“Us and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men.
Me and you
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do”.
Lyrics to “Us and Them”, by Songwriters Roger Waters and Rick Wright
November 8, 2016.
Looking back now how would I know how that a single day would impact my life? I was so demoralized after the results of the US Presidential election, that I felt a part of myself had died that day. Everything I had fought for was in jeopardy. All of my beliefs in humanity were lost.
Then came the resistance. The strong will to fight for my beliefs of what I felt was right. Yet over the short course of a couple of months, I went from a global advocate, traveler and world citizen to a hopeless overwhelmed lost soul. I had lost my motivation to fight feeling like everything I believed in was gone.
I am ashamed to say that I became complacent. I gave up. My burning urge to resist was gone. I wasn’t alone. Many of those who had inspired me had also begun to loose steam. Even advocacy groups and non-profits felt like they were always singing the same old song. Each message in my inbox crying for help was deleted. I was just simply too overwhelmed to deal with it.
So what have I done? Nothing. I’ve been sitting on the coach, ignoring the terrible news each day and giving in to complacency.
I felt like a part of me was dying.
As in the soulful voices in this song….
I had somehow lost myself along the way. That bouncing, energetic, “carpe diem” kind of woman had been caught up in the numbness of daily life and all that was happening in the world that I could not control. I had become uncomfortably numb.
I sat doing nothing for months yet it was eating away at me. I felt so guilty. I knew I was denying a big part of who I am and what I stand for. I had promised myself years ago that I would be a fighter, a global humanitarian for global good. I would never stop using my voice to speak up and make a difference. I had traveled too much and to too many places to realize that even little old me had so much more than millions of people. I had to use this gift to make a difference.
Over this summer I began working on a new project. Myself. I began to redefine what was important to me. Slowly I began to come back to myself. I began practicing mindfulness and gratitude, doing daily meditation and working with an extraordinary life coach. Before I realized it, all the missing pieces were coming back together again like a jigsaw puzzle that was dumped on the floor.
Had I not been where I was at this moment in time, I would not have been ready to understand this message that came to me and woke me up. It took a Roger Waters concert to remind me of who I am and what I value.
Us + Them is all about humanity. We are not us or them. We are us and them. We are one. We are all human beings yet we live in such a cruel ugly world filled with so much hate, violence, war, inequity and misunderstanding.
The intense visual message combined with the powerful lyrics and music of Us +Them nearly brought me to my knees.
US +THEM is a protest concert. An extraordinary powerful movement to resist, all brought together by his amazing music, showmanship and brilliant cinematography like never ever seen live before. If I close my eyes, I can still see the powerful visuals and hear the music in my head. I left the concert feeling so insanely emotionally driven to act that I could not sleep.
There was no way I could be there at that moment receiving such an intensely powerful message and do nothing. It is time to get off the porch and do something.
I will not give up. I will not stop fighting. I will keep using my voice for the voiceless and move on. We live in a country where we have the freedom of speech and the right to speak up for our beliefs. That perhaps is one of the greatest gifts of all.
Roger Waters US + THEM 2017 North American Tour
Beautiful post, beautiful song, and if it inspired you to come out of incubation, I suspect the awakening will affect many many more. Than you – I had no idea he was doing this tour….
Oh thanks Lisa. It has really been a rough six months or so. When I traveled far away from it all I was so much happier. I can find so much peace in being outside of the US. I often wish I could live somewhere else. Yet raising kids means we are here through thick or thin. I am very inspired by the younger generations. When I go inside the doors of my sons urban middle school I am thrown into a world where kids of many colors and ethnicities are all together as one. It inspires me and gives me hope that they are working towards change. Yes I’ve awakened and there is too much at stake to not do anything. Our climate, our humanity, it all. 🙏
Demoralizing the good is the whole purpose of Trump. I understand what you felt about when Cheeto won. I felt something similar when Bernie Sanders stepped aside and let Hillary have at it. I also threw away many more of the pleas for help than ever and it took me awhile to rally after the devastating victory in November. SO glad that Roger Waters’ concert pulled you back into the fight!
Yes it has been a very hard time. It has been hard to also see our country so divided and with such vastly different ideals. But the one thing I learned and remind myself over and over again is that we can have our own ideals and beliefs. So many countries you would be killed for speaking up against the government. The power of a democracy is amazing and a gift. Freedom and our beliefs are worth fighting for! Thanks for the comment. 🌟
Steve & I have just been talking about Roger Waters and Phil Ochs and the artists who are not afraid to be political. Thanks for sharing this!
Yes, I am glad that some artists are using their powerful voice and audience to speak up for their beliefs. There were 15,000 people just at that concert and he is playing all over the world. It is good.
Excellent, Nicole! I need to go to a Roger Waters concert. I, too have become complacent and exhausted trying to keep up with the craziness. Thanks so much for this.
I needed a little kick in the butt Debbie. I realized that I just can’t stop fighting. I’ve got to do something. xoxo
I couldn’t really understand the lyrics but the visuals certainly got the message across. I think that a lot of us had to pull out of resistance actions for periods of time, practice self-care by hiding from the constant onslaught of ever-more despicable news. I made some conscious choices in terms of where I want to place my energy and let others invest in things that are not of great interest to me. The same with donations – what matters the most to ME? We can’t do everything, support every good cause, save everyone – but we can do the few things we choose consciously and engage fully, with heart and soul. So glad you are back. But don’t forget the lessons of self-care! Blessings.
Yes, self care is so utterly important. It is so easy to become overwhelmed in today’s world. We are constantly bombarded with news and much of it is very difficult to deal with. I am glad I found a way to pull myself inwards each day and mediate. Mindfulness and gratitude has brought me much needed peace. thanks for the nice comment!
You have done so much with your voice yet you’ve only just begin. I’m glad that you found strength and inspiration in this music #makeartnotwar Be kind to yourself, love yourself and the rest will follow. Hugs and love from Cambodia
Thank you Lisa. Such powerful words of wisdom. xoxo
Your post well characterizes the way many feel. Consider that changing the toxicity of our current federal government starts locally. Many places in the U.S. have local elections this November. I recommend meeting and supporting/challenging some of the local candidates. It becomes rather intimate for better or for worse. 🙀
Yes very true. Our local voice is very important and my husband and I are active in local elections even down to the school board. Thanks for the message.
Nicole, it is the most difficult of times, but please do find “hope in the dark.” Please read the small tome, “Hope in the Dark,” by Rebecca Solnit. It is a history of advocacy and hope. The resistance will win, the resistance will bring the light once again to this country. And your journey is continuing.
Thank you Sally! I will definitely read this book. I’ve heard about it and have read some excerpts. It is definitely what I could use right now.
Thank you, Nicole, for sharing your journey with such honesty and vulnerability! I love that the concert and lyrics helped nudge you to trust in your voice and yourself as a tool for great things. xo
Thanks for all you do Elena. You have helped me tremendously!
What a beautiful post. I, too, felt out of sorts and felt questioned whether what I did or didn’t do made a difference. But, after some time, I realized that I couldn’t just sit by and let things happen around me. I joined a local activism group and got involved by managing their newsletter and soon to-be website. What you have done for so many in different countries shows in the smiles of the people you have met; never forget that you have and continue to make a difference in the world. We need to keep resisting and make sure that no matter what, be true to your passions. Wishing you only more travels and adventures in the future.
Wow, wonderful! Yes getting involved at the local level is so important Tes! I too have been trying to do more locally as well as on a larger scale. I feel a lot better after I realized that even making a small difference is better than no difference at all. Thanks os much for the words of wisdom! Hope you are well.
You always inspire, Nicole, but everybody has doubts sometimes. 🙂
Oh thanks Jo!
I love Roger Waters and had no idea he was doing this tour. I must admit that I started off being quite the activist, then Yellowstone happened, where we have very limited internet, so except for students who came to classes, I was mostly out of touch. For my personal sake it was probably best to take a break as I found my stress level rising daily. When we return I know I will want to take action again. Thanks for an inspiring post Nicole.
Yes it is so important to take a break LuAnn. I went through a period of a few months where I was so overwhelmed that I just got myself too worked up. It is a difficult time.
Yes it is, and although we have very limited internet here at the LBR, many of the students who are taking classes share their frustrations about where are country is headed. We have had some lively conversations and I have learned a lot about what is happening currently in our country…none of it good. 🙁
It probably is so great to disconnect! I think it is so healthy! How much longer do you have there?
It has been less stressful than having my face in the news every day. We are here until Sept. 7th, then it’s off to Glacier to spend some time with friends hiking.
oh that sounds so wonderful LuAnn! Enjoy and will be excited to hear about Glacier!