One night I had a dream: I was with a group of people and we were organizing something — like a march or a protest. I think some of them were people I knew from my graduate program in Women’s Studies and my best friend was there. It was the type of gathering I have been part of on a few different occasions in real life, the kind of gathering that was born out of the second wave of feminism: the kitchen table in a small home full of love and the smell of herbs. In this dream, however, I felt differently about my participation in the gathering. I felt unsettled, like something needed to shift. I knew it was contrary to the flow of the meeting, but I decided to speak up.
I said, simply, “I think we need to try something different.”
I was met with a room full of eyes holding profound derision, anger, hurt — as if I had betrayed them. They looked at me like I suddenly embodied the thing they were fighting. No one acknowledged my statement and the leader abruptly adjourned the meeting. My best friend was unsure how to respond. She was torn between following the group and supporting me with the unconditional love that usually comes so easily. I can still see her eyes too. They held the pain of a child on a playground right before she runs away from a bully to save herself, knowing that she cannot overcome the bully to save her friend.
In the same way that I felt unsettled in this dream, I felt unsettled when I attended the women’s march on January 20, 2018. In fact, I almost didn’t go but I thought maybe it would help me gain information about why I didn’t feel aligned with the energy of the movement.
A few years ago I took a break from trying to save the world. I had been doing work as an advocate, an academic, and a “child protection specialist” for several years and I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I not only took a break from the day-to-day work of helping people, but I also took a break from the news. What I found during that time was myself.
There I was, deep inside, having taken a backseat to the entire world.
Having rediscovered my own power, I decided to go to the women’s march to stick a toe in the pool of saving the world. I was propelled straight back into a place of overwhelm and helplessness. The weight of the entire world was on my shoulders. I was tasked with saving women, LGBTQ+ people, and people of color, finding the missing indigenous women, making sure my community has an abortion provider, rehabilitating abusive partners, wearing the right color and the right hat, holding the right sign, and, while I’m at it, saving the earth from the damage caused by unsustainable environmental practices. No problem. I got this.
The action I took was to go home, crawl into bed, and watch Call the Midwife. If I can’t actually save the world, maybe I can watch some other people try. For some reason, there is a fire inside me that will not allow this hiding to go on forever. It seems to be my calling to find a way to encourage positive change while also thriving personally. It is my calling to share that with others. It is my calling to “try something different,” as suggested by my subconscious self — even if that means pissing off some people who would appear to be allies.
At this point, the waters are a bit murky, but I think the beginning of “try something different” looks like unconditionally loving the whole world, even the dark parts, like a really good parent loves her children even when they make bad choices. It also looks like unconditionally loving myself as a human who does not have all the answers but who tries to discover a better way one day at a time. It looks like doing what I can while preserving my whole self. It also looks like allowing myself to experience joy even if my circumstances have come to me because of privilege. If I am trying to bring joy to others, it seems to be my duty to experience some too. And so for today, instead of trying to save the world, I choose to witness it. I choose to #LovetheWorld just as it is.
Please share, ask questions, leave comments, suggest topics, and tell stories! I want to hear about your moments of magic, miracles, and synchronicity.
Dare to be immortal.
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