Protest is Good for You

image credit: Anita Patterson

Written & Contributed by MamaDonna Henes

I won’t be made useless

I won’t be idle with despair

—Jewel,  from “Hands”

 

The media likes to portray peace, environmental, human and animal rights protesters as a fringe element of whining malcontents teetering on the margins of proper society. The truth is that those who step forward to speak their mind are happier and healthier folks than most.

Protesting is not complaining nor is it sending out negative messages. Pro means “for,” “in favor of.” Test means, “to speak,” as in “testify” and “testimony.” So, protest actually means, “to speak for.” Protest is a completely positive endeavor.

Albert Einstein said, “The world is dangerous not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look at it without doing anything…Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes — goodwill among men and peace on earth.”

A new study by John Drury, professor of social psychology at the University of Sussex in England, shows that it is good for you to protest. Even though protesters may be depressed about the state of the world, their physical and mental ailments improve dramatically as a result of taking part in a group effort for change and the betterment of conditions.

Involvement in social causes and participation in political demonstrations banishes sensations of isolation, discouragement and impotence and replaces them with an exhilarating awareness of connectedness, well being and empowerment.

When people participate in large-scale protests they get swept up in a communal mood of optimism that feeds their feelings of hope. They believe that their actions can help to change the course of history. “Collective action can therefore be a life-changing, uplifting and life-enhancing experience,” concludes Drury

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter

the course of history.

—Mahatma Gandhi

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* Unofficial Commissioner of Public Spirit of NYC. – The New Yorker

* For 35 years Ms. Henes has been putting city folk in touch with Mother Earth. – New York Times

* Part performance artist, part witch, part social director for planet earth. – The Village Voice

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Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. The New Yorker magazine calls her “The unofficial commissioner of public spirit of New York.” She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. She has created and officiated public ceremonies for two mayors and a governor and serves as the ritual consultant on Hollywood films. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

www.DonnaHenes.net

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