barbie brignoni

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What It Was Like to Protest Peacefully for Puerto Rico


Today I am stronger than I was yesterday < mentally, spiritually and physically >. After a long week of protesting in San Juan, it’s easy to come to a point where your body and soul feel tired and uneasy. I certainly have had my days where my creativity hasn’t been flowing as it normally does.


But that’s the thing. Things haven’t been normal these past few days. We have been woken up, shaken and stirred up. Looking for strength where we normally wouldn’t have and finding unity where we wouldn’t have.


We try to remain hopeful, we desperately want the governor to resign, we also secretly want and need to go back to our routine, but find it ever so difficult to do so when this situation is all we can think about. It's draining, it's frustrating, and it's exhausting.



These past few days, I have been looking for inner peace because not only has this taken a toll on me, but also my numbers (on IG) have been unbelievably low. The lowest I've ever seen them since I first started. But what can you expect, when it rains, it pours...


So because this sequence of events has caused doubt and worry in my soul, I decided that Yoga was absolutely necessary for my well being. So I woke up at 5:30 on a Sunday and headed straight to Calle Fortaleza in the Old San Juan to manifest my energy and feelings in the healthiest way possible.


The practice helped, and so much, but what really transformed me was what occurred as we gathered up in a group circle at the end of the session. Out of nowhere, came a mentally ill homeless woman who abruptly interrupted the silence with words like “God is nothing”.


I immediately started praying for her out loud, asking God to touch her heart, take away her hatred, her pain, her anger, her guilt. I asked Him to come over her with overwhelming love. To tell her that she is not alone and she is loved.



This woman suddenly fell to the ground. For a moment I thought she had fainted. I looked at my friend Danila. We were both crying. I knew she was feeling what I was feeling. The presence of God. And if words can come close to describe this feeling, it is as if huge amount of energy is coming over you, yet you feel so much peace. Your body is shaking and you can’t stop crying.



As I ended my prayer, this woman woke up, pulled herself up, and walked away quietly. I knew she walked away with God by her side. In that very moment, something changed in me as it did in all of us. God is taking over our lives and depositing love, unity, and strength. I realized that just like that woman, we Puerto Ricans are being woken up and transformed. I realized (once again) that FAITH IS STRONGER.



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