Marc Gafni stands for the evolution of love, as one of his close colleagues points out in this heartfelt testimonial from a retreat in 2016.
Wow! So I have a lot to say in a short amount of time.
And, first of all, I want to thank you and Barbara for speaking out. For, it’s been like what, six, nine months, imagine having a trauma in your family that you can’t talk to anybody about except for your family when something goes down? And for nine months we’ve been living in this crazy hell that’s not only affected Marc and Barbara, but, like he said, all of us. I’ve been working with Marc for over three years. I was the Director of Community Relations at the center. And imagine someone that you really love and you admire and that you would do anything to help support, because they light you up and they see your greatness. Maybe it’s your husband, maybe it’s your brother, your best friend.
Now all of a sudden you wake up and you see these people attacking them, and they say these horrible things about them, terrible things that are just heartbreaking. And then you start to, you know, you wake up and the next day you’re working together on these projects, and all of a sudden you don’t have a job and you don’t have income, because you’re just associated with this person. Wow, I don’t have a job now. I don’t have any money. And then the rest of the family, all of a sudden they lose all their income or you find out that someone in your family is being harassed by these people who are threatening you, bullying you to leave this organization or else you’ll lose your funding, you’ll lose your job.
And so all of us who are a part of Marc’s life have been experiencing this type of bullying and haven’t had—we’ve wanted to speak out, but it’s been such an intense experience that it’s sort of like, well, how do we speak out against this sort of big marketing machine, this sort of big Internet smear campaign, without telling and tattle tailing and playing victim? And you’re angry and you’re hurt and you’re sad and you don’t know what to do, because you can’t believe that people are saying, one, I’m under a spell, I’m under the influence of a cult leader and my mind control… I mean, I’m reading about this, as well as I’m supposedly some victim woman, I’m some weak woman who I got preyed upon by this like sex-crazy guy.
It’s like wait a minute. No one ever talked to me. I’ve been working closely with him for years. No one ever contacted anybody in our staff or asked us about Marc. No one ever contacted the people in RiseUP and asked us about the movie. It was sort of like this big story was made up about us. And all of a sudden we lost our income. In our own community some of our friends walked away. People started to question us. If any of us got on Facebook and made a simple comment, we were attacked. And so immediately what do you do? You think about what to do. You feel the pain.
You know, Marc sat up here, and you spoke beautifully, and I am, honestly, I’m just in awe of you. The first time I ever met Marc was at a wedding, and the second time I really saw him was at an event that he led with someone else who was a role model of mine. And immediately I felt like I found part of my tribe, and I wanted to play alongside Marc Gafni, because he was offering something different, a new narrative, and he was inviting me to participate in the evolution of love, which is my yes. And I’m committed to that, which is why I’m standing here, and I’m still committed to that.
And I feel like now that we’re starting to speak out in perfect timing, it’s not about defending Marc or this or that. It’s about living into the evolution of love and by saying, you know what, no, this is not acceptable. There is no way you are going to tear down what we are doing and building, absolutely not, and we’re going to take a stand for that.
And, so—I’m kind of jumping all around—when I look, this whole time that has been extremely stressful and very painful to watch the people that you love and yourself experience this type of pain, you know, again, Marc sat up here and he explained it. That’s what he does. He’s a rigorous thinker. He’s a visionary. Of course he’s going to break it down. Our tagline for our organization is: evolve the source code of culture. Yes, he’s had a lot of time to think about this and break it down. That’s what we are committed to. That’s what the think tank does. We’re thinking about this and we’re finding ways of evolving the source code. So you so brilliantly, even through the pain, have been able to eloquently explain the next steps. And thank you, Barbara, for taking a courageous stand in activism by coming out with this, because it is your work. It is your work. It’s all of our work.
And I’ve got to tell you, it’s like these last nine months, watching your friend, your teacher, your colleague, someone who inspires to be the greatest you could be, not eat for days, not sleep, lose weight, go through pain, hear these horrible things, is very painful.
And then to say, even me personally, that I’m associated with it and get all this discrimination, like all of a sudden you’re discriminated against, like, really? Really? I’m discriminated against because I’m making a choice about someone that I happen to love and I need to explain it to you? I don’t think so. Those days are over. My grandparents already did that for me, okay? Like they already did that. I don’t need to explain. I’m here to participate in the evolution of love and stand for the people that I love and stand for love. And it’s not okay what is happening. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know that we’re going to continuously show up, and we’re not going to allow anybody to tear down what we’re doing. It’s our turn. It’s our turn.
And so, you know, I think it’s heartbreaking when you find someone who has all this power but who feels so small that he has to create negativity in the world or people who hold onto anger. And, you know, believe me, I’m pissed. I’m kind of one of those people—Marc, maybe he wants to walk away—I’m ready to fight. I’m a feisty person. My family was in the civil… I’m ready to go.
And yet there’s a time for that and there’s a time to sit and really take everything in, right? And it’s like, okay, let’s trust the process, let’s tell the truth, let’s connect together, let’s have these gatherings, let’s just connect and have you make a choice for yourself, because it really is about what are you choosing? Do you get and you start to believe the hype? Remember Y2K? People believe whatever the fuck is on the Internet, just like that.
And I think that was one of the most tragic things was all of a sudden there are all of these lies and so many people believed them, even good people, people who meant well, but they just believe what they read on Facebook or because someone who had a famous name said something, but they didn’t check anything. They didn’t come to the source. They didn’t ask anybody who’s been working with Marc for 10+ years who works closely around him.
And all of a sudden it’s like alienate Marc and anyone associated with him. And then even our own close friends and family, “Well, maybe you should walk away. Get away from Marc. Get away from Marc.” Really? But, wait a minute, you’re somebody who talks about you’re here for love, you’re in activism, you’re all about opening up consciousness, but look what you’re asking me to do. You’re asking me to betray what I believe in, because you’re afraid of losing. Well, it’s not what you lose. It’s not what you miss. It’s what you gain by being in your truth and standing for it. That’s how I feel about it. And so I say, “Hell, no!” to this. There’s no more of this going on.
I feel like we’re building our superpowers. And what this has shown me is that we can stretch into our capacity to love despite the pain that we have experienced, because again and again and again what Marc has shown me is despite what you go through there’s always love inside of it. I wanted to protect everyone I loved. I was like mama bear. But Marc: we got to love our way through it. And he’s right. We’ve got to love our way through it, but with fierce love—fierce love!
Here we are at this amazing moment in time. It’s our chance. And it’s all by our choices, making healthy choices. So this isn’t about convincing. We’re not here to convince you. We’re here to just continue our work. And you’re invited to play. And, if not, that’s fine. But we’re not stopping. We’re unstoppable. And these experiences are making us unfuckable, because we are learning how to love outrageously in an outrageously painful world, and we are getting stronger, and I’m committed to that. And I stand for you, Barbara. I stand for you, Marc, Lesley, Lisa, Sam, everyone, Patricia, Nina, in this room, my family, anyone who’s saying yes. And so I send you a deep bow. And I believe in love.