This all happened spontaneously when a hundred or so police suddenly marched onto Waterloo Bridge in the sunshine on Easter Saturday. What followed was an incredibly poignant ten minutes of meditation shared in the presence of police and protestors. Many hugged, many shed a tear. At least a couple of police did too.
When I first posted a video of this event - my highlight from the two days spent at the recent London Extinction Rebellion protest - to social media, I was pleased and surprised to see it gaining thousands of views, comments and shares.
It has since become an iconic moment and has been shared frequently.
Here is a new version, slightly longer and much better quality than the Facebook upload.
My photo gallery is viewable at the bottom of this (full screen on laptop or desktop for best results)
Click image below for YouTube version of my film:
Words from Jenny Rose Smith:
"Gosh this beautiful video by Pete Lawrence completely encapsulates the energy of Waterloo Bridge at the time I was there on Saturday.
I was only there briefly, partly because I had to be back for a work conversation that had taken a lot to organise on Monday and partly because I am listening deeply to my nervous system right now and being surrounded by police set something off in me that I had to take space with in order to feel it fully if that makes sense.
On my journey down from West Wales the night before around 1 am I passed by rabbits and deer in the country Surrey lanes. In my psyche, Rabbits represent fear and Deer gentleness and it was such clear kind medicine to be gentle with the fear that rose and continues to rise up in me as things become more and more apparent here on earth.
I am so grateful to all of us for being who we are, doing what we can, turning towards and turning away when necessary, for each finding our way in every moment.
All of us are needed now, we really really are. And we are each needed to simply be the most of who we are, not in the egoic sense of bigging ourselves us, but in the true bigness of hearts and spirits - our capacity to feel our love, our grief, our capacity to act with compassion and clarity.
I feel such love and such sadness right now, and so much gratitude to how much beauty there is in this incredible world. And witnessing so much genuine energy towards unity such as this meditation surrounded by police really gives me hope....
I love all of you xxx"
From Kate Bee:
As you may have noticed from my posts, I've been completely drawn in to the events happening in London.
I'm filled with so many impressions from my day there, so many emotions. I was buzzing all the next day but aware that there was an edge to it.. The edge finally came to an emotional head when I saw the crowd before Greta spoke.
I found myself sobbing when I saw that huge crowd there at Marble Arch, not just that emotional surge of slightly teary, happy stuff..this was actual proper sobbing. I'd had the buzz of having been there the day before so I felt connected to what I could see on the screen, but I wasn't sobbing for sadness at not being there still. There was the anticipation and buzz of seeing this small, young girl coming onto the stage beside the old man Phil Kingston. But what I suddenly realised was at the root of this unexpected outpouring of emotion was the feeling of relief that this has become a mass movement, so visible, and becoming so mainstream..For so many years the environmentalists and eco warriors have been an outsider posse, slightly ridiculed by mainstream society..I didn't realise how subtly apologetic and slightly embarrassed I've felt in certain circles (there's lots of deeper nuance to unpick in that but that's crudely it). We've been an inconvenient sub-culture, I wonder how many people my age can relate to that, I don't think it's just my psychological make-up that has brought that about.
I was 16 when I started a Friends of the Earth group in my dad's study with one of our lodgers, the group carried on while I got caught up with having to do schoolwork but at that time I was aware we were such outsiders, I think it ingrained something in me which has just shifted and is being replaced with a massive feeling of relief after SO long..IT'S OK TO CARE ABOUT THE PLANET..IT'S OK TO BE SEEN TO BE CARING ABOUT THE PLANET..in fact we MUSTN'T do anything else.
Young people are amazing, it was an honour to see, it was an honour to listen to some of the young volunteers I spoke to..holding the space, offering themselves up for arrest, being locked-on for hours in the hot days and cold nights, diligently adhering to the codes of non-violence without preaching, really embodying what our political climate needs. A lot of the news I've had has been from young people who have been there all week. At the same time I could see the solid background influence of the amazing people I know who have been involved in Eco-actions for a long time, the road protesters particularly, the infrastructure comes from that rich heritage.
I wanted to write more about how I experienced my own triggers when antagonised..I'm not good, but I saw this and took myself away when needed. There's a lot to process there that hasn't landed into words yet.
I don't know how things will go.. I'm not a great political thinker..It all looks mad and I get pissed off. Other people are much more skilled in that way.
I know people are rumbling away about hierarchies and expressing fears about the XR leaders, my impression was that XR is about a set of principles rather than about having leaders.. I can only say what I experienced..and it's been truly amazing. Get involved.
From Isla McLeod
"Over the past week of Extinction Rebellion in London, I have experienced more tangible weavings of magic than I have ever felt. Real magic. That deep magic that is creating change by connecting with the energies of nature.
By aligning with Mama Earth, her creatures, the elements and committing to protect her, we are being supported by all the forces that create life, all that latent potential, wild wisdom and power.
I was called to many places to hold vigils, weave prayers, awaken songlines and one synchronicity after another kept building a momentum towards the most extraordinary gathering in Hyde Park on Sunday night. A portal was opened. The seed of revolutionary love has burst forth and there is no going back. Our species is shifting to a new level of being that integrates all that we have learnt, all we have forgotten and all we have dreamt. We are coming home.
My perception of what is possible has been blown wide open. Beyond all doubt I now know deep in my bones the truth of our human journey; our capacity to love, to transform and to harness all our potential as we come back in to alignment with nature.
As hoards of police arrived at Marble Arch last night, I witnessed and felt something truly magical spiralling in the collective field. As though the waters beneath were bubbling up through us, clearing, purifying, releasing. With a continuous chant that carried the wave of our prayers far beyond, I felt the seed of our eternal longing bare fruit.
This is a window in to that moment..."
From Simone Wilkie:
"This is so very moving, especially when you realise the context of this meditation.
I was at the end of the bridge at this time, walking with my family from Waterloos station so that they could see where I had been the past week. As we crossed the road we saw an unbelievable number of police and vehicles make their way to block the bridge from incomers and (presumably) make mass arrests and remove structures.
We stood looking on (in sadness and horror) while this beautiful meditation must have been going on.
I salute the calmness and composure of the protesters and the respect of the police.
This is what XR is all about for me and why I feel so blessed to be a part of it.
It is only with peaceful protests such as these that we will start to make the changes we need in this world."
From Lisa Jane Taylor:
"Grateful to be here during these moments of pure Love and Connection, Calm Stillness and Heart blown wide open. I weep again as I did at the time, as did lots of the police too.
This bridge was made into a beautiful garden community where food was served, children played safely, meetings about non violent communication happened, folk practiced yoga, tents were placed for people to sleep, information was shared with members of the public who crossed the bridge and a vision of a peaceful caring world was created. It's now "back to normal" with its heavy traffic flow and ugliness but it will never quite be the same again.
Huge Love and Gratitude to those who took it in the first place and held it for so long."
The implications of the week are still sinking in. I am unable to write much that isn't also contained in the eloquent words above.
But I will in time.
For now, let's be content to meditate on how we feel now after such a momentous week and the many changes that it has brought about. More work is needed and the pressure is very much on.
Watch this space...
Here is my second photo gallery :