Thomas Jefferson famously said, a democracy cannot survive without the "spirit of rebellion." The United States is a country of extreme contradictions: glory and shame equally a part of our journey as a nation.
How do we participate in the current "spirit of rebellion", while holding love as our primary focus? Perhaps even our main goal and outcome? We tap into our passion for the human race--of which we are inextricably linked--and move forward as our hearts call us to.
There are so many issues bombarding all of us in the U.S. at the moment. There are so many huge changes being proposed and legalized, that many of us have moments of overwhelm, confusion, despair. Our hearts are more than heavy, they're breaking over and over.
However, it's through this steady breaking open of our hearts that we're rediscovering our inherent power as individuals and a society. As Lenard Cohen reminds us with his timeless lyric, "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." We're tapping into one of our greatest strengths as a nation, a founding principle--the "spirit of rebellion"--and standing up for what we believe, for what's right for humanity.
What is heart-centered activism? It is connecting heaven and earth, soul and country, body and spirit through love-driven action. This activism allows our bodies and minds to do what needs to be done (which is why we have them) in order to create effective, compassionate change. It's only through love that fear is banished. Love will take our overwhelm and turn it into practical, applicable action items. Those action items may be part of a collective effort or inspiring an individual to new depths and strength to share with the world. The heart has many surprises.
Heart-centered activism could take on so many forms: peaceful protest, calling/emailing/snail-mailing your representatives, making food for the homeless or families who need our help, organizing donations for folks who need help, donating your expertise (medical, legal, spiritual, therapeutic, childcare, tutoring, mentoring...), raising money to help others, speaking up, washing the feet of Muslim immigrants, or simply teaching/modeling to your kids about compassion and kindness to all.
We are waking up to what needs to be done. This generation, like each generation before, is facing it's most critical moment in our democratic history. We're understanding on a profound level what it means to be responsible for our freedoms. The moment overwhelm or fear take their icy grip around your heart, try sitting with it. There it is. Now breathe into it for five deep breaths. As you're breathing, ask: how can I help? how can I serve? The answer may not appear right away, but keep it at the back of your mind for a day or two. Love will guide you. You'll know it's love when you feel at peace with your decision for next steps forward.
Marianne Williams writes our founding father's were not "geniuses who just happened to care about the human race; they were people who cared passionately about the human race, and out of that passion their genius emerged. Love is its own brand of genus. Our only true enemy is neither people or institutions, but fear-laden thoughts that cling to our insides and sap us of our strength...Our greatest political power now is to fear nothing and love everything; then all things will heal."