I n t h e E n d , w e w i l l r e m e m b e r n o t t h e w o r d s
o f o u r e n e m i e s , b u t t h e s i l e n c e o f o u r f r i e n d s .
[ M a r t i n L u t h e r K i n g J r . ]
I lately I have said little, but felt much. I have been in shock and uncertain of the best path forward. As dear friend very wisely explained to me, it is one thing to imagine what it might be like to visit Spain, to plan your trip there and consider all the ways the experience might unfold, but it is another thing entirely, to actually be in Spain. And as of January 21, 2017 we are now, metaphorically speaking, in Spain. And it is much more frightening and much more extreme than we could have ever have imagined. We knew this was coming. And now it is here and I am crying as I write this. And I believe this is a mark, not of my weakness, but of my strength, because as the weight of reality sets in, the most potent medicine, the most revolutionary thing that you can do, is to first, simply feel; to grieve and to rage and to take those feelings and build a fucking fire inside yourself.
T a k e a l l t h a t y o u a r e f e e l i n g r i g h t n o w ,
a n d b u i l d a W i l d f i r e i n s i d e y o u r s e l f .
After two days of feeling out of numb and disoriented and out of sorts, I really let myself go there, into the grief, and the fear, and the despair, within the safe space of a conversation with my dear friend. I let myself acknowledge, f u l l y , what is happening in our country and then further allowed myself to consider just how bad this has the potential to get. This could get really bad. I spent all day yesterday, all day today, and most this evening, doing anything at all that I could that was not writing these words. But I knew I had to write them. For me, and for you; for the communities of which I am a part as well as those of which I am not a directly a part but with whom I am strongly allied. I knew I had to write this for my Ancestors and yours, for the generations which will come after us as well. For the Land and for the wide web of life of which we are a part. Which is not to say that my voice is any more important than yours or than anyone else's, but rather that e v e r y voice is needed right now.
S p e a k U p . T h e w o r l d n e e d s t o
h e a r w h a t y o u h a v e t o s a y .
Mid-sentence, during the paragraph above, I stopped my writing to open the door for someone who'd already come by twice tonight -- a young man from the Texas Environmental Network. You know, those well meaning folks with clipboards who probably have so much sincerity and passion in their hearts for whatever it is they are collecting money or signatures for, but who, more often than not, end up simply reading from a script that tells little of their personal connection to the issue and leaves you feeling similarly uninspired. When he came the first time -- I just couldn't. When he came the second time, I pretended not to be home, overwhelmed in knowing what our conversation would bring up for me. When he came by a third time, I opened the door and told him, rarely brusquely -- "I don't want to hear you spiel, but if you want tell me what it is that you're feeling and why you are doing this, I would love to listen and to talk with you. " Taken aback at first, then softened by the sadness so visible behind in my eyes, he started to tell me me that he had just moved here from Flint, MI -- a place where the water is so polluted that it is toxic to drink. He told me that he left his girlfriend and his dogs to come here and that it was his only his second day on the job, knocking door to door, and asking people to donate money to halt the use of toxic neonicotinoids pesticides in Texas. These are the chemicals that are causing Colony Collapse Disorder and decimating the Honeybee populations which are crucial to pollinating food crops and are, therefore, vital all life on Earth. I told him that I was an Herbalist and that the name of my business -- La Abeja Herbs -- means Honeybee in Spanish. I cried, he cried. If you are reading this, thank you Jason. For the work that you are doing, for your courageousness and generosity of heart. As I let my tears fall freely, they began to well up behind his eyes as well and we hugged and we thanked one another for being so real. I gave him a bottle of Hawthorn Tincture + told him to come on the Plant Walk I will be offering in February. These are the conversations we need to be having. With friends, with family, with strangers.
w e n e e d t o b e h a v i n g .
Today I asked my mom, a psychotherapist in private practice, what it was she that and her colleagues are doing to Resist and to show solidarity with all oppressed peoples. I was proud when I heard her answer and even more proud when she appreciated and thoughtfully considered the suggestions I gave on how to be of greater service to POC, Muslims, and the Queer + Transgender community.
d o r i g h t n o w i s r e m a i n s i l e n t .
The most dangerous thing we can do right now, is remain silent. The most harmful thing we can do right now is remain silent. We need to keep talking about what is going on, in all spheres -- politically, environmentally, in areas of social justice and racial equality, and so on. When we can approach these topics from a place of feeling and personal experience, our conversations can be so much more potent and meaningful, than when we are simply reciting the latest article we've been shocked and outraged to read. It is these conversations which give us the hope and the sense of solidarity that are needed for the work that we are engaging in now, as well as all that lies ahead.
W h a t i f w h a t T H I S i s w o r k
w e c a m e h e r e t o d o , t o g et h e r ?
Many of us have felt a sense that there is a singularly important thing which that we came here to do in this lifetime. It's been a journey that many of us could sense but not see; a fate existing just beyond the veil, but alive in a knowing that has its home in our Hearts and our Bones, and our collective Ancestral memories. Over each of our lifetimes, and perhaps especially in recent years, we've met others too, who hold this sense of purpose within them, this similar sense of shared destiny. Well, what if t h i s i s i t ? What if this is the moment we've all been preparing for, as we've cultivated our courageous hearts and as honed our practical skills in the outer world? What if what this is work we came here to do, t o g e t h e r -- to fight for the more beautiful and free and equitable world that we k n o w is possible. This is the moment to give it everything you've got. To stop playing like you're waiting for your real life to start. There is nothing left to wait for.F r e e d o m f i g h t e r s d o n ' t a l w a y s w i n ,
b u t t h e y ' r e a l w a y s r i g h t.
[ M o l l y I v i n s ]
I don't know what's going to happen, anymore than you do, and my hope is for a vital + loving revolution to spring forth from the fertile decay of so much in our culture that is long overdue for death. My prayer is for a revolution in our relationship to one another as humans, to this Earth as our one shared home and source of life, and to our shared resources, within and without. But maybe that's not what happens. There are no guarantees. What's important now, is that we show up. Again and again. That we stand together in solidarity for the rights of all peoples, for the rights our Earth, for the right to speak our Hearts and our Minds and to share knowledge and wisdom freely.
If you are despairing, then despair for a little while. Really let yourself go deep into the feeling. And then move your body. I will tell you, there is nothing in life that is not made somehow more manageable by an hour of intense exertion. It is possible to feel good and strong in your body and in yourself despite what is happening right now. In fact, it is more necessary than ever before that you do, because right now you are so needed.
When a a traumatic event occurs, or a loved one dies, you don't grieve forever, but without taking that time to allow grief to move through you, you cannot take the next steps toward ultimately healing, acting, and moving forward with your life in a way that also honors what has been lost. So join me for a moment now, and just let yourself feel it all -- the grief, the shock, the anger, the confusion, the despair, as well as the tenderness and hope and whatever else it is that wants to be lived through you in this moment. Just fucking feel it.
Often, things have to get as bad as they can possibly get, emotions and symptoms, and toxic relationships, and bad habits have to escalate to the point of intolerability before most people are ready to commit to any kind of real and lasting change. Whether it's a crisis of health, of spirit, of family or community -- a common pattern is that things get much worse before they, ultimately, improve or resolve. In the Vitalist tradition of herbalism passed down to me by my teachers, this is referred to as a Healing Crisis and is actually an indication that a significant and potentially positive shift is imminent. And to my fellow Americans, I believe that the Healing Crisis of the patriarchy, of capitalism, of racism, classism, homophobia, and misogyny, and so much more is reaching its breaking point.
Much like someone who falls suddenly and seriously ill after a lifetime of poor eating, lack of self care, and no exercise -- the privilege of continuing to go about our lives as though all is well is no longer available to anyone. But this is a gift we must choose to graciously humble ourselves to accept. When we are seriously illness, we must wake up to what our body is asking of us, or ultimately risk death. Similarly, now that our political system and the culture of oppression which perpetuates it has come so far out of balance, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to truly heal, and we're doing it, but it takes diligence, vigilance, and commitment. This is our opportunity create the change we want and need in the world. We are the ones we have been waiting for. None of us are here by accident at this time. We all have important gifts and teachings to offer, medicine to share. And the time for this is now. Get to it y'all.
And if you are not already doing so, I urge you to please take this time in particular as an opportunity to openly , fiercely, and unapologetically express and deepen your allyship with indigenous communities, people of color, LGBTQ identified folks, immigrants, women, neurodivergent persons, Muslims, and all others whose safety + continued existence are greatly threatened at this time.