Do you see the vibrant colors of these sedums, growing in barely any soil and surrounded by solid rock?
They're gorgeous aren't they? Stunning. Especially against the backdrop of solid, hard, impenetrable rock.
I'm glad for the company of these amazing living beings as I sit here today and cry tears and more tears in response to the recent Supreme Court decision, what it means for women and their loved ones, and what it reveals about the deeply held societal and patriarchal stories that tell women and the world how they should relate to their bodies.
Give life...even when it doesn't feel right. Even if doing so physically threatens your own. Even when you've been violated by another. Even when your entire life will be upheaved. Even if no one else will support you. Give Life!
It's one of our greatest gifts as women. The capacity to hold within our beings the space where new life can arise, grow, and make its way into the world. Even if it's not a physical life we're creating. Our bodies are designed to make it possible to nourish and nurture the creation of new life.
It's a sacred gift. And one we get to decide how to use in the world. No matter what any one else tells us. We get to choose what we pour our life force energy into creating. And, we get to choose to create in contexts that mutually benefit us and those we're partnering with. Contexts where giving and receiving happen freely and openly. Contexts where boundaries and choice matter and are heard. Contexts where both parties take radical responsibility for their happiness and well-being in the world while holding sacred the other person at the very same time.
Old stories our patriarchal society also tells us include: Be the object of others' desire but don't you dare desire, you slut! And, above all, do not become too free, too powerful, too alive, and too engaged in the world. Keep yourself small and nice and pretty and happy. And if you have any of those strong emotions, please go to your room or talk to your girlfriends and sort them out because they're clearly a weakness not valid information. (Here's a free video I made on how to feel & why it matters, especially for creatives, changemakers, and sensitives.)
The only trouble with all these old stories is that so many of us have already outgrown them, stepped outside of them, changed our society in fundamental ways that, even if systems contract, we already know in our bodies and beings what greater freedom feels like. And that cannot be taken away from us.
I remember years ago when leaving an abusive relationship how surprising and dramatic my ex's efforts were to keep me with him. Dramatic clinging, in his case looked like a whole bunch of scary, violent things including me having to drive off with him hanging onto the back of the car in order to leave the house. And when our department at the university was growing into a more field-based program, the cling looked like a make Secondary great again chair who tried to undercut anyone who wasn't the old boys club and eventually had to step down before his term was up because of crushing headaches, which felt reflective of how hard he was trying to control what had already changed. And when I stepped forward and showed up more like a woman in my teaching with a male colleague at the university, the cling looked like my colleague losing his temper all over me, telling me how terrible my teaching was because I'd had students sit in a circle and he didn't know what to do with himself. Then, of course, I have my very own forms of dramatic clinging when I don't want to let go as everything around me changes. Probably the best example is a rock climb where I couldn't get over an obstacle and knew I was going to need to let go, but, instead, stood there sweaty-palmed, forearms pumping out, and calf shaking wildly because I couldn't bear the thought of having to fall a few feet before the rope caught me.
I don't know what to do next or where we go from here. But a friend reminded me today of what I needed to hear in this moment. She reminded me that when people are in shock after a crisis or natural disaster in community that they need ways to move the emotion inside by doing things like picking up rubble after an earthquake or beginning to rebuild. If they sit around and wait for FEMA funds to arrive, fighting breaks out. But if they join with others, taking one small step after another to deal with what's right in front of them and immediate, the energy moves.
Today, writing to you was my way of moving the tears, moving the anger, and moving the thought train in my head that wanted nothing more than to spin on what in the world this decision will mean for so many I know and love and so many I don't.
But no matter what it means, this much I know. My creative clarity and power has only grown stronger amidst the dramatic clinging I've faced in the past. These last gasp, dying breaths of power dynamics as they once were no longer hold sway in the way they once did inside of me. I know a new way now. I've lived it. Experienced it with other women. Tasted the joy of freedom I'm just beginning to call a friend instead of fearing as foe. And that cannot be taken away.
Sending love to each of you no matter who you are or what your political beliefs. And please know I will be breathing, feeling my feet on the ground, allowing myself to feel the emotion that's here, and standing with each of you as we move forward in the ways we need to and know to. For women everywhere and their freedom. Because, you see, stepping into our freedom does change the world.