Sunday, December 7, 2014

Nonviolent Protest, Change, and How to Grow a Mandala

Last night I fell asleep to the sound of helicopters circling overhead, and sirens wailing. I had taken BART into the city to see my friend, Christine Marie 's shadow performance, Four Trains, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Sadly, it was her last performance. She'll be back - what she does with shadow and light is amazing!

 But I digress. Waiting at the BART station, we heard an announcement that the Berkeley station was shut down temporarily, due to protesting. Yesterday morning I read Caille Millner's column in the SF Chronicle. Yes, she is right, I thought. Protest to make change happen is inconvenient. We don't like it. It scares us.

But how else are we to make change happen?
 I have friends who are cops, friends who are shop owners and friends who are protesters. I have African American friends, who get stopped just because they are driving or walking down the street. One of my sixth graders came to school the other day with a note pinned to his shirt: "I  am not a criminal." He is 11 years old.

Our country desperately needs change. I do not know what is the best way to make change happen. But I know it will be uncomfortable and painful.  I support those who are protesting. I do not support those who are throwing bricks at cops, or looting stores. I do not support tear gas and rubber bullets being shot at nonviolent protestors. There is so much fear out there, what will it take to stop this?

I've gone through an enormous, scary change this year. I got divorced, after 24 years of marriage.
When I was in the darkest, deepest hole, I started drawing mandalas. They made me feel better.
I taught my students how to make them. There are two kinds of mandalas, geometric, drawn with rulers and compasses, and organic, which start with a dot, or a seed.  Take a look at this: how to grow a mandala
Today I will be drawing another mandala. Maybe it will make me feel a bit better.