“The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet.”
RBG died a week ago today. I’ve spent much of this past week in a panic, wondering if our democracy is going to withstand the assault it's under. Many Republican leaders are no longer trying to pretend that they aren’t hypocritical, they are outwardly showing their true colors, and it’s a bit terrifying. It’s an assault on morality. Who will be the winner in this battle? None of us. No matter how it concludes, pain will be the result for millions, and to me that cancels the win.
This election feels pivotal, like we are on a precipice, and if we fall there is no return. I fear for my rights as a woman, as a person in the LGBTQ community, as someone who is aging and looking straight ahead at the final 30 years of my life (god willing) and how I will be cared for as I age. If I stay in this fear, it will surely end me.
What I’m trying to focus on, and what seems to be the only thing that can possibly bring us all together, is the commonalities in our desired outcomes. No matter where people sit in this political paradigm, I see common threads; the need for safety, for not having our personal values ignored or belittled, respect for life, the right to live our lives in peace, to make choices for ourselves. It is how we get there where the differences lie. If I remember that, my bitterness fades and I see us all as children, just doing the best we can with what we have.
The truth is, once the dust settles, I will keep moving. Once my tuck-your-chin-down-and just-get-through-it self shakes off the shackles of fear, and the sun rises on whatever landscape is left, I will do whatever there is to do that is in front of me, because that’s all there is to do, really; be in the moment and keep going.
There are two things that are bringing me a smidgeon of peace in the face of these daunting realities. The first comes from 12 step recovery; One Day at a Time. When I look at the possibilities of what could happen over the next 20 years, because that is the timeframe we are looking at when it comes to the supreme court, I want to crawl into bed and not get out. Ever. But when I look at today, what I can do in this moment, I am comforted with the fact that what we have IS this moment, and nothing else. And who I choose to be in this moment is the ONLY power I have. I have no power to control the people around me or the outcome of their actions. We cannot guarantee any outcomes, but we can choose how we show up in the moment. Will we be our best selves or allow fear to run the show?
The second comes to the surface, like a memory long forgotten in these endless days of solitude and uncertainty. It is the knowledge that the path being forged isn’t laid. As a dear friend recently said to me, “we are building the road as we walk on it”. This is old wisdom, heard with fresh ears. Gulped down like cool water in a dry throat. It soothes me in a deeply profound way, to know that we have choices about how we move forward, and nothing is written in stone. It’s not one thing or the other, not this OR that, but this AND… We don’t live in a grey world, there are a myriad of colors, countless options and we get to choose how to participate in the world around us, even if the other guy isn’t doing it the way we would. We GET TO choose, no matter what, how we walk forward, and that is a gift.
No matter the outcome of the elections, or the supreme court appointment, we will be here, doing what we do, together. It is in the small circles we build, that overlap with each other, that the true path is built, not in the actions of a few people who make the nightly news, but in the countless little victories, the failures that evolve into successes that we have our truest power. It is the actions we take, to care for each other, however that looks for you, that our humanity flourishes.