America is fucking scary these days. I’m pretty sure I never imagined, once the Cold War ended, that we’d be standing on the brink of war, again, ever. Which… was silly of me. We’re primates. No “better” or worse than other primates. Fancy, but yeah. Primates. We fight over shit. We crave power, but having power corrupts our thinking and behavior. We draw imaginary territorial boundaries, and then fight over those. I wake to it in the morning, first thing. I go to bed at night fighting the anxiety it causes.

I remind myself to breathe. To relax. I put digital media aside, and remind myself also that this moment, right here, alone in this room, is not a scary moment, nor a scary place to be. I find comfort in now. I re-center myself right here, in this moment, in the quiet. It’s a practice because once I turn away from this moment, reach for a device, a connection, or respond to an email, I start wrapping myself in distress and despair once again. It’s necessary to continuously check myself; I am okay right now. That’s important, because in my okay state, I have the emotional resources to help another. So. Taking care of me, and maintaining a gentle readiness for action.

Life continues for all of us, even in the face of unexpected disruptions in routine, in order, and in the day-to-day sense of security and safety. It’s dismaying to see the clock rolled back on corruption and civil rights so suddenly – but I do see it. I’m not blind. I’m not turning away. I’m not excusing it or pretending it isn’t happening. I protest. I resist. I object. I call it out. I begin again. Like the signs on the bus say “See something? Say something.” America, I’m here for you. I don’t care what race you are, or what religion, or what lifestyle you embrace, or whether you have finally attained citizenship – we are all American.

Yesterday, I invited some of the neighbors over for coffee. Women I see and talk to regularly. Immigrants and refugees, lovely women rebuilding their lives in America. I see them as American. We sip coffee and talk about our fears. We lean on each other. We share laughter. They are from Syria, Algeria, and Libya – my own ancestry is primarily English and German – also immigrants and refugees. Every American who is not an indigenous American is an immigrant, a refugee, or descended from one. How the hell are so many of us also racists? It’s so vile. (This is why we can’t have nice things.) My neighbors and I talk together over our coffee about racism – here in America, and in the places they have come from. We talk about our fears, and the future. We talk about the way laughter in the face of our fears heals our hearts. We talk about community. I introduce them to South Park. We laugh some more. We make plans to watch South Park together again next week. 🙂

Later, in the evening, I share time well-spent with my Traveling Partner. We talk about many of the same things as with my neighbors, earlier. No surprise; good-hearted people everywhere are shocked, appalled, ashamed, angry, bewildered, and outraged. We hold each other. Share our fears. Find solace in intimacy. We talk together about the future, hopeful that there is one – neither prepared to wonder whether that’s realistic. The “Cold War vibe” is very real. He admits to his concerns. I make observations that we’ve been here before, and that there have been other presidents sick with evil, racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and hate before. The calm in my voice doesn’t do enough to camouflage my own feelings of doubt and insecurity. We support each other. It was a lovely evening, generally, and I feel grateful for his support in trying times.

Everything I do to enjoy life, and to share that joy, makes life more enjoyable all around, generally, and improves the world. Every time I drag myself from my self-crafted pit of anxiety and despair about the world, to experience this moment right here, now, for what it is, savoring my experience, cherishing it, and favoring myself with my own affection, respect and consideration, I improve not only my own experience right now, but also ensure that I have the emotional resources to carry on when times are genuinely tough. Taking care of the woman in the mirror matters, too.

Today is a good day to be and to become. It is a good day to reflect my values in my choices and my actions, and the way that I interact with the world. It is a good day to be kind, and set clear boundaries. It is a good day to be there for someone else. Today is a good day to change the world. ❤