“A voice of one is better than the voice of none.” This sentence sums up much of my approach to speaking truth, demonstrating, and showing up. I’m not waiting for the crowd, for the great leader, or for the glorious revolution. I want to speak up, show up, stand up. I don’t care if I’m the only person there. I’m there.
To often, we wait for someone else to take action before finding our own courage. Why? Who exactly are we waiting for? The new Jesus-Gandhi-King isn’t some politician – all three of those figures were decidedly NOT running for political office – the new hero is us, all of us, all together. It’s a hero with a billion faces. And guess what? No one’s coming to save you. You aren’t a princess in a tower. You’re the gosh-darned plucky under-dog ordinary, extraordinary hero.
The Chinese I-ching has a great character in the mythic backstory behind the hexagrams. He’s called Yu the Great. It’s fabulous, because the homonym between English and Chinese (which is only significant in my poetic world of synchronicity) makes that You the Great. In the myths, Yu is a hero because he rallied the people to collective action, and together they drained the marshes and drove out the demons and planted the fields. His story is one of abandoning the path of lonely heroism – the path his father chose and found only failure and death along.
So You the Great, we the great, are the heroes of our time. Together, we can make the changes happen. But, we can’t wait for anyone else. We have to decide to be leaderful, to show up, to take action, to invite others to join us instead of waiting like wallflowers to be invited to the party. We’ve got to throw the street party, the demonstration, the movement. We’re not The Great Leader, we’re one of the many people who are learning to stand on our own two feet, to think for ourselves, to do what is right not because it’s in vogue, but because we know it’s right.
Welcome to the adventure, my friends.
Remember … taking a public stand for peace and active nonviolence always has an effect. It breaks the complicity of silence. It brings the message of change to the eyes of the public. This September 18-25th, be sure to join the Campaign NonviolenceWeek of Actions by holding a sign in a public space with a message about building a culture of peace and active nonviolence, free from war, poverty,racism, climate crisis, and the epidemic of violence. All actions, small or large, are counted in the Week of Actions. Let us know you’ll take action with us!http://www.paceebene.org/
This photo comes from the Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions in 2014, when a solo demonstrator engaged her community in profound discussions, one person at a time.