Fighting for love.
How are you doing? Truly? It’s been a very painful few weeks for many of us and I really want to know how your body and your being is doing with all of this. I’ve been feeling all the feels. Terrified. Confused. Sad. Angry. Untethered. And, in the last 48 hours, something else has crept in ... a sense of empowerment.
Let me explain.
I’ve never been a political person. In my family politics was either something you fought over or said nothing about and, seeing myself more lover than fighter, I always opted for silence.
Silence was safe. It drew no attention to me, no one hurled barbs at me and so I stayed there for two decades, saying nothing to challenge leadership and law I felt were wrong. There was also always a small knot in my gut. A knot that quickly tightened any time I acknowledged the shame of my silence. I knew my silence was unfair. I knew that somehow, by happenstance, I was living a safer, easier life than others and though that truth was uncomfortable, I still choose quiet isolation over solidarity.
Since meeting my partner Adam (who writes on race and politics, among other things) I’ve been waking up to my complacency, to the systems (governmental, cultural and familial) and privilege that have allowed for that complacency and questioning what I am going to do about it. I’ve also been challenging my resistance to fighting and looking at my fear of being seen and attacked for my beliefs. And though I know we must fight for the equality, peace and love we want to see in the world, I’m crystal clear I do not want to fight in the old patriarchal fashion.
I do not want to dominate and force. I do not want to strong arm and terrify. And I certainly do not want to meet hate with hate.
I want to be a new kind of warrior. A warrior of love and understanding and compassion. (A Love Warrior as Glennon Melton Doyle calls it.)
I want to fight for the kindness and caring of all. I want to harness my fierceness and my power, not simply to rage at an unjust system, but to build up a new one.
Here’s what I know.
I can fight for love. I can fight for understanding. I can fight for compassion, open-heartedness and the goodness of humanity.
And when I get scared that this fight will eat me alive, exhaust me and leave me broken with little to show for it, I will remember that fighting for love while being vigilant to deeply care for myself in the process, is rejuvenating and soul-restoring.
I will remember the fear that so many Americans wake to every day and do my part to ease that pain in the face of racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and Islamophobia. The people facing these abuses don’t get to hide or walk away and neither do I. Not any more.
And then, once we commit to fighting for love, what do we DO?
We speak up.
We hold one another close.
We refuse to demonize people on the “other side”.
We feel everything.
We take exquisite care of ourselves.
We spread love. (Like my dear friend Kate who brought love notes + flowers to her local Islamic center.)
We open our social circle and converse with smart people who have different political views than us. (I’m honestly not sure how to do this one but I think it’s imperative for true healing and inclusion and will let you know what I come up with.)
We meet the gaze of people who look different than us, smile and say, “Hello.”
We remember our joy and gratitude.
And it’s in this imperative integration of political participation AND personal soul care, that we will heal ourselves, each other, our country.
My writing and coaching will continue to focus on Reconnection. Reconnecting to our bodies, our compassion, our authentic ourselves, our truth, our careers, our relationships, our empathy and now our powerful voices to be used for the benefit of all beings.
I’ll admit, I was looking to Hillary to do the work that needs doing. Now I (and we all) have to do it. I feel excited and emboldened by this. I hope you do too.
All my love,
P.S. Enjoy a very Happy Thanksgiving. May we all feel connected, loved and deeply grateful for who we are, who we love, all that we have and all that we’re creating.