On this day when one of the great truth tellers of the effects of the war economy on our lives and the planet - Stephen Hawking - has left the earth, we watch in awe as students walk out of 800 schools around the nation demanding politicians protect children, not guns, in a #NationalWalkOutDay.
Last night, I met with a few friends for dinner. As the conversation turned to the state of the world, one of the girls, a beloved K-12 teacher, broke down crying. The system is so oppressive. We’re being attacked every day and it’s exhausting. It hurts to care this much. I just want to give up. I felt my eyes welling up too as the pain of her words sank into my heart. The war economy works overtime to force us into depression and hopelessness. The structure continues to destroy and extract our time, our joy, and our connections to life on the planet.
But I woke up this morning to a different story. A story of incredible compassion, courage, and unity told by students much younger and wiser than I. Thousands of youth today are daring to walk not just out of their classrooms, but out of the system that oppresses us all, to imagine a world where we are all cared for - where we are all free.
Radical imagination is what expands the limits of possibility, and that’s how change happens. Apathy, sadness and paralysis are all real emotions we feel. But as we see today, daring to hope, to engage with the world from the love we have for it, is what makes all the difference.
As you watch today’s historic walkouts unfold, notice the feelings that come up in your body and heart. Notice what possibility feels like, and bring the energy it conjures for you into tomorrow and the next day.
When you feel the vortex of overwhelm sucking you into a place of sinking despair and apathy, recall a beautiful act, either this one or any you’ve felt connected to in your life. Let its power give you the strength to engage.
It all starts locally. It starts with the youth, and it starts with you.
Thanks for all that you are,