I am still reeling from the images on my TV screen on Wednesday afternoon. I am horrified. I am worried. I am angry. I am stunned by such a visceral reminder of a truth we know too well: our democracy is fragile. Our capacity to govern ourselves according to the will of the people depends on the good will of the people. It depends on a shared understanding of truth. It depends on trust in our elections and our institutions. It depends on leaders who put the good of the nation ahead of their own interests, and systems of checks and balances to protect us from the human inclination to abuse power. Our democracy depends on so many things that seem to be broken, or at least wounded.
Our democracy is fragile—and was damaged by what happened Wednesday and by what has been happening in recent years. Our democracy is also resilient—and has not been destroyed. I am reeling, and I am also relieved.
In the midst of the drama unfolding on TV Wednesday evening, I was scheduled to lead Veterans Yoga. As we gathered in our Zoom room, we agreed to be extra gentle with ourselves, and we chose to dedicate our yoga practice to healing for our nation. I was so grateful to have a community with whom to breathe and an opportunity to claim that we can use our energy and our intention in the service of healing.
Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, I watched a video introducing a movement called “The People’s Inauguration.” Valarie Kaur is a remarkable Sikh woman who wrote See No Stranger: A Manifesto of Revolutionary Love, a book we have used for inspiration in our Gentle Yoga class. Behind this movement is the recognition that politicians, while very important, cannot heal our nation. That is up to us.
On January 20th, our new President and Vice-President will take an oath of office. On January 21st, The People’s Inauguration movement will call upon all of us to make our own commitment—to building relationships, to healing wounds, to seeking justice and opportunity for all.
The movement gives me hope. It is such a powerful expression of Open Spirit’s mission—especially our mission to “inspire courage to transform our lives and our communities.” May we inspire one another. May we be courageous. May we be part of the transformation of our community and our nation.