Archives for posts with tag: raise your voice

There are other voices than mine. There are other lived truths than the truth I live myself. There are other perspectives, other viewpoints, other angles from which to consider each very human moment. There are other tales to tell, told by other travelers. Each existing alongside all the others, their existence, itself, does nothing to diminish the truth of the others; these are narratives. Subjective experiences of being human, in all its wonder, glory, pain, and joy. I tell mine here, my way. ๐Ÿ™‚

A friend posted on Facebook recently that she is undertaking her own healing journey, walking that hard mile, processing trauma, seeking healing, and that she had started a blog. She started a group, to post to, understanding that perhaps not everyone wants to share that journey with her. I appreciate the consideration. I respect the journey; I’ve been on my own such journey for a while now. I reflected back on that moment when I decided to start a journey, and a blog, and considered how that “went down”, and the reactions I’d gotten at that time, from friends and loved ones (a fairly discouraging mix of disinterest, distance, and patronizing comments, generally, and a couple folks sincerely interested in being supportive). I asked myself, explicitly, “how do I want to ‘be there’ for my friend, and her experience, right now?”

I provided a reply I hoped would be welcoming and supportive, and accepted the request to join her group. Why would I not? Reluctance to be triggered? I grant you; it’s a risk. (People in my life spend a lot of time opening up to me about trauma, as it is. I’ve survived it so far.) People need to feel heard. They need emotionally secure relationships in which to open up about what hurts them. Me, too. Can I “be there” to support that? Of course I can. It’s on me to set and manage my boundaries, if it gets to be too much, and even that is a way of being there for a friend or loved one, setting that powerful example that it is also okay to set boundaries, and showing what that looks like, in practice. Practice. Yeah – and also, because I, too, am entirely made of human, I need practice, myself. Practice at listening deeply. Practice at maintaining perspective on past trauma. Practice understanding that we each walk our own hard mile. Practice at “being there” for others. Practice, frankly, at being the woman I most want to be – in every interaction, every moment, on every day. Words are just words. It’s the verbs that make changes come to life. It’s what we practice that matters; we become what we practice.

This morning I read the first of her posts (that I’ve read). I savored her voice. The difference in her style of communication. I read from a place of non-judgmental acceptance, and non-attachment. Her tale is not my tale, however similar some details may seem; she is having her own experience. I listen with empathy, consideration, compassion. I listen deeply. I recognize her humanity, her unique experience. I acknowledge the human experience beyond the words. I nod quietly, more than once. “I know you,” I think to myself. Still, I also allow her her moment; we are individuals, with our own experiences, our own pain. We’re in very different places on our individual journeys. That doesn’t matter as much as “being there” – being present, aware, and compassionate – because although we are each having our own experiences, we’re also “all in this together”. I sip my coffee and contemplate the journey stretching ahead of her.

Ask the questions. Do the verbs. Begin again.

I’m thinking this weekend I’ll “take a cleanse” – an emotional cleanse. A heartfelt, welcome moment to detox from the poison filling my day-to-day consciousness (because it is also filling my internet bubble, rather unavoidably, because – like so many people – I care about stuff) seems a bit overdue. I won’t care less. I’ll just set aside the news cycles, set aside Facebook (note to self; this requires actually logging out of it, and also just go ahead and temporarily uninstall it from your handheld, it’s just easier that way), log out of social media accounts, update my home pages so that I get only my blog, and a search tab. That’s step one.

Step two in any good cleanse isn’t just about what I’m not putting into my face holes, it’s also about what I am putting in my face holes. It’ll be a grand opportunity to hike, weather permitting, or read actual books, paint, bird watch, chat with friends… It’s not as if there is some shortage of activities to indulge my senses in real life. I’ll make a point of getting good rest, good nutrition, and getting plenty of exercise. I’ll exercise my brain with content that really challenges my thinking in new ways. I’ll learn. I’ll grow. I’ll heal.

It isn’t that I don’t care. I’m sure not less involved, or taking less action. It’s necessary to really care for the woman in the mirror, or I won’t hold up for the long haul, and may become, over time, progressively more reactive, less rational, more emotional, less reasoned – and there is a balance to be struck. We become what we practice.

It's a good day for practicing effective practices.

It’s a good day for practicing effective practices.

What are you doing to take care of you? What are you practicing? Today is a good day to make each choice count, and to become the person you most want to be. ๐Ÿ™‚

Frankly, the inauguration didn’t get my attention. I don’t give spoilt children, narcissists, or petulant adolescents my precious limited time on their terms. Call me a “whining liberal” if you need to do some name-calling, that’s on you, reflective of who you are and what your values are, not me or mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I spent yesterday awed by the power and beauty of millions of women nationally and worldwide marching in protest of a president whose values do not represent them, and are actually a threat to women’s well-being and civil rights. It was… amazing. Yeah. Powerful. Peaceful. Wise. I was awestruck at the clarity of our shared voices. I was and am moved, empowered, and encouraged. Before I let it carry me away, I am also quite mindful that the tear-down begins today, in the many voices that oppose women every moment of every day, for no other reason than that we are women. Yes, well, we’re each having our own experience. There are always voices in opposition to change, regardless what good the change itself serves. At least for the moment, I am content and empowered and feeling strong in the face of future attempts to diminish me. It’s a nice feeling.

We share this world, this life, with so many other creatures...

We share this world, this life, with so many other creatures…

This morning, I’ve spent much of the morning bird-watching. I’ve had many visitors to the feeders today. Ducks. Canada geese. Squirrels. Jays. Even crows have stepped right up to the patio to enjoy the generous brunch laid out for their enjoyment. There are seed bells, and sunflower seeds, and assorted whole nutmeats strewn about, and peanuts in the shell aplenty, and a couple different suet blocks hanging here and there, one full of bugs and mealworms and such. Aย lavish brunch buffet on a Sunday morning. I share it with them over wilted greens, homemade applesauce, and hard-boiled eggs still warm from cooking, and a good cup of coffee.

It took awhile for them to trust me enough...

It took awhile for them to trust me enough…

I particularly enjoy watching the squirrels this morning. They have figured out the peanuts are on top of the bistro table, in the well of the soon-to-be-disassembled holiday wreath. The jays have known for a while, and regularly stop by to grab a peanut along their way. Today the squirrels also make their way to the table top, sorting through the peanuts quickly; peanuts with intact shells are carried off and buried. When they select a peanut with a shell that is broken, they finish the job, tearing it open and eating the peanuts within, while watching me curiously through the window. The jays are particular about the peanuts, too, although I don’t know what they are selecting for. They pick up several, before choosing and flying away with their chosen morsel.

A rare visitor returns this morning.

A rare visitor returns this morning, but I didn’t get a picture as good as this one from yesterday.

Today, littler birds favor the sunflower seeds strewn on the lawn with the bits and pieces of nut meats, and the fallen bits from the seed bells and suet feeders, rather than competing with the larger birds for a place at the feeders. The Northern Flickers zoom up to the suet feeder closest to the patio, striking it with enough force to send it spinning wildly. This seems their favored method, and since I’ve seen them do it quite differently now and then, and also repeat this interesting behavior seemingly willfully, I’ve come to accept that perhaps they just enjoy a good merry-go-round? lol They are fun to watch, and rather larger than my suet feeder was specifically intended to support. They don’t seem to mind that. ๐Ÿ™‚

It's taken most of a year to get the crows to come close.

It’s taken most of a year to get the crows to come close.

Not one of these creatures has any idea what millions of human beings are doing with their time or why, aside from their daily observations of our coming and going… or so I have been taught to believe over a lifetime. I can’t say that I really know that for sure. I know that they come to my patio, accepting my generosity, and comfortable enough to linger and return regularly. I am content to be kind to my fellow creatures, whether they “understand” me or not; it’s part of who I am. When I began to understand that my fellow human beings are among “my fellow creatures” and began also extending my kindness and good nature to them, I was changed as a human being, in a wonderful way. I enjoy kindness extended to me. I appreciate it when people are compassionate. I am learning to deliver those experiences to others, by default, as a common byproduct of who I am, every day. I am transformed from the woman I was in my 20s – a fairly narrow-minded, right-leaning, callous-without-awareness, self-centered creature who was more cruel to herself even than to the world around her (and therefore thought she was treating others well, by comparison). It’s been a long, and fairly peculiar journey. I sometimes wonder if anyone who knows me – who knew me then – really knows me now at all?

A gentle phone call from my Traveling Partner reaches me as I finish my coffee. I finish the call feeling so very loved. The disturbing fun-house mirror of American politics seems very far away right now. I’m okay with that. I’m okay right now.

It’s a lovely morning. That’s enough.

It’s the day. The majority of Americans are dreading it (the actual mathematical majority of voting citizens). Today I’ll commute through throngs of Portlanders making their voices here in public spaces, and finding solidarity in outrage and anger. I’ll be focused on getting to and from work today. I’m no less outraged, no less concerned about our future, and I am also taking action. I’ve chosen different actions, for myself.

I’ll be phoning and writing to Congress. I’ve got a couple handy links:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/

https://www.senate.gov/

Postcards are inexpensive, and have the added value of making their message clear to all who handle them. In an age of tweets and texts and slogans, keeping it brief also has the advantage of being something that can be read at a glance. Short, powerful statements uncomplicated by rhetoric, written at roughly a 4th grade level will be the win on postcards. Instead of a long detailed letter seeking to persuade, giving ideas the ‘ad slogan’ treatment and getting as many into the mail as possible is the idea. I mean, I could write something long, insightful, honest, vulnerable, and real about why I personally don’t want to see the minimum retirement age for Social Security raised… I mean… holy shit, I so don’t want to still be having to work for a living when I’m fucking 70!!! Instead of 5 pages that won’t get read, I’ll go with something like “Lower the Retirement Age for the Well-being of Seniors!”, and other postcards that say “Remove the Income Cap on Social Security Withholdings; Everyone Pays, Everyone Wins”… And I’ll just keep at it. For four years. Longer.

Anyway. You have your own path to walk, your own voice to raise, your own concerns to share and to act on. Do it. There are verbs involved. Find your way. If everyone takes just one action and makes it their own, with commitment, and reliably beginning again – and again – whenever they feel beat down. Well… change is. Making change is where the power is.

My day-to-day writing isn’t about American politics, or even American life. Certainly it isn’t about our crap-tacular failure as a culture to take care of our citizens in a civilized way, or how ruinously stupid and corrupt our government appears to be becoming, so I won’t bitch about it much. It’s scary, though, isn’t it?

Today is a good day to be the change.