This has been a whirlwind of a past week. No matter what your political bent there is a lot of energy whirling: mainstream medial, social media, policy change, executive orders, marches, it feels hard to hold your own course amidst the deluge.
I had planned on participating in the Women's March. I had discussed my reasons for participation with quite a few of my friends and family. I had outlined my reasons to people who did not understand or feel compelled to participate. Then, the inauguration happened on Friday and I was inundated with so many emotions I had not anticipated. I was able to connect with a dear old friend and we talked about how we were going to show up for each other and our communities during this new administrations tenure. Anticipating the next days march to be the galvanizing event of that participation. We discussed the essence of resistance and how effective it is but how it is hard to stand in resistance for any great length of time, that there needs to be a growth, a blossoming of energy afterwards. Thank you Ely.
On Saturday I woke up to the first sunny day in weeks. I live on the outskirts of Chicago and let me tell you Illinois winter is grey; a dull monotonous unforgiving grey that has me gulping down vitamin d supplements. I had already decided that I would take a break from social media over the weekend. That silence was compelling. Despite my plans to join my sisters and brothers marching for civil rights, I realized that I needed more silence. I did not need loud voices. I needed the sun. I did not need others anger I needed to feel my own. I went for a hike.
I grew up in the woods. When I was a child I could walk out of my front door into thousands of acres of wooded land with little human presence. Now I live in the burbs. I must get in my car to get to the woods. Cook county has some 170 square miles of forest preserves; neat little parcels of land with boundaries and paved trails weaving through them, and people. I don't usually put headphones on when I am in the woods, I like to listen to earth, but I did wear headphones and I am thankful because they insulated me from the other people walking around the frozen lake.
I meandered along the edge of the lake; it was muddy and my toes got wet. The sun reflected off the ice and melted the edge so that there was a film of water above the ice that moved in the wind. I ended up sitting on a stone wall at the waters edge for longer than I walked, feeling the warmth of the sun, and its absence when he ducked behind a cloud. I thought about why I am angry with our new administration. I thought about what it would feel like to be motivated by that anger. Looking across that lake, I realized that I want my resistance to be motivated by what I love. I want to be motivated from a place of joy and power rather than have my motivation be reactive and determined by someones ideals, someone that I do not respect or relate to.
I began thinking about how I can transform the energy of resistance into something that feels productive. Organization is the answer I came up with. Organization can take many forms, it can mean joining an already existing organization on a national level, by donating money. It can mean organizing peers to support marginalized groups in your community. It can be as simple as making a phone call to your representatives in Washington or as complicated as running for office. What your organization and action looks like is very personal, as is the energy it takes to #staydiligent.
I have recognized over the course of the past few days that the energy it takes for me to decide how to become involved in my community, to write letters to representatives in government, to listen to the voices of the marginalized, is very similar to the energy I was craving when I decided to go to the woods rather than the Women's March. It is a still energy. It comes from deep within us. It is the energy that ignites growth, it is powerful and for me it is deeply rooted in the earth. It is vital to take the time to recognize where your energy comes from and how you can sustain your energy. Because like many have said this is a marathon ya'll!
So please go forth! Be active, get involved, #staydiligent, lead with love but make sure to take the time to re-up your energy stores. Make yourself a cup of tea and sit in silence. Take a bath, read a book. Go out dancing with friends. Take walk, go to a yoga class. Cook yourself some nourishing vegetables. Be gentle with yourself so that you may be fierce in your determination to manifest change. We need you now more than ever and we are of no service if we are depleted and frazzled.