Jan 21, 2017: Shakti Speaks

My trip to DC for the women's march was very last minute. I'd broken my right pinky toe over the holidays in a not-so-rare moment of unmindfulness and I just wasn't sure I could make it. I had very much wanted to go. I knew it would be a phenomenal historical event (and I wanted to both participate in it and document it).

A sign at the Union Station bus terminal.

A sign at the Union Station bus terminal.

And that's exactly what it turned out to be, and not just in DC; Saturday January 21st 2017 was historic for women around the world and all those naysayers out there who were "not impressed" by that were clearly either not there and are just a tiny bit jealous (go on, admit it!) or simply can't shake off their (invariably) straight-white-male biases (unlike all those SWMs who did attend).

Shakti is the Sanskrit word for female energy. It's active, creative, vibrant, intelligent, capable of multi-tasking, generous, compassionate and endlessly loving. That energy is not exclusively the domain of female human beings, but that's generally where you'll find the most obvious examples of it, and the global women's march was clearly one of those. Like it or not, that event (or collection of events) was impressive in three important ways:

1) Volume. Size matters.

The sheer volume of the people who protested cannot be ignored or denied. There are no alternative facts. In DC it was somewhere in the vicinity (or above) 500,000; five times more than was anticipated. A total of around 4.6 million people marched in cities throughout the U.S. and although there's no official global head count, thousands of women marched in cities throughout the world.


2) The expression.

Shakti spoke on Saturday in different and unusual ways. Beyond the daily activism of tweeting and posting and signing petitions and phoning senators and supporting all the orgs that do that stuff best, she knitted and sewed, she drew and she painted, she sang and she chanted. The pussycat hats, the signs, the songs and the chants were all bold acts of creativity and experience that had an undeniable impact. If you doubt that, just take another look at some more of those signs [ https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliareinstein/best-womens-march-signs ]

3) The vibe.

Zero riots and zero violence. Yup. Think about that for a minute. Millions of people and not a single act of violence. That's because Shakti's mission is to overwhelm with love (along with some large doses of intelligence, diplomacy and creativity), not hatred. And we're not talking about some lame and insipid form of love. This is the powerful sisterly, motherly, BFF kind of love that says, "I see you. I know you. I've felt your pain." Whether it's the searing monthly procreative pain that we seldom mention, or the death-defying (and occasionally death-grabbing) pain of childbirth, or the emotional pain of rejection, unrealistic expectations, derision, discrimination or outright misogyny, it's the understanding that "I recognize you. I feel you. You are me. I am you. And we don't endure the pain of being a woman so that some ignorant tyrant(s) can come along and make it a whole lot worse." (Oh and please do feel free to prove us wrong, ignorant tyrants!). 

In that recognition, with that awareness, we came together; all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, sexual dispositions, races, colors, religions and political leanings, and we felt we felt alive, we felt intimate, we felt whole, and we felt LOVE.

Even a Trump supporter couldn't resist a smile.

Even a Trump supporter couldn't resist a smile.

And yes, we'll "get on" and "move forward" with the 100-point plan and the endless to-do list of resistance, but we'll also get back to our daily lives of cooking and cleaning and nursing and caregiving and teaching and counseling and hosting and running businesses and writing and singing and creating, and we'll feel that much more alive and empowered because we know we have a million sisters out there who've got our backs.

So please, no more belittling, bemoaning or just plain being mean about the women's march. Just step back a little and allow us a moment to let the energy of that day suffuse our lives, and for that to be a force for good.


[ PS ... the biggest complaint I heard about the DC march was the trash left behind. Firstly; the signs left behind were not trash; they were messages left to be read. Secondly, we would've been able to implement a "leave no trace" policy if we'd been allowed to carry backpacks (as it was, that made it difficult to carry water, food and extra clothing). Thirdly, the march in DC flooded the city with money. Perhaps the city could've responded by bringing in extra street cleaners rather than extra police? After all, we've done our fair share of cleaning thanks guys. ]

If you want to see more of my pics from DC, click here (and scroll down).

If you recognize anyone in the pics please have them contact me for a high-res download if they wish (or to be removed if they wish that!).