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Notes from the Resistance: January 29-February 4, 2017

You may not know this, but I'm naturally an introvert. I live in sweatpants, actually need quiet time in order to be a nice person, and actually prefer talking to people on Twitter than on the phone. In fact, I hate talking on the phone. Either it's riddled with dreadful small talk or it's just nerve-wracking. I don't know why, but I always feel like I'm going to be quizzed on something I haven't thought about since high school every time I talk to someone on the phone.

"Quick, explain quantum physics!"

Cuz you know, that's what happens on the phone...

So, I avoid it as much as possible. Thankfully, I have mostly been able to get away with it. I'm a writer, a yoga instructor, and a dog-sitter. I either talk to people through emails or in person.

But, things changed two weeks ago. Well, things changed back in November...even before that, if we want to be technical. But the crisis set in once Trump was elected. We cried and grieved. Mourned. Threw things. Got angry. We took to the streets...and we're staying in the streets. Literally and metaphorically.

This is an all-hands-on-deck kind of situation.

So many of us don't know what to do. The Women's March on Washington was quite honestly the largest protest in United States history. I've never seen so many people. At times, you couldn't move. You could barely breathe there was so much energy and there were so many people crammed into that space.

I was there and my notes on the event are still being formulated. So, look forward to hearing about that! It's hard to put into words what happened that day. It was so much more than a protest. It was a call to action. A Divine call.

People in the spiritual community are often obsessed with being positive. We breathe. We meditate. We love everyone. But, you can disagree with someone and still love them.

Martin Luther King Jr. said "God told me to love my enemies. But I don't have to like them."
We're resisting with love.

Honestly, one of the best ways you can show your love is to say No. Maybe even Hell No.

So, welcome to Notes from the Resistance, a new series on the blog that'll show you what I'm doing every week to resist...and to fix the problems we're currently facing.

What I Did:

I picked up the phone.

I'm shocked, too.

With my dog staring at me like I was crazy, I dialed that long-ass number to express my hopes and fears for the country...or at least Trump's cabinet and rep choices.

Though, it didn't involve anywhere near as much as I thought it would...I think I was on the phone for one minute.

So...don't be too alarmed...I'm going to ask you to start making calls, too. But, don't worry. I've got it all laid out for you:

Important Announcement: The Homeland Security Committee is taking calls about whether or not to install Steve Bannon to the National Security Council. You can call now. In fact, please call now.

Here's the number: 202-612-4751

Don't know who Bannon is? Don't understand why he's not only unqualified but also dangerous for the position on the National Security Council? READ THIS. Cliff-notes: He's a neo-nazi with no military experience.

What I Said:

It was way easier than I thought it was going to be. In fact, I didn't even have to talk to anyone. You just leave a message.

Here's an example of what to say, "Hi, my name is Stacy Porter. I'm a voter in Everett, PA (zip code). I don't need a response. I'm calling to tell you I strongly oppose Steven Bannon's installation on the Homeland Security Council. Thank you for working hard answering phone calls. Goodbye."

I'll break each part down, though, so you know why it's all important...

Name, city, state, and zip code are all important so they can validate your identity. This is especially important when you're calling your senators, congresspeople, and representatives because the only calls that count for them are from people in their districts!

I don't need a response...that means I don't need them to call me back. 

And they don't need to because I gave them the reason I'm calling.

Keep it short and sweet. Most of the time, staffers don't need to hear WHY you oppose or support something. They just make a note of it...tally how many people are for or against things so they can give the rep the numbers.

And, it never hurts to be polite! Staffers have the worst job on the hill because they're the ones standing between us and our representative. Being nice will only help your cause!

I hope you'll consider calling and voicing your opinions. It matters now more than ever that we take our responsibilities as citizens seriously. We need your voice.

What I Watched:

Dream On by John Fugelsang

I've seen a lot of poverty. I've traveled along the smiling coast of Africa, meeting truly beautiful souls who were gracious, intelligent, driven, and caring...and also lived without electricity in their homes. It breaks my heart that there are people experiencing that kind of lack...that kind of fear anywhere in the world today...today in the 21st century. But, the whole world is struggling to eat, to sleep, to live...to have a roof over their head, to afford healthy foods, to be educated, to having clean running water. The list goes on and on.

John Fugelsang manages to approach these situations with a dark sense of humor...making you laugh and cry in the same sentence as the deep truths of his experience grip your heart.

I encourage you to watch it. Here's a link to the PBS page.

Sister Giant

After the Women's March on Washington, everyone seemed to be asking, "Now what?" Sister Giant...a conference bringing together politics and spirituality, run by Marianne Williamson, answers that question.

Lisa Bloom, Michael Weiss, Myron Dewey, Cenk Uygur, John Fugelsang, Josh Fox, Zephyr Teachout, Reverend Dr. Barber, Pramila Jayapal, Opal Tometi, and so many others shared their wisdom, experience, passion, and advice.

We talked about environmental issues, Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter, the importance of the open seat in the Supreme Court, and our place in the resistance.

Trump's people have actually said that they're waiting for us to get tired. They're expecting us to get tired...fed up, frustrated...they want us to throw in the towel, get bored, or just give up.

But we will not give up. We have RISEN. We are standing. We are marching. And we're not going to sit back down.

Together, we cannot fail.

Head on over to my Twitter...I live-tweeted the whole conference, sharing the juicy deep truths of the amazing speakers.

That's it for now. Every action is necessary and appreciated. Miracles happen when we act with conviction. You don't need to be passionate about the same things as me, but Democracy only works when everyone is involved. Citizens. Not just officials. We need to remind them that we're the boss...that our voices matter. They are speaking for us. So we need to hold them accountable to their words...with our actions.

What are you doing to make American KIND again?

I am a Crystal OR The Powerful Symbolism of Wearing a Safety Pin

I always wanted to go on a pilgrimage. In fact, I always thought I'd make a great nun. If, you know, there were Pagan nuns. My mom and I often talk about spiritual texts and philosophy. We've been having these talks almost every night this week, trying to make sense of the world where very little actually does. At one point, we started planning a move East, where we could live in a Buddhist temple and spend the rest of our lives meditating and playing those singing bowls.

But, we can't do that. For one, I have a Jack Russell Terrier who I don't imagine would be a good flyer. Also, many people (myself included) talked about moving during the election. A lot of people planned to go to Canada if things went red...personally, I wanted to move to Paris so I could still fulfill my dream of working at a Disney park. But, I'm not going to run.

In fact, everyone's tune changed after the election, despite all of that pre-election talk of moving abroad. Or at least, that's what I'm reading on my Twitter.

We're not running.

We're rising up.

We're standing. Standing up for our beliefs. Standing up for what's right. Standing up for justice and liberty for all.

When I was growing up, every August my mom and I would pack our Jeep full of sage sticks, bug spray, and our African drums and head to the Letchworth State Park in New York. There we'd meet up with our tradition for our annual Witchstock festival. The fire never went out, the drumming never stopped, we'd have lectures and rituals, and go hiking around the truly breathtaking waterfalls that ran through the park.

This went on for years. Years and years.

I knew that park like the back of my hand...better than the woods behind my own house! The moment my mom and I would step on that camp ground, we were like twin radio. Our walls were down, our psychic abilities were up, and the entire place sang with magic and wonder.

It was a safe place.

Sacred land.

Me and Christopher Penczak, my friend and mentor, on a hike
My mom and I at the drum circle
Tonight, when mom and I were talking about our desire to travel to sacred space, I thought of that camp ground. We haven't been for years, since before I went to college. But, just thinking of that open field, those glorious mountains, and those waterfalls made emotion...made true magic swell in my heart.

We made Letchworth into sacred space.

By years of traveling there...of cleansing the field, of drumming into the night, of creating magic and casting spells...that land became something more than just trees and earth. It was magic, itself.

It was our repetition. Our constant, annual devotion. The rituals we performed, the vibration we all carried, and the intentions we set as we stood in that grass year after year after year.

We can create our own sacred space.

The body is the temple that houses the witch.

We forget out own power. Our own personal ability to make change.

We don't need the drums or wands. We don't need herbs or statuary. My dear friend and mentor Dorothy Morrison once told me that the mind is the witch's greatest tool. We don't need any of the other stuff. That's just for show. It's just to help us focus because of our monkey mind. But, we are the real magic. Our intention, our energy is what makes magic happen.

I don't need a fancy crystal. I AM a crystal.

This past week, I have been seeing a lot of safety pins popping up on social media. People are pinning them on their shirts to show their support of minorities and any and all who are afraid of the new president elect and his campaign promises/nasty language.

I've seen a lot of love for this idea.

I've also seen a lot of people roll their eyes at it or say white people are embarrassing themselves by wearing these pins.

Personally, I think it's a beautiful idea. I think the safety pin has become a sort of talisman. It has the meaning that we give it. It's given the power we infuse it with, with our intentions. 

Of course, just wearing a safety pin isn't enough. You have to walk your talk...you have to stand up against oppressors, against bullies, even against the system. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable, to step out of your familiar happy place of blind privilege, and take a stand for the safety and rights of someone else.

The safety pin is a symbol, but we are the safe space. We are the sacred ground. We are the protectors, the light workers, the change makers. We are the warriors. The safety pin won't do anything except remind us of our job, our civic duty. 

I'll wear one.

I hope you will, too.

But, most importantly, I hope you realize that the safety pin is just a gesture. It's just an object. A thing. Things have the power we give them. But, the true power, the real magic, comes from you, the person, the witch.

Blessed be.

I'd love to hear what you think about the safety pin idea in the comments! Are you for or against the idea? Do you wear one? Let me know xoxo

What Would Mary Margaret Do?

This has been a hard week for everyone. On Tuesday, my mom and I voted early in the morning and spent the rest of the day doing errands. I bought the newest Xmen movie. Things felt normal. I went to sleep that night feeling so hopeful that I'd wake up the next day to the first woman president of the United States.

Then, I rolled over around 4am. The world was dark and my hope flickered. Flickered. Flickered. And went out when I reached for my phone and found out that a man who preached racism and so much hatred was suddenly in charge of my country.

I just started crying. It was raining and I knew the Gods were crying, too.

For hours, I laid in bed crying, clutching my Baymax plush to my chest and reading all the tweets I'd missed. I was crushed. Devastated. Shocked.

In my mind, this election had been a fight against evil. We were supposed to be the Charmed Ones going after The Source. We were supposed to cast our circle, call on the power and strength and the wisdom of all the generations that had come before us. We were supposed to vanquish the darkness and let love and light win the day.

Instead, I was forced to face a terrible reality that our country hadn't learned from it's mistakes and that half the population (or, at least, half the people who turned up to vote) supported a man who mocked the disabled and who vowed to erase all the progress we had made over the past eight years.

In my Twitter feed, I saw that the wonderful Marianne Williamson said she was going to broadcast live on Facebook after the election so I went searching her page. I recommend watching her video. I cried through the whole thing and chanted Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna long after she said to try and get some sleep.

Sleep didn't come easily. It still doesn't, days later.

Tuesday, I was hopeful.

Wednesday, I was crushed.

Thursday, I was in shock.

Friday, I was angry that people were already telling me to get over it.

Today, I'm ready to get to work.

We can't just get over it. We can't go numb or shrug off what happened. We can't ignore the signs. We can't accept what happened.

Honestly, I'm about to say something that could possible upset everyone. Ready? I don't think it would have mattered who won the presidential election. Yes, I wish more states had been blue. Yes, I am with her. YES, I WISH BERNIE HAD WON THE PRIMARY! But, let's face it. The fact that Trump and Pence were on the ballot at all means there's a huge problem we have to deal with.
We can't keep crying. We can't let ourselves stay numb with shock. We can't just take our rage to Twitter.

What Would Mary Margaret Do? has become my motto. My philosophy for life. If you don't know who she is, I don't know if we can be friends. Kidding. Sort of. She's a main character on Once Upon a Time and her fairytale counterpart is Snow White. She looks for the best in everyone and is so kind, generous, and so full of hope. She's my spirit animal.

That should read "I don't want to JUST be Mary Margaret anymore."

This has been a difficult week for everyone. I think we should all strive to be kind, when we can. We should offer hugs, tissues, and a shoulder to cry or lean on. The Golden Rule comes into play here...treat others how you wish to be treated.

With that said...if I was being a jerk, I'd want someone to point it out. If I said something offensive to someone, I would definitely want someone to tell me so I could apologize and make it right. If I was about to give the green light to a corporation that was going to dishonor sacred land and potentially (most likely) contaminate the drinking water of thousands of people, I'd damn sure want someone to tell me so I could rethink my stance.

Kind, but forceful.

Polite, but firm.

Mary Margaret, but Snow White.

In Once Upon a Time, Snow White is a pretty kickass character. She's a bandit, a warrior, and an amazing shot with a bow. She's a fighter for justice...and rules with an open mind and an open heart. She believes everyone should be given a second chance...or twentieth. And thank the Gods she did because Regina is one of my favorites.

Are you ready to fight? Fight for kindness? Fight with compassion?

Evil didn't win. Just because the election is over and Trump is our president elect doesn't mean the work is over. Voting is only the start. Every single day we have the opportunity to make our voices heard. Make phone calls. Go to town/city/council meetings. Hand out flyers. Stop your friends from making racist jokes. Don't just unfollow or unfriend people on Facebook when they post something you disagree with.

Ask them why they believe that. Listen. Then explain your stance. Have a real conversation.

If you're ever unsure. If you ever want to lash out aggressively. If you ever feel like giving up. It may sound silly, but it helps me. Ask yourself, what would Mary Margaret do?

And keep fighting for your cause.

We can't keep crying. We can't just wallow in self-pity and worry. Yes, we can take time for ourselves. Yes, we need to take care of ourselves and have mental health days. Yes, we need to binge watch the Librarians when the new season comes out on DVD. But, we have to stand up for what's right, for our beliefs. We can't just let ourselves be steamrolled...so many of us were so shocked by what happened. Part of me still can't believe this is where we are...that in January Trump will be my president. But, I can't let myself be shocked. So many others in the country already knew the problems, the darkness that has become a poison in our country. We have closed our eyes to the problems because they hurt to see, they hurt to know. Racism. Sexism. Hatred of minorities.

We have a problem.

Now, let's fix it.

Disclaimer: This website aims to be encouraging, supportive, and enlightening. I'll be posting yoga videos, musings from my mat, meditations, and a whole lot of politics. You might like some of it. You might hate it all. Either way, this is my sacred space and while my intention is to be kind, I also hold the right to turn trolls or just plain negative butt-heads into toads. Or goats...because, contrary to popular belief it is actually very difficult to shrink a human down to the size of a toad. Mary Margaret might be my spirit animal, but I am a witch just like Regina. This is meant to be a safe space for everyone...and even if you disagree with me, you can be polite about it. People might actually listen to you More if you're nice. 
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