Pick One

Earlier today, I posted this as my Facebook status–

We are being inundated with potential threats, with things that Must Be Stopped Immediately. This is a technique of the ruling oligarchic class to silence citizens who might otherwise have agency in a situation. I invite you to choose a couple of areas in which to actively engage and throw your weight behind efforts to right this course. Whether you choose to dismantle racism, to strive for marriage equality, to destroy patriarchy–let those be your issues, your effort. Each one of us cannot do it all. But each of us can choose one thing and engage it, energetically, socially, spiritually, magically. That way lies wholeness, and something like freedom. That way lies the appropriate uses of power. Seize them.

 

To be honest, I’ve been writing this or something similar for over a year. When we were in meetings for the One Billion Rising event last February, I became discombobbled by the number of seemingly disparate events that were poised to wreck my focus and give me nightmares.  Social media takes many of us into places we’d never ordinarily go and burns images on our brains that are not easily forgotten. For people who care about things in the world like justice and fair play, it can be grueling to simply acknowledge the level of dysfunction that sets us into fight-or-flight patterns when all we really want to do is catch up with old friends.

For myself–and only for me–I determined that I would claim three areas of passionate engagement.  Three.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care about the issues that are yours. It means that I can’t do or fix or even contemplate it all and I have to ration my outrage. So when something is one of my areas, I engage as much as I can, given my own limitations.

This technique has worked to keep me engaged and activated, with some sense that I have agency (no matter how minuscule an amount) in the world of the world. We are often triggered into a place where neither flight nor fight are possible and there we stand, burning out our adrenal system while steam pours from our ears.

The step after that, of course, is disengagement. Or depression. Or self-medication.

What is the one thing you could choose to engage with? Political corruption in your own town? Availability of potable water? Animal abuse?  When you can steel yourself to choose one thing, then you can write a letter to the editor of your local paper. You can speak out at rallies or meetings or conferences. You can become the expert on that thing and you can teach others what you know. In this way, we strengthen ourselves, our families, or communities and begin to practice real resilience.

Pick one. Expand your knowledge base. Teach yourself, then teach the people.

 

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Working Backwards

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Beltane weekend was terribly busy and fun and…well, busy.  And before that was my trip to Mississippi. But I’m going to start where I am and may try to work backwards for the last 10 days.  We’ll see if I can stay the course on that one, shall we?

Yesterday, I was part of Wordfest, which was held this year at the Chamber of Commerce bldg which is actually owned by Lenoir-Rhyne University, I think. I was presenting with Queen Mother Universe who is this poetic and visionary African-American Elder whose path I cross with delight a few times a year.  Neither of us was sure exactly what we were “supposed” to do as part of the festival, so we took turns reading from our works and talking about re-weaving community. We began by honoring our collective Ancestors and Laurey Masterton, the matron of this year’s fest, who died a couple of months ago.

More and more, I find myself talking earnestly about how we do this reweaving, how we peel away the layers of superfluity in order to reveal the community that exists underneath the surface of all that dreck that the larger culture pads onto most experiences. The Women’s Garden is an experiment in this re-building work–working good soil, planting organic plants and tending and harvesting the lot of them. We are working hard now to clear the designated gathering area so we can, in fact, begin gathering.

Sitting in that newish and fancy-ish room on the third floor of the chamber of commerce, we talked real talk, for once. Real talk. Black women and white women, young women and old women, women of different classes and temperaments. We honored our Ancestors and sat together as true family, as tribe. Perhaps that is one small beginning step in the turning over of this sad and energetic epoch.

Perhaps.