An Open Letter and Personal Account by Tonia Pinheiro, Sunday, November 9, 2008
This has been an incredibly deep experience for me . . . at the cellular level. For several days before, during and after the election I was compelled to stop doing just about everything to focus on, anchor, absorb, feel, birth our new president. There was nothing I could do except to go with the massive energy flow I was experiencing from Sunday November 2nd until late on Thursday, November 6th. Suffice it to say that this election was huge and all consuming for me energetically, emotionally and spiritually. Following is some of what I experienced . . . and for those who may not know me I embody the following blood lines: Cherokee, Seminole, African, East Indian, Irish, German, English.
On February 16, 2008 (coincidentally on the Saturday preceding the Presidents' Day holiday), I and 15 of my fellow True Story Theater actors were on our annual day long Winter Retreat. Present were men and women of various races and nationalities. One of the stories we heard and played back that afternoon came from a young black American woman who told of her deeply moving experience in Africa as she stood at one of the places where captured Africans were chained together before boarding the ships that would bring them to America as slaves. These were chains so heavy she could not lift them. Following her emotional story, a white American woman read a published article she brought entitled "Apology for Slavery" and asked that the white actors enact that apology as authentically as possible after the playback of the teller's story. (It was revealed both hours, weeks and months later by various members of the troupe that this request created both a disturbance and an opportunity for those who agreed, those who refused, and those who were confused and/or conflicted about whether to participate in the apology or not.)
I participated as one of four actors in the 'chains of slavery' story. As the playback began, I stood on the sidelines, rooted to the spot on which I stood. I was literally unable to move or enter into the improvised action. A powerful force of energy flowed through me, anchoring something profound through me that I could not identify at the time. It seemed like many minutes passed before I was released from this massive download and was freed to join the other actors. During that frozen time, angelic and divine beings, ascended masters, and ancestral representatives flooded into the room through the gateway that was me. Soon, I was set free to enter the scene but the story became much more than the teller's story. It kept shifting back and forth between one person's present day experience and the story of the people who lived that particular time line and reality. It was almost like channeling on behalf of those whose voices had been silenced and all of the actors in the playback held different parts of this energy and dual story.
When the story was finished and we were all seated again, I watched silently as one by one each person stepped onto the stage area. Each statement began with, "I apologize for . . ." or "I'm sorry for . . ." or "I apologize on behalf of those who . . ." There were about 6 spontaneous apologies that came from the heart and went something like this . . . I apologize for stealing your wisdom, your spirit, your leaders and your shamans. I apologize for denying you your ancestral lands and culture. I apologize for stealing, raping, beating, and killing your men, women and children. I apologize for separating the members of your families from each other and cutting off the knowledge of their lineages and ancestors. I apologize for those who made laws to enslave you and those who ignored the laws that freed you. I apologize for those who continue to hide the shame and guilt of the past with denial, hate and a refusal to apologize.
Upon hearing the very first apology I began to cry. I wept. I sobbed. My hands to my mouth I tried to hold back the sounds of anguish and disbelief being released. I wanted to hear and savor every word that was being said. These stifled tears were mine, my ancestors, and the tears of humanity. I felt like a faucet for the unshed and now released tears of all of those who had ever experienced slavery and oppression of any kind – both actual and internalized. They could now cry and release through me.
When all had spoken, when the apologies were complete, my voice was unleashed. My wails and sobs filled the room. I cried out loudly with gut wrenched tears of release, relief, gratitude, vindication, validation, awe and peace. My tears flowed on behalf of myself and all of those who had gone before, endured before, broken barriers before, suffered before, died before. All of my bloodlines received these apologies. All of the races on this planet - black, white, red, yellow and brown (and in millennia past green, blue and violet, too) - who had ever been subjected to domination, slavery and genocide were present and represented. They too received these apologies.
In that moment I took the floor, took space and took time without apology to declare through wails and rasping sobs that what we just did - the story and the apology - was HUGE! Bigger and more profound than any of us could ever know. We were proxies on behalf of. Each one of us in the room represented every point of view that is held on the subject of slavery. We told one woman's story and made a heartfelt apology for enslaving the Africans who were brought to this country. We did this too, perhaps unconsciously, perhaps reluctantly, perhaps unwittingly, on behalf of all living beings – the two leggeds, four leggeds, finned, winged, crawling, swimming, above and below ground and water. We did this for all who have ever been torn from their homeland by an oppressor. We did this to free all those who have continued to unconsciously perpetrate their internalized versions of oppression and slavery on themselves and project it out onto others. And we did this for all of the oppressors throughout history who have ever wanted but never got or took the chance to apologize. We were a microcosm enacting a new desired reality for the macrocosm, in the now moment.
Fast forward to the 2008 campaigns for presidential candidates. Here comes a man who quietly asserts himself and his vision for our country. This is a man who is clearly overshadowed by Divine Presence and Providence.
It is November 4, 2008. I managed to stay awake the entire night before editing some of the chants I've recorded. I managed to stay awake long enough to go and vote at 10:30 in the morning. As I got out of my car a black man who had just finished voting approached the car next to me. He looked at me for a moment and with timid inquiry said, “Obama?” And I replied, “Obama!” Oh the sub-text in that moment of revealing our forbidden secret. He said, "You look like someone who would vote for Obama". We came out to each other and were connected in those moments of brief conversation.
When I arrived home I could not bear the suspense of minute by minute reports of who was winning which states so I slept until almost 8 pm. I have had too many disappointments in life. Things promised, things inevitable, sure things that never materialized. I've seen too many public figures who represent and embody peace and cooperation gunned down. I've had too many hopes dashed, wishes dissipate, promises forgotten, dreams denied. But we have now reached a critical mass - Americans and those who live in countries all over the world – choosing, even demanding, Peace, Acceptance and Cooperation as a way of life.
As I watched Barack Hussein Obama's acceptance speech I kept crying, weeping, sobbing. I felt the presence of my deceased grandmother (my father's mother who was child of slave and slave owner) with me absorbing the experience of this first ever bi-racial U.S. president. The director at The Center at Westwoods (where I offer my work) is a white South African native. She said electing Barack Obama felt the same and had the same powerful impact as when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa.
The whole process and event of electing this man who embodies our dreams, hopes, wishes, desires was affecting me spiritually, emotionally, socially, racially, genetically, energetically, you name it. I've been crying off and on from the sheer joy, relief, hope, and the deeper significance of what his win means and what the majority of this country and the world wants our immediate and long term future to be.
We have finally reached the critical mass that says no more fear and division, no more war and hatred. We have elected a president who represents our hopes, aspirations, desire for compassion and acceptance, peace and diplomacy, and new opportunities to develop and create what is best for the planet and her people. President Barack Obama will continue to remind us YES WE CAN create the country and the world we dream about. He and his family are and will always be the defining symbol of “yes, we did.” They symbolize the highest and best that we can each be as individuals in our expressions, our choices, our relationships, and in the ways we serve others.
Where we have come from historically and where we have arrived in our consciousness and intent is now showing up in our collective choices and reality. Congratulations people, keep up the good work!
Yes, we can. Yes, we did.
I received and would like to share the following retrospective visualization on this historic and momentous event. If anyone knows who the author is please let me know so I can give proper credit.
IMAGINE (author not known)
The year is 2016. You glance at the television one morning and see President Obama having another of his many press conferences. He has now been in office for almost 8 years. It has not been perfect, but things are much better than when he took office in January of 2009.
You notice that his hair has whitened and he still has that winning smile and that take charge/positive energy that he had when he was campaigning back in 2008.
You remember how concerned you were about whether or not he would win in 2008 and you feel deeply contented that he has been safely in office for such a long time. He and Congress have done much to address global warming, healthcare, development of alternative energy sources and a variety of other important matters to the country and the planet.
You feel deep gratitude for the past eight years and how things have unfolded.
See it...Feel it...breathe it...Pass it on. Let us...remember... all of the wonderful reasons we appreciate this reality.
THE NOW CHALLENGE:
Take 30 seconds right now.
Imagine exactly what our country will feel like.
Imagine how good it will feel.
Imagine whatever it is about that future that you desire.
Imagine successful diplomacy.
Imagine peace and restored prosperity.
Imagine the citizen groups, progressive populism, social justice, and the grassroots finding their voice.
Imagine windmills and clean cars.
Imagine the Earth being healed and revitalized.
Imagine being very proud of your country and its leader.
Imagine whatever it is that draws you to support change.
Imagine what your life will look like.
Close your eyes and imagine for just 30 seconds. Do it several times a day. We can shift and change the vibration of this country with positive visions just like this.
You are welcome to share this open letter with others as long as the following contact information is included, and authorship is acknowledged in any medium.
Wake Up! Artist