Local photographer, Kim Sallaway showed me a piece several months ago he had created. When I saw it, I ached. Spiritually, it resonated with me. Simply a picture of a crowd looking up at a woman, the joy in their faces lodged in my heart. I could not forget it.
This morning, I found out that the photo is on an Oprah blog written by yoga instructor and activist, Seane Corn.
Not only is Kim’s work featured but the post inspires me. Please read it. There Corn explains how she used to angrily shout her ideas.
I was a terrible activist and [I exemplified] why activism is often ineffective and unsustainable. I wasn’t listening or seeing, and I was willingly fighting an opponent who was also deaf and blind.
I loved a good rally or protest, and afterward I always felt exhilarated and spent. I felt justified in my actions and couldn’t wait until the next demonstration and another opportunity to anger and humiliate my opponent. I believed I was trying to create change and that it took an aggressive voice willing to expose hypocrisy, at the expense of someone else’s feelings or beliefs, to accomplish that. It took me a long time, many years on the yoga mat and in therapy, to recognize that I was part of the problem….Fists held high, screaming out our agendas, both sides would push buttons and provoke. Each side feeling equally justified when the other eventually overreacted, affirming the beliefs that we/they were dangerous and exactly what was wrong with this world…
How can anything change when the true enemy is our lack of respect and an abusive need to make someone else wrong so that we can be right? There was no understanding in me to see that their passion and commitment was just as relevant as mine and that perhaps they even had something to teach me, if only I was open enough to listen. Instead, it was just a mutual spewing of ideals, with no resolve or truth, and certainly no love. We were just a bunch of wounded souls trying to push an agenda so that we didn’t actually have to deal with our own feelings. I imagine that it felt easier for us to change the world than to change ourselves….
As a journalist and blogger, Corn’s words ring in me. I struggle to write what I believe but not make villains out of people who feel differently. Corn’s post is inspiration. Kim’s photo shows what we can achieve if we act on that inspiration.
Click on the photos to see joy upclose.