I haven’t been to an Occupy protest or gathering yet, but I’ve been to a few demonstrations in the past. The first was in January of 1991 when the first Gulf War broke out. There was a gathering in downtown Santa Cruz: peaceful, passionate and very inspiring. I felt like the slogan “No blood for oil” was so incredibly obvious that surely once the world heard it, that mistake would never be made again.
History would prove me unforgivably naive.
I also rode in a Critical Mass bicycle ride in Santa Cruz. That was wonderfully intense as well. The feeling of being part of a united group is amazing. Like being at a concert or sporting event, except that you are convinced that what brings you together is not just the pleasure of spectacle (although that has its value too) but a deeper, more meaningful purpose. A gathering based on love, freedom, justice, true solidarity.
Watching the live stream of Occupy Oakland and Occupy Seattle last night, I could feel a bit of that togetherness through the screen. I could easily imagine the communal high that the participants must be feeling.
Turning away from the screen, accepting that I am thousands of miles away from these hot spots, I began to see everything I did as part of a greater whole: feeding my children and their friends, inviting the kids to come out to see the half-moon in the sky, doing a load of laundry, tidying up the living room. Every action would ripple out, with a bigger or smaller wave, into the wider world.
And every *thing* became a link in a chain: from which store had I bought the food? Who manufactured the detergent I used? I could see that every object surrounding me came with a history and had the potential to slightly alter the path ahead, not just for me but for the planet in general.
Of course I’d thought these thoughts before. Of course we’ve all meant to change some part of our lives and the world. We’ve all wanted to revolt against something at some time or other. We’ve all questioned, what could possibly be the meaning of it all, or more importantly, what do I BELIEVE is the meaning?
As I watch Occupiers making great leaps for mankind, I will take the next small step in front of me. It could lead to something big and powerful, but even if my life is only a series of small, purposeful, loving movements, those ripples will join the waves moving in the same direction, unite with the common good for the benefit of all beings.