Guess it didn’t Work…..
The first time I heard the chant, I was wearing a fake hazmat suit and attempting to levitate the Pentagon. One of my cohorts in my radical-Jewish-lesbian-feminist-separatist-anti-Zionist group (that is exactly who I thought I was) had access to these thin, plastic suits. I remember painting slogans on them on Shatzi’s bumpy wooden floor in her East Third Street apartment, as we somberly prepared for our first D.C. political action. We also created fake masks of some sort to further dramatize the effect. Or so we thought.
My memory opens.
It’s warm in D.C.; the suit scrunches and bunches in and around my clothes, the full zipper front constricting. I feel the suit’s texture, thin, grainy and unnatural, between my fingers. I’m so anxious, about what, I wonder? Am I doing It right? Will you love me?
But wait—memory and age are strange dance partners. Google seems to insist that the Pentagon levitation extravaganza took place in 1967! I was still not out yet; clearly, I wasn’t there with my lesbian self or lesbian friends. Perhaps I was there with P., my boyfriend-hub-to-be? I absolutely remember levitating that damn Pentagon. One doesn’t forget that sort of thing, does one?
I’m inspired by Tim O’Brien, the semi-autobiographical novelist, who studies memory. He encourages us to explore “the spell of memory and imagination”.
Memory and imagination.
My memory re-forms itself. No longer levitating, I am with my lesbian feminist group. We are now marching in a line in Arlington National Cemetery. The fake hazmat suit binds around my legs and raises my temperature as the faux mask impedes my breathing. All around me is quiet and subdued, just the sound of shuffling bodies and my own somber, challenged breath. My heart is pounding and sweat is clotting my hairline. The pot I greedily smoked once we got off the never-ending-politically-correct-group-school-bus-from-hell has long worn off. I am drained and emptied, and for no particular reason, unreasonably sad.
Then, out of the air around me, someone starts the chant. It seems to come from behind me. It gathers strength, energy, sounding; it soars over my head, surrounding me, engaging me, wrapping me up in its arms. It carries me through the cemetery, moving us all forward into our shared broken heart.
Here is a version of the chant by Libana, a group of global musicians that have been performing world music since the 70’s. Check it out.
A thousand years have passed since those marches in Arlington Cemetery, the Pentagon, and other sites. A thousand years. In these past months of unfolding global unease, this chant has returned to me. Riding my bike, walking, driving—it encompasses me. It is available to me, following me; it rises up in me, blessing me with its energetic realignment.
The earth is our mother…we must take care of her…
Puerto Rico remains in the dark, 80% without electricity. California is burning. Las Vegas staggers to return from the trauma of its mass shooting. Hurricanes shake the coastlines with unprecedented ferocity. The stunning Virgin Islands, my precious St. John, lie in shambles.
It’s holy ground we walk upon….with every step we take….
Wherever you walk—pavement, city, shopping center, suburbia, or the Grand Canyon—let’s remember upon whom we place our feet. Let’s remember the gloriousness of this planet of ours. She is our mother, our partner, our sustenance, our lifeblood. We have been pretty shitty tenants to date. How do we change that? How do we amend that?
One step at a time. One precious step at a time.
Look around. See the glory. See the beauty. Wherever you are, clearly, She is there, too. Let’s realign; within the effortless arms of spiritual activism, let’s bless the earth upon which we walk.
See the beauty.
Love the beauty.
Breathe into the beauty.
We are the beauty.
Let’s move forward, alone and together, into the beauty of our shared broken heart.
It’s hard to know what to say these days, with so many issues slipping out of alignment. Please let me know how you are doing, how this and my other blogs are touching you. I know we are in it together; I know this is both individual and shared work. Please know you are not alone. Keep me posted—firstname.lastname@example.org