I just got back from the LA Women’s March. What an adventure! It started with the best laid plans going awry. I was traveling to downtown LA with my youngest daughter, our neighbors, who are good friends, husband and wife and their daughter, and another of my daughter’s friends. We thought we were smart in deciding to take the end of the line North Hollywood Metro to Pershing Square. The difficulty finding parking should have given me a warning to how crowded the Metro would be. When we got the station the crowd was enormous.
We managed to descend the staircase (both escalators were broken) to the ticketing area. When we got to the bottom, we could not move forward, and the crowd was so thick behind us, we could not move back. We were now sandwiched. Rumors floated that it would take two hours to get a train, and that the current trains weren’t even stopping because they were full. We wondered how that could be possible if we were at the end of the line station, but people more clever than us, were getting on the train going in the opposite direction of the march at the next stop and staying on the train as it did its circuit for the return journey.
I, historically, do not do well in tight, confined spaces, and started to feel hot and claustrophobic. Even though I knew my physiological sensations were the result of transitory thought in the moment, and not a real sign of me being in danger, my thoughts were getting the better of me. I could feel myself heading toward a panic attack. Fortunately for me, my friends were understanding when I told them I didn’t think I could wait it out in the crowd.
We went to plan b and ordered an Uber. Ascending into the fresh air was easy, as we were able to walk up the escalator that was closed due to being out of service. We located our Uber driver before he was poached by other marchers, but were then told he could not take six of us, even though I had requested an Uber that could take up to six passengers. Fortunately, my neighbor is extremely persuasive. She convinced him to allow her husband to ride in the far back. We knew we were in the right place when we got in and the driver spontaneously burst in to song, belting out “All we are saying is give peace a chance!“.
Surprisingly enough the drive downtown was quite fluid. We made it there in good time, but because of the delay at the train station we missed our window for meeting up with the others in the Mother Daughter group we were planning to connect with. It turns out they had similar transportation issues with the Metro in Santa Monica. Nonetheless, we were grateful to have arrived, and amazed at how many people were there. Little did we know at that time, there were between five hundred and seven hundred and fifty thousand people at the march. I was struck by the upbeat spirit and the warmth of the people around us. Who knew that so many could gather in peace and cooperation. It was a joyous occasion and the signs were so creative and fun! I wish I had taken more photos of them.
During the march, I uploaded a short fifteen second video to Facebook. The crowd was chanting “Love Trumps Hate!”. One of the comments I received stated, “The mantra of these marchers is against Trump? Whatever happened to unity? All of this makes me realize how much the US and the world NEEDS Trump.” I was surprised, not because the person who commented was a Trump supporter, but because the statement “Love Trumps Hate” could be seen as negative. It woke me up to the separate realities that we all live in. For me, the operative word was love. I am standing for love, and also of the opinion that many of the statements shared by President Trump do not align with love and foster fear and mistrust instead.
I stand for humanity. I believe in the oneness of our true nature and embrace the diversity of how individuals express that in the world. That does not, however, mean I am in agreement with everyones ideology and behaviors. I can be for love and not support Hitler’s actions. I can agree that President Donald Trump is a spiritual being, having a human experience and just a worthy as any other human being on the planet, while also not supporting his point of view.
I do not agree with President Trump’s racist statements such as suggesting most Mexican immigrants are criminals, drug dealers, and rapists, or placing a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States, or saying a judge of Mexican ancestry cannot be unbiased, or his company not renting to black people, or his refusal for condemning white supremacists who supported him. I am not in agreement with his lack of support for gay marriage, and his support of a Vice-President who does not agree with LGBTQ rights. I do not support a man who thinks it is acceptable to grab a woman’s pussy because he is ‘a star’, and who also has numerous allegations of women accusing him of sexual harassment and assault. I do not support his intentions to block women’s access to health care by defunding planned parenthood. Misogyny, xenophobia, racism, and homophobia do not align with love. They are driven by fear.
I am not alone in my perspective. Hundreds of thousands of us marched in LA in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, along with sister marches around the world. Sunday’s ABC headline announced, “More than 1 Million Rally at Women’s Marches in US and Around World”. The numbers for the marches were underestimated every where! Isn’t that typical for women to be underestimated and to over perform.
I am hopeful that despite ideological differences that exist, the oneness of the human heart will prevail. I wrote this text to a friend who was being criticized on her Facebook post. “Ultimately, I think we all want to love and be loved, to express our unique true nature into the world. We just have different ideas about how to go about it. We can only be the change we want to see, and express our love for humanity in ways that make sense to us.”
I encourage all of us to follow the momentum that calls us. When we take action to bring more love into the world, change happens — slavery ends, segregation ends, colonial domination ends, holocaust ends, not being able to vote ends.
There is , however, one place, I do agree with President Trump. In his inauguration speech he said:
“…today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.”
This is true because of us. Unfortunately, President Trump and his cabinet picks seem to indicate no shift to the corporate oligarchy that infiltrates the running of our government. This march was not just about President Trump. It also spoke against giant corporations running the political system in service to their profits. In that our concerns are bipartisan. However, millions of people around the world are supporting the clarion call of women to stand together to further democracy in service to human rights rather than corporate profit. We can join together in our willingness to support access to nutritious food, a healthy planet, economic and social justice, and peace.
When we see our wellbeing comes from inside of us and cannot be bought, it will no longer be reasonable to put profits above everything else. In our solidarity and strength in numbers, we must also remember the revolution starts within. When we know our wellbeing is not determined by our circumstances, and that we can experience the infinity of our loving nature no matter what, we will act in accordance with love. Our choices will be aligned with our highest selves, and only kindness and compassion will make sense. The fear that drives all forms of discrimination and violence will no longer resonate with the experiential knowing that we are love.
Love will always trump hate, and love does not require me to unify behind a President that does not hold my values and whose political appointments do not address my concerns.
Rohini Ross is a psychotherapist, a leadership consultant, and an executive coach. She helps individuals, couples, and professionals connect more fully with their true nature so they can experience greater levels of wellbeing, resiliency, and success. You can find out more about Rohini’s work on her website, rohiniross.com.