t serve us and I wished they weren’t there.
If Trump fires Mueller and we take to the streets (MoveOn has a lot of people like me already committed to do this), it’s going to be an angry energy – we’re going to need a lot of people angry enough to do this. My coaching to myself around situations like this is to “Go with as much love in your heart as you can muster – but don’t wait until you are completely peaceful. Go and ask Spirit to guide you.”
I believe that when Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple, he was angry. If I see someone hurting one of my grandchildren (or my big, strapping 41 year old son), my intervention will probably be driven by anger – and that anger may give me the force I need for my intervention to succeed. Afterwards I can bless the perpetrator.
Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my spiritual heroes and perhaps our foremost modern teacher of mindfulness, belongs to the order of Vietnamese Zen monks that got famous for their attempts to intervene in the Vietnam war. I saw him speak in Chicago just days after the U.S. had invaded Iraq. The first 45 minutes of his talk were pretty much his standard message about “Being peace”. But then he energetically, almost visibly shifted gears as he said, basically, “People, it’s time to take to the streets. If we are committed to peace, we’ve got to do anything we reasonably can to stop this killing.”
I will continue to have conversations with my friends like Julie. I will listen as deeply as I can. I will try to find the questions that will invite them to bring me into their thought and feeling process. I will try to walk in their shoes. I will try to develop processes and experiences that anchor peace deeper in myself. I will write this blog and make my speeches and have coaching conversations with people.
And hopefully all of us together, with our differing interventions, can throw the bums out and start over.
Here’s Kate Wolf, who in her 44 years both sang about and emanated love. Listening to her now has got me hopefully integrating what I have written above and, blessedly, crying.