PART TWO: Homecoming – Living At A Deeper Octave (5 of 5)

It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have. – Cheryl Strayed

My asking the question, “How did we get so terribly lost?” after all the inner unfolding I had done could lead someone to erroneously conclude that a story that started with despair ended in much the same place. It didn’t. Not by a long shot. Continue reading “PART TWO: Homecoming – Living At A Deeper Octave (5 of 5)”

PART TWO: Strength – The Essence of Anger (3 of 5)

She’s mad but she’s magic. There is no lie in her fire. – Charles Bukowski

On January 21st, 2017 between 3-5 million American women walked out their front door and onto the streets for the largest single-day protest the country had ever seen. One day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Women’s March proved a preamble to the foment of the unprecedented impact of the #MeToo movement that followed. There was more than enough evidence that a groundswell of American women were done with being “nice” and had simply had enough. Books released in 2018, like Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad, or Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her, brought laser focus to this reality, exploring the history of accomplishments attributable to women’s ferocity in taking action around circumstances that were simply no longer acceptable. In the days after the women’s march a conversation was mounting about women taking off in our country, reflecting, perhaps, the Dalai Lama’s prophecy that “the world will be saved by Western women.”

This broad display of angry, defiant women is progress, no doubt. The record level women and minorities elected during the mid-terms reflected this. It was something feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of The Yellow Wallaper, written in 1892, could hardly have imagined during that early period of first wave feminism. Gilman’s character had found a kind of liberation through a ‘crazy’-madness where she began to challenge the status quo around her, but herein was a different kind of mad: angry mad, publicly angry mad, mad by the millions!

However, just as statistics about a rise in anxiety during the Trump presidency don’t tell the personal story of people’s experience of that anxiety, how it has changed them for better or worse, nor do statistics about the number of women (and their allies) who took to the streets tell the story of how women across America have experienced their anger, fed-up-ness and outrage. How it has over the last several years perhaps deepened their cynicism or, potentially, spawned a new level of empowerment and vision. This is the inside story. Continue reading “PART TWO: Strength – The Essence of Anger (3 of 5)”

Mother Love: Raising Children in the New “Church” of Nature

My son was recently assigned “This Land is Your Land” by his piano teacher. Driving home from the lesson with his brother, we sang the chorus together in the car. I delightfully twanged out my best attempt at Guthrie’s classic, 1950s, American-folk voice. “This land is your land, this land is my land, from the Redwood Forests to the New York Islands…” It’s great, isn’t it? Like all the best folks songs, it hijacks your heart making it hard to stop once you’ve started.

But I did stop. I caught myself in a moment of discomfort. What does this mean, my land, your land…made for you and me? I felt a twinge of dis-ease imagining my boys with the belief that the land across America was made for them? Continue reading “Mother Love: Raising Children in the New “Church” of Nature”

Dragon Queen Woman

There are those who will tell you to doubt yourself
and you will heed them
because you love them
(or because your life began depending on them?)
and take in their guidance to your core.

You will turn all you know to be true upside down
and you will live —  inside out —half-mad
a frail misunderstanding of yourself.

They will tell you God is not real,
or that God is something you know not
or that their God in the sky is it and nothing more.
They will tell you that the sun is not magnificent
for rising in the east each morning
and that the earth is simply there for the taking.
Continue reading “Dragon Queen Woman”

Diamonds from Dynamite

God doesn’t give us ANYTHING by mistake
not fear, not fury, not hate.

Those who say hatred is “evil”
are negating
with their own hatred
this holy truth:
That it is one of the shapes taken
-among many-
in being human.

A sea of black jewels masquerading as sharp, cutting weapons,
we are universal in hatred, as hatred, itself, is universal,
…but only if we open the door to the vault.

Hatred takes form when all else fails,
the frontier of last resort,
where anger and will are throttled,
when we are crushed by
the forces of misunderstanding
between
us.

In one cataclysmic blow
*the source of light compresses*
a black hole is forged hiding in a small, black vault inside us.

To find God,
In other words,
look in unlikely places.
Continue reading “Diamonds from Dynamite”

Calibrating the Civic Heart

Time to start taking our lessons from those who’ve been there and done that for decades.

Movements are about more than moments; they are about thoughtful networks of dissent built over time.

These words shared in the New York Times, by Blair Kelley, a professor of Civil Rights History echo sentiments I shared in an article I wrote in the fateful weeks after Trump’s election.

To say it has been hard to hold the vision for justice in America through Trump’s steady, aggressive onslaught against it — the defining signature of his presidency — is, let’s just agree, an understatement. But understanding the long arc of commitment in the civil rights movement does give me faith. Continue reading “Calibrating the Civic Heart”