Take heart, Popolo of artists.

Even though at Damanhur we hold optimism as a spiritual value, so much so that it is mentioned in our Constitution, and usually I am the first one to wave the optimism flag in any given situation, in these weeks I’m finding it really hard to feel and believe that everything is going in a direction of growth, toward union and peace on earth. Looking at the political situation in the country where I was born (United States), sensing the rage and division that’s behind it, seeing that the movement for protecting the Native American sacred lands and waters of Standing Rock in North Dakota has a lot of support, but also a lot of economic interests in opposition, and victory is not yet certain, knowing that a fire has taken the lives of many young people who were at an event at the Ghost Ship, an artist space in Oakland, California in an area where I used to go when I was living a similar creative life there 10 years ago…

ghost-shipA fire that wouldn’t have started if only a small percentage of the money that goes to wars and oil went to artists and the spaces of beauty and freedom that we create with determination while the cost of rent rises, along with the risk of eviction. It all makes me wonder if there is a reason to feel hope for humanity, if what we are doing at Damanhur is making a difference or if it is all in vain.

With this turbulent cloud of grief and thoughts circling in my mind, I remember that I need to find the energy to go to another dance practice tonight, for a performance of music and dance of the indigenous peoples that we are holding in the Temples of Humankind. In overcoming the inertia, finding the strength to be with my brothers and sisters, to practice and sing and dance, to express ourselves, to laugh, to value the native cultures of the earth, to seek beauty and emotion, continuing to make art and create like we’ve been doing here in Damanhur non-stop for more than 40 years… I find an answer, a point of light and clarity:

Art is an antidote for the shadow that surrounds us and sometimes enters into us. Thanks to art, I’m still alive to write this thing today.

Art is a revolutionary act that is just as important as signing a petition, going to a peaceful protest, voting, taking things to court, changing the law and organizing social change movements.

artistsIf we make art and do what we do every day with a pure heart and consciously directed thoughts, it will change the direction of the events in our lives and all around us. It will change the future of the planet.

Take heart, Popolo of artists!

Quaglia Cocco
The Befana

ITALIANO

Forza, Popoli di artisti!

Anche se a Damanhur manteniamo l’ottimismo come valore spirituale, al punto di averlo inserito anche nella nostra Costituzione, e personalmente faccio sventolare in ogni situazione la bandiera dell’ottimismo, in queste settimane trovo davvero difficile sentire e credere che tutto ciò che accade nel mondo stia andando in una direzione di crescita, verso l’unione e la pace nel pianeta… Continue reading

election time and the illusion of separation

Many people ask me my thoughts about the result of the American presidential election.

gathering-1

There’s quite a lot to say about the need for change in the political and electoral system, going from the obsolete Electoral College to direct popular vote, introducing ranked voting with possibility for more than one candidate per party, so we vote for people who truly reflect our values, not out of fear of the alternative, or the lesser of two evils, or not voting at all to protest the inadequacy of both candidates. Well, here I share a message that I have wanted to write especially to Americans for a long time; I am taking advantage of this moment of debate and emotion to send it out into the waves.

Dear Americans with pure hearts and visions of the future,

Whatever you do, please don’t leave the country.
If you are following your dreams to Canada, Europe or New Zealand, beyond the momentary reaction, then by all means go. Though please let’s not be lured into the divide and conquer plan. I’ve been witnessing the events and media messaging of our home country from this vantage point on the other side of the planet for many years now, and perhaps the distance grants a certain perspective. It seems like so much of the highlighted news trends, even the progressive and liberal-seeming public messages, are carefully crafted to incite separation, suspicion, criticism and blame across all possible lines of race, class, gender, political and sexual identification… from police violence cases to whatever else.
They are seeds, planted, on purpose.
It all serves the forces of control that benefit from keeping everyone who believes in life and love, separate and fighting our own fights in our own corners and even turning against each other. Keeping the numbers down to manageable and manipulable and expendable fringe upsurges.
Please see beyond all the triggers and diversity of anger points and embrace our common humanity, see the light in each others’ eyes, realize that we are one and we ultimately want the same thing… life on this planet to survive and thrive and be a paradise of abundance and true fulfillment with happy children and country-life-1animals and flowers and trees and beauty, clean water and air and food and soil. Nobody wants to live in a war zone and see it all go spiraling down.
At Damanhur, early on, people came together from vastly different places on the political spectrum, some from the extreme left, others from the extreme right, and they learned how to live together side by side, love each other even, or at least see each other as sisters and brothers, see each other not as enemies but as fellow human beings nurturing the same divine spark within, allies – albeit with different perspectives and identifications – fighting for free will and choice, freedom and light for all of humanity, not just those who think and look and dress and talk and vote like me.
We can create this new world of love together, with our neighbors. Recognize the Bodhisattva nature / angelic light / divine spark in everyone you meet today.
This is our home.

Quaglia Cocco
The Befana


ITALIANO

Molte persone mi chiedono i miei pensieri sul risultato dell’elezione presidenziale negli Stati Uniti. C’è molto da dire sulla necessità di cambiamento nel sistema politico ed elettorale, andare dall’ormai obsoleto collegio elettorale al voto diretto popolare, introdurre il voto classificato con anche più di un candidato per partita, per fa sì che si esprimono voti per le persone che riflettano i propri valori e non per la paura dell’alternativa o il meno peggio o il non votare proprio come protesta contro l’inadeguatezza di entrami i candidati proposti… Comunque qui condivido un messaggio che volevo scrivere da tempo sopratutto agli Americani, ho utilizzato questo momento caldo di dibattito ed emozione per inserirlo nell’onda. Continue reading