|San Francisco City Hall|
November 19, 2011
© L Kathryn Grace
Here, as they say, is the rest of the story.
First, the bad news: Due to ambiguity around permits, we canceled the official meetup. The good news: We stood anyway. The best news: Two other women signed up and plan to stand with us in the future. Their support strengthens us.
How it felt, standing for peace in public
Ever since I came across Sharon Medhi's book, The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering: A Story for Anyone Who Thinks She Can't Save the World, I have wanted to stand exactly as those grandmothers did. On the way to City Hall, I felt excitement for a dream come true.
Beginning my breathing meditation, my mind filled with doubts. "What's the point?" "What possible good can this do?" "We are a couple of crazy old ladies." Thank goodness for meditation practice! Because of it, I let go of those thoughts. Calm filled the spaces. Soon enough, I realized it didn't matter. What mattered was that we were following our hearts, doing what feels right.
We stood together, hearts joined. At one point, far across the plaza, we noticed a solitary woman in a camel coat. She stood, unmoving, facing City Hall as we did, for about thirty minutes. Had she learned about us and come despite the cancellation? We may never know, but it encourages us deeply to imagine she came to stand for peace.
A police officer arrived, seemed to be checking us out, driving into the plaza and behind us. A homeless man found us curious and circled us frequently. Numerous injured, ill mentally or physically, passed our line of vision, some pushing carts overflowing with soiled belongings, some with little clothing and no other visible possessions. Elderly people came and went, some on canes, some in wheelchairs. Others stood between the trees, practicing Tai Chi and Qi Gong. A motorcyclist in a stars-and-stripes helmet parked his bike in front of us, set up a tripod and camera and appeared to film us among many other subjects.
White clouds flowed overhead, followed by heavier, darker clouds, then blue sky and glowing, cumulus puffs. I felt deep peace and calm as I stood, a peace that remains. I have a sense of possible: that it is possible peace will come in my lifetime, the lasting peace of which so many dream and for which so many work arduously day after day.
Something has shifted.
Instinctively, we know the power of peaceful hearts joined in purpose. All one has to do is look at the videos of the peaceful occupiers around the country to get a feel for that in action today. I'll share one of the most powerful examples with you tomorrow--hundreds, perhaps thousands of people of all ages and colors, teaching one another, working together in the open air to come to consensus about their objectives and next actions, assuring every voice is heard, every concern met.
As for the stand itself, I was grateful that my somewhat crickety body did not mind it so much. I had to stretch a bit now and then, but the hour passed pleasurably.
Sharon and I will stand again this Saturday, and I suspect the next and the next. We may have to change venues for a time. We may have to raise money to buy permits. We may have to bring those little tripod seats old people use when waiting at the bus stop! But we will be there.
Disclosure: Should you click on the Amazon link in this post and make a purchase, it is possible I might make a few pennies on the sale. Wouldn't that be a thrill.
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.