Still I Rise… with my sons

January 23, 2017 at 4:36 am Leave a comment

Contributed by Dr. Sarah

Among my favorite signs at the Chicago’s Women’s March were those referring to Maya Angelou’s timeless– and timely– poem, “Still I Rise.”

There was a poster saying “I rise” and the fitting collective variation, “Still we rise.”

screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-5-55-29-pmI marched with my two “tween” sons, my ex-husband, and my beau.

My twelve year-old dude estimates that 13% of Chicago’s population marched.  A friend in CA who is very ill with cancer “marched” in the virtual march for the disabled and ill.  We were joined by hundreds of thousands across the U.S., and across the world. Reclaiming. Together.

We walked among a sea of women old enough to be great-grandmothers, and children too young to walk. We walked among women– and many men– of different shades. We walked in a sea of pink, especially pink cat’s ears.img_0106Several days after the election, the most assaultive words that have ever been spoken to me as a woman were yelled at me– in broad daylight. I’ve had lots of crude things said to me by men, since the age of ten.  But this was vile. It was profoundly troubling. It’s part of why I wanted to bring my sons on the march yesterday.

But it wasn’t just about protecting women yesterday. Many of us are under siege.  Much is at stake.

And yes, one of my lenses is that of a mother who was moved to start this blog, and to create the terms “unlikely environmentalist” and “global weirdness,” out of a passionate need to protect the planet for my sons, for all of our children. From that vantage point, frankly there could have been more messages about caring for Mother Earth (a term I’ve actually never used ’til now).  And those of us who care deeply about protecting the natural world need to vote, as a story in Inc. suggests we do not do in sufficient numbers. That’s some of the work we have ahead.

If we don’t make sure our policies protect the natural world on which we depend, all of our efforts to protect the rights of the vulnerable will be for naught.

Still, we walked among many clever, creative and inspired signs. And signs with humor– humor we need to buoy us, individually and collectively for the work ahead.

The work ahead includes living with uncertainty– and not letting our fear and dread convert uncomfortable uncertainty into the certainty of apocalypse.

As Rebecca Solnit, the author of Hope in the Dark says, “The future is yet to be written.”

As a psychologist– another of my lenses– who teaches mindfulness to her clients, one of my favorite posters yesterday was “Be mindful. Take action.”

The mindfulness we need to steady ourselves in this tough moment in history will be the topic of my next blog post.

On the action front, in my view the most important action we can take to protect the people, the services, the natural world, and the rights we care about– whatever they may be– is to speak out to our elected officials. I will blog about that, too– but in the meantime, the more personal the contact, the more effective. Personal visits, personal calls, personal letters.

To learn insider tips on how to be an effective advocate for your cause, check out the Indivisible Guide, compiled by former legislative staffers who share their wisdom on how to make your voice heard.

Onward… With actions grounded in mindfulness. With the spontaneous humor and grace embodied by our outgoing First Lady and President.  With compassion. In community with those who do– and don’t– share our views.

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