History Up Close: My Experience in DC on Inauguration Day

Now that almost two weeks have passed I think I can piece together one of the most extraordinary 24 hours of my life. A day when I saw History up close. Inauguration Day.


After not sleeping well the night before and not feeling so well on Inauguration morning, I slept in. When I woke I found myself rushing to Penn Station and being lucky to find an available ticket to Washington DC on the Acella fast train. Of course I was sad to have missed the actual Inauguration ceremony but it would have taken too much out of me to arrive in the early icy morning to be part of that event. So I arrived in the aftermath of the ceremony and DC was all abuzz like I’ve never experienced a city before.

The best way to describe what happened to me was being caught in a swirling, spiralling wave of grace, hope and possibility. I started talking with people, telling them about my transformational community in the San Francisco Bay Area, my Salon community in New York City, and the Green School in inner city Brooklyn where I teach. I felt so much love and possibility from people that I get choked up just thinking about it.

Then suddenly a few people who took a liking to me started to mumble something…turns out they were discussing offering me a ticket to one of the “official” balls! Next thing I knew I was on my way to the Midwestern Ball! Turns out 6 of the balls were all nearby and connected to the same entrance and security points, so I walked right past the Western States Ball. Eventually I made my way back to the entrance and asked if I could enter since I’m originally from California (Berkeley/San Francisco). They were pretty strict about not allowing that, but I just kept smiling, talking to people and being open to the possibility. Out of that spece of possibility I was unexpectedly offered a VIP press pass ticket and I was sitting in seats overlooking the entire ball!

I’ve met some extraordinary people over the years including Al Gore, Thomas Friedman, Walter Cronkinte, Gloria Steinem, Ariana Huffington, David McCullough, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and Dr. Wayne Dyer.
But this night was so unbelievably historical and it meant so much to me to meet Speaker of the House Nanci Pelosi that night!


Because she felt safe in the VIP section and was obviously in a great mood, she was really open to talking. She asked me all about the Green School and I shared with her about the amazing transformational community I’m conneted to in California (which of course is where she is from, thus the Western States Ball!). She was so friendly that I felt comfortable asking to take photo with her.

Later in the evening the Biden’s showed up to dance, and then the moment everyone had been waiting for…Barack and Michelle came out at about midnight, said some inspiring words, and then danced for about 5 minutes. There were so many photos and videos going off that it was blinding…luckily I was in the raised VIP stands and was able to get about 4 minutes of unobstructed, close up footage. Obama is magical even when giving a speech about the economy, so imagine what it was like to see him interract in the context of a ball, music and dancing? Truly a very spiritual nature and enlightened leader, one that comes along once every hundred years or so.

As if that was not enough, after the ball was complete I happened to walk by the Burning Man Ball, was invited in since it was so late, joined them for the next 4 hours, and was invited to stay over with at the friend of a friend of folks there. The next day was spent remembering all the incredible moments and feeling blessed to have seen History “up close” on Inauguration Day.


One Response to “History Up Close: My Experience in DC on Inauguration Day”

  1. Ernest Smith Says:

    Amazing and inspiring. Now I am really glad that you went. Burning man ball!!! Hit me in the head with a two by four and call me Charlie. Why wasn’t I notified?

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