“Without inner change, there can be no outer change, without outer change, no change matters,” –Reverend angel Kyodo williams
As I hold the last month and the last day in my head and heart I acknowledge both the victories and tragedies. The first Native American women elected to Congress and attacks on trans rights, the first Muslim women elected to Congress and the terrorism at a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a grocery store in Louisville, the first Black woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts and the increasing militarization to prevent refugees and migrants from coming onto this stolen land and police will get de-escalation training in WA and there will not be a carbon tax added to protect the environment.
As I feel pulls between rage, horror, despair, overwhelm and moments of possibility I also feel a loss for words. When I feel this loss I turn to others who teach and challenge me. Here are some words that have inspired me to show up, take action and allow myself to feel and be with the fullness of my experience as well as others.
Here are words from Lama Rod:
“Here is what my prayer sounds like right now: I evoke all those beings and sources of refuge who have ever loved me to come sit with me because it is now that I feel most alone. I evoke the Blessed Mother, the Sacred Father, Spirits of Light, the essence of wisdom, my teachers and elders, the communities who have always caught me when I have fallen, the ancestors who have never stopped holding me, the sacred earth who helps me to stand, silence which wraps me in the space to be with my heart, and I call upon my own innate compassion. To all those I have evoked, I offer my grief and what seems like my perpetual mourning in this body. I offer my fear, my numbness, and I offer my inability to dream beyond my shutting down. Most of all, I offer my fatigue. I am tired. Today precious earth let me lie upon you and remind me of my body and my heart. I want many things but I need only one thing now- to give up what I cannot hold to you. I pray that I evolve past my belief that my pain is mine alone to carry. To my sources of refuge whom have been evoked, you have taught me over and over again that this is not the truth. You have taught me over and over again that it is not my pain, but our pain. You remind me that my worship of isolation is not conducive to my liberation. I want to be free and so I offer what I struggle to hold to you right now knowing that you are only here to share this heaviness with and to love me. I am afraid of the world. I am afraid of people. I am afraid of what I must do to survive in the world. Even these fears, I offer to my sources of refuge. Today my precious sources of refuge, in your love, offer me rest. In your love, never abandon me. In your love, haunt all others who feel lonely and tired. Please continue to haunt me in this life, in death, and into all my lives to come until one day I become a source of refuge for other beings. Yet it is also my prayer to become a source of refuge for beings right now in this life. Please continue to take care of me so I may take care of others. May I and all others in this realm and beyond be blessed forever. These are my prayers right now.
And from Nikkita Oliver:
Yes, vote, if you can.
get involved in your community;
show up to city council meetings;
be involved in local schools;
support home schools and alternative educational opportunities for children and youth not served by mainstream schools;
share food and resources with your neighbors;
be willing to protect your neighbors from ICE;
intervene when you see racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, xenophobic stuff happening;
spend your money at small businesses, Black owned businesses, Native owned businesses, POC businesses;
pay rent to the Duwamish (or whomever the Native nations are where you live; especially if you are the descendent of settlor colonials);
have knowledge of gentrification, how it works, and when you can push back;
if you work for a company that is doing harm to communities, speak up, challenge practices, protest at work, whistleblow, quit if you have to;
support rank and file led unions;
make art about the world we want to see;
know your neighbors;
donate to healthy community based alternatives to prisons, courts, and police;
talk to people on the street… etc.
Voting is important mitigation, but I know firsthand how hard it is to run for office. I know that my ballot had a lot of unopposed judges and it isn’t because there aren’t qualified people. It is because running for office is hard and costly. It is because even if you win the seat the system is still white supremacist, capitalist, and patriarchal.
So yes, vote, if you can.
But don’t let that be all that you do.
Revolution and transformation requires more than your vote. To be honest, voting is just mitigation until we bring the revolution and transformational change we most need.
And if you don’t want to vote because you don’t feel like it does anything or you’ve been hurt by the system or you’re tired of trying or you’re tired of not having anyone to vote for… I understand. However, do something. I gave you a list. DO SOMETHING. This isn’t just about you. It is about US.”
The inner changes I commit to are my daily meditation practice and writing. The outer changes I commit to beyond voting are cop watching and joining the Seattle People’s Party. What are the inner changes you are committed to? What outer changes?
Let’s inspire each other. We can’t do it alone.