Change and Your Mind
I’ll admit it. I fell asleep to dreamy images of our new first couple dancing across my mind. The scenes of the Inaugural Balls stayed with me after the TV went off, followed me into bed and played in my head as I drifted into sleep.
My mind was gripped by these pictures. My little brain, like yours, scans the world to label and sort what it perceives, according to pre-established categories. It simply didn’t know what to do when it saw the concepts of old Hollywood glamour, African American, the U.S. President and First Lady, social activists, inspired prophet-redeemer, and hip, gorgeous couple, all come together in Barack and Michelle Obama’s dance. Processing that image required breaking old neural connections and forging new ones, in my mind and in the collective consciousness. My brain kept saying, “Huh? Let’s play that again.”
I would guess that each of us has at least one stunning image of the day, now replaying in us again and again. Maybe the dances, the swearing in, Aretha Franklin’s breathtaking song, the “brown can stick around” rhyme read from the podium, the picture of the Bushes and Obamas next to one another on the steps of the White House. Image after image challenged our concepts of what is and what can be. Yesterday, the edge of what exists in this world expanded out.
This is what change really is—not re-labeling the old thing with a different name, or replacing something with some other version of itself, but truly creating something new.
I want us to take this in deeply. As dreamers, creators, innovators, people of hope and vision, we must study this moment and try to etch the lesson into our hearts: change, evolution, revolution, is possible. We must study the contours of change, and learn: how does it happen that something new is birthed? How does it become included in a new definition of reality? We can watch all that happened at this moment and learn.
Change and Your Heart
Yesterday’s images stretched what my mind knows to be possible. I felt another kind of transformation as well, one of the heart. As I watched Obama step into leadership of our country, I felt the most expansive sensation of lightness, a kind of airy-ness within and around me. It felt as if some old, tight knot in my chest, one I never knew was there, was removed.
Yesterday I recognized that I’ve lived for decades a child’s disappointment of realizing her government was not for peace and nonviolence and love and gentleness. I think of myself at age six, running in circles in the grass in our backyard, entirely in love with every form of life and nature. And I think of the tone and words I would hear on the TV news as I walked back in to the kitchen: the rhetoric of “enemies,” the voice of attack and defend, and the stories of war.
There was a core split long ago between what I knew to be the truths of love and seamless unity of all life, and this other thing of fear and division, which was running so much of my government. I’ve lived my entire life thinking that most of politics is a replaying of the same underlying series of events, stemming from competition, greed, zero sum thinking, a usurpation of our place in the ecosystem of life, and a willingness to deny love to other human beings.
That belief, thawed yesterday. I believe we now have a leader who is sane with love, who has respect for all peoples. I believe our world is being pulled into a next level of humanity, where we recognize and act upon basic truths: I am my brother’s keeper. We can’t harm anyone or anything on this planet without harming ourselves. And what we need is within us.
What stirred, opened, ended in your heart yesterday? And what does that make possible today?
Change and You
And now I want to talk to you about you. I know, this is no moment for narcissism and navel gazing, this is a moment to be humbled by the struggles of all others that led to this moment, to admire our new leadership, and to think of all those who deserve help, justice, a fighting chance.
And yet, because Obama won’t be our leader forever, there is something else I believe we must do. We must take this moment to look at ourselves in the mirror, to see who is staring back at us. We must recognize that while Barack Obama may have inspired us, what he inspired exists and has always existed in us. The hope, kindness, love, you are now feeling is in you. What does it tell you about who you are? What do your aspirations for this planet, now awakened within you, tell you about your true nature? See and feel this, and we can multiply our impact and carry today’s spirit far beyond today.
Change and Your Mind