The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be,
by the better angels of our nature.
~ Abraham Lincoln
I love ravens.
‘Strange Fruit’ by Eric Hynynen
We have a different meaning for strange fruit in this country, don’t we.
Saturday a friend said all her spiritual teachers say everything’s perfect as it is. What about Gandhi and Martin Luther King, I said, they didn’t see a perfect world. Do you see yourself as Gandhi, she asked. I should’ve said I don’t know, who knows.
It’s all perfect, we’re all perfect. How many contexts have I heard this. This is what I think – the only perfection in the violence, hate, fear, cruelty, abuse, inhumanity to all things human and otherwise, is it pushes us into being our better selves. Into remembering we are essentially one and the same when we come out of the womb. All wanting connection, sustenance, comfort. Love. And it shows us the extreme of the choices, forces us to grow into our choices.
As a college student in my late 30’s, I learned the word patriarchy for the first time. How it shapes societies. I remembered my frustration five years earlier working in a fine-dining restaurant where women were not allowed to wait tables at night, earn the big money. It was a domaine reserved for men. In school I listened to young women students accept date rape as part of their culture. Found no official university statement against rape. I was outraged. I spoke out, centered all my independent studies on a goal to provide a space and forum for women, a Women’s Center. They said it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t have to put my life on the line, but something huge did indeed happen for thousands of woman students that I can almost call Gandhi-like. After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I remembered I once did the impossible, wanted to do it again, change policy. What I learned is sometimes we have other work to do before we can save what we love most.
I’ve been married 29+ years. During this time I’ve managed every aspect of our lives together – finances, household, investments, travel, home creating-breaking down-moving-creating x6, all things physical-world. Four single spaced pages of roles. The work I’ve done outside always secondary to my husband’s job which brought in the bacon. It allowed me freedom to explore, delve into work I may not choose if money was the primary factor. Allowed me to develop my craft as a writer, be an author, imagine a life writing novels, traveling, doing authorly things like readings, conferences, teaching. Then the job market shifted, our income dwindled. And I got pushed out from my vision into preparing for a different, more public life as an author-entrepreneur. Creating things I never intended to create. Holding a vision for bettering others’ lives in a way I hadn’t imagined. In the process strengthening and developing myself for the hard stuff standing at my edge. Seeing myself as a person of influence. Recognizing I always have been.
We are all persons of influence. Every one of us. We start close to home, and if we think about it, trust the ripples. It takes strong feelings and impulses to see ourselves with power in a wider arena, prick us into action. Like I felt when I held that vision for the Women’s Center. But we hear about everyday people doing great things in the world all the time. I personally know people who are. It’s in all of us. I let myself see me as small. I can’t anymore. Because I feel strongly we can see differently, be touched by the better angels of our natures. And I wanna help. It’s what I can do. I’m good at it. + Anything big and snarly that’s changed, whether close to home or in the world, has come from vision and dogged persistence. Dogged, don’t let go, keep on going and going and going persistence. I’ve got that, too.
Tell me. . .how can you see something or someone differently, even for a moment? shift to the better angel of your nature?
You can start here. . .
Upon waking, notice the negative space around you.
See how many places you see the sky, besides through the windows.
Look at the shadows.
Now tell me. . .What do you see differently?
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
A favorite: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.
A secret: I try hard every day to be kind.