Expanding Confidence & Consciousness

The energy of the Women’s March anniversary gathering in St. Paul yesterday was mesmerizing. One of the performing Aztec dance groups led me to a conversation that showed how much power each of us has to expand confidence in another—and inspire greater consciousness, too.
A beautiful blend of ages, backgrounds, music, interests, passion, connection, and communication filled and blessed the expansive Union Depot building housing this celebration of women. 
Held inside this year, sheltered from what would normally be a bone-chilling day (yesterday was not so cold at all though), allowed women to look one another in the eyes and really talk. Having the gathering take place in the warm indoors inspired deeper connection—without our usual heavy coats, hats, mittens, and scarves. We could really SEE one another and hear each other’s stories.
Elected women officials and those women running for office in upcoming elections all wore a pinned rose and name-tag to signify their commitment to governance and public service. I was moved to see such support for these women—both from attendees and each other. The camaraderie in the room was palpable. 
Impassioned speakers shared numbers detailing the increase in women’s leadership since the Women’s March in 2017. The crowd went wild! I think we could all see and feel the impact of this growth. 
One constant message at this Women’s March reunion was—it is not enough to simply RESIST, but to INSIST—on better lives for all people in our country. The women took their passion for change, then organized, and in many cases, became leaders. Now they have a greater voice, more influence for good. It was beautiful to talk with some of them and feel the compassion, love, joy, and dedication they have. It is long overdue.
When the Kalpuli Yaocenoxti and Kalpulli Huitzillin Aztec dancers (pictured here) moved their bodies to the bold, thick sounds of their drums, everyone felt a desire to move as well. My friend, Patti Jo, who had invited me to go with her to this gathering, said she felt the earth move a little under her feet. 
One of the dancers announced from the stage, “This dancing is not entertainment. It is a blessing from millions of generations.” She was asking us to take the dancing to heart, to honor its meaning and purpose—and not simply reduce it to “look at the pretty costumes and dancers.”
My friend and I went up to the dancer who had made the announcement from the stage, to tell her how much we appreciated her telling us to honor the dance and not see it only as entertainment. 
She smiled a big smile and thanked us profusely for saying that to her. “I thought I went too far in saying that and would never be asked back again!” 
We assured her that transparency and honest teaching are valuable ways to elevate us all. I am convinced that the dancer’s confidence rose as a result of our exchange—and the consciousness of everyone in that room who heard her proclamation, was increased too.
I left the Women’s March gathering knowing that honesty, outrage, and effective organization brought women’s status up a bit in the world—and I felt grateful for the hope that filled the room and followed us all out the door.
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