I completed Safe Zone training at CSU this week. I stayed after and talked with the Assistant Director about offering some of my Crazy Wisdom classes, either to their staff or some of their student groups. As I already mentioned the other day, I’m finishing up 37 Days of Activism, and just started Hard Conversations: An Introduction to Racism and Healing from Toxic Whiteness, all really great online courses.
I’m reading Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life by Kelsey Miller, just got done with The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae and You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson. Next will be something by Roxane Gay, either Bad Feminist or Difficult Women. She’s going to be reading in Denver in February and I’m hoping to go.
Tomorrow I’m teaching a yoga class. Our theme will be showing up as you are and being with whatever might arise, keeping your heart open, confidence in the way that Susan Piver describes it, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.” We’ll be opening our hearts, reaching and stretching, finding strength in our legs and balance in our foundation. Later, I’m going to see Moonlight at our local indie theater, the Lyric Cinema. On Monday, I’m going to the MLK march and celebration.
I started a group called the Hen House Collective. My intention was not to start a “movement” or a “revolution,” but to figure out how to help with what’s already being done, to have some company during this process, to help me filter through all the information and figure out what actions to take. There are going to end up being about 10-15 of us, and we’ll have our first official meeting the first Sunday of February. I suggested some prompts to consider before we meet:
- What issues do I care about most?
- What local issues or groups do I want to most help?
- What special skills or knowledge can I offer?
- What do I want to know more about?
- What sort of action am I most comfortable with?
The invitation letter I sent went like this: (with special thanks to my dear friend and teacher, Laurie Wagner for the inspiration)
By Mary Oliver
I have sharpened my knives, I have
Put on the heavy apron.
Maybe you think life is chicken soup, served
In blue willow-pattern bowls.
I have put on my boots and opened
The kitchen door and stepped out
Into the sunshine. I have crossed the lawn.
I have entered
The hen house.
My friend and teacher Laurie Wagner shared this Mary Oliver poem recently on her blog. In her post, Laurie said “I’ve never been political. The truth is, I’ve been sleep walking in a field of privilege my entire life. I’ve been in the comfortable bubble.”
Like Laurie, I’ve never been particularly political. I’m fundamentally a peacemaker and as such have always had trouble “choosing sides.” As an introvert and a highly sensitive person I’m also uncomfortable with confrontation and chaos. I used to joke that if two opposing groups where having a debate, I’d make everyone sandwiches or hand out cookies rather than holding a sign or taking a stand. The truth is my privilege has meant getting involved was always a choice – I could decide to show up or I could stay out of it altogether.
This is no longer the case. As Laurie said,
I also never understood how one person could make a difference. There are so many issues, where do I start? Where will my money and my time be most effective? It’s dizzying for me.
But today, with Trump and his cronies at the helm, I realize that it’s not so much the difference that I might make that matters, or whether I know the right words to get into the conversation, but instead it’s the way I want to live and show up in the world that matters more. I’ve never felt a call to action until now, and I’m not entirely sure what my contribution will look like, but Donald Trump – if he’s done anything – has woken me up, and from the looks of it, has woken you up too. This is his gift. This is the doorway, the invitation and I’m grateful in my life time to get a chance to walk through it.
I feel called, as Laurie does, to take a different approach. To be uncomfortable. To take action, without reactivity or aggression. To read more, to listen more, to educate myself. To contribute – my time, my effort, my attention, my voice, my money. To find out more about my local issues, figure out how and who I can help. To do what Theodore Roosevelt said and, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
I’m wondering if you’d like to do this with me? Keep me company, do this in community? Here’s what I’m thinking:
- Meet once a month
- Be a combination reading, writing, and action group
- Share what we know (links to articles, people to pay attention to, upcoming events, movies or TV shows to watch, etc.). There’s so much information to sift through right now, so many possible actions that I would love the help of some people willing to share the effort
- Share what we are working on
- Share what we are struggling with, confused about
- Collectively do good work, local or otherwise
- Do some creative work together
- Use social media as a tool to support our effort
- Support each other as we individually and collectively work through the best way to navigate this shift, to engage with whatever might arise, and to do so without becoming overwhelmed or burnt out
Anyone want to join me in the hen house?
In some ways, I know that no matter what I do it will never be enough. I also know that no matter what I do, there will still be suffering. I’m also realizing how important it is to take care of myself, to not get overwhelmed or burn out, to not loose my sense of humor. And I am so so grateful that as I do what I do, I have good company and help — that includes you, kind and gentle reader. ❤