The Troubled Relationship Between Time and Art

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Back in college, my friends and I invented a day of the week known as Twunesday.   Twunesday fell between Tuesday and Wednesday, and all events that didn’t fit within the constraints of our seven-day week were scheduled on this day.  When will I write that paper?  On Twunesday!  How about taking a nap?  Twunesday is an excellent day for naps!

Nowadays I find myself filling up my Twunesday schedule with all the artistic endeavors only doable on days when I have a clear schedule, void of responsibilities.  I daydream about a clean, cleared-off desk with an artsy looking planter full of succulents, a steaming coffee cup, and a little framed motivational quote about the sun and new ideas, or some other baloney.  This desk does not exist is my house, most of my writing is done at the dining room table with a cat laying half off my keyboard, usually cutting off the use of everything from caps lock to the space bar.  A pile of papers containing theatre mailers, tax documents, and notepads with my husband’s play notes are held down by a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, of which I have read half.

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Wisdom for this Year’s February Thaw

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When I walked into school this morning, a flying-v of geese headed north overhead, presumably returning early from the winter.  “February Thaw,” as one of my friends recently told me this strange stretch of weather is called, is confusing to me.  Everything since November has felt like a reason to worry, this unseasonably warm weather included.  And yet I can’t help but feel that we have desperately needed a little relief from the elements recently.  I haven’t been able to craft a blog post in my head, but I did want to write for the sake of writing.  I miss it, and I’ve become so busy this month that my writing brain keeps getting pushed to the back of the shelf.

So first I just want to send out a general cheer of gratitude to everyone in my community, both online and in real life.  I’ve watched actor friends set their art aside (or redirect its purpose) to stand up for human rights or protect the parts of the earth they are inspired to fight for.  I will look back on this time as both terrifying and humbling.  I always knew the people I am graced to know in some way or another are genuine, hardworking people.  But these past few months have left me speechless.  The women’s bathroom at my job is covered in motivational quotes and instructions on how and where to march and protest.  My Facebook feed is packed with persistent protesters, people suddenly running for local office, and those simply standing up day after day, even though so often they’re told it isn’t worth standing.  And so, I tip my hat to you this morning.

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“You’re Not Good, You’re Not Bad, You’re Just Nice”

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Right after the election, a meme was making the rounds, predicting that Hillary would come out on stage before the inauguration to sing “Last Midnight,” from Into the Woods.  If you’re unfamiliar with the musical, this may have looked like a jab to Hillary’s character, since after all, the song is sung by the witch.  In the song, the witch denounces the actions of everyone on stage, dooming them all, before disappearing in a puff of smoke and returning to her “uglier,” previously cursed self.  But if you do know the show well, you know that the witch is one of the strongest, most complex and powerful characters of the show.

I happen to know the show backwards and forwards because of the lucky fact that I was an introverted musical theatre child of the 90s and staged an imaginary production of this show in my living room.  Nowadays, whenever I see theatre festival notices that state, “If chosen, play must be fully produced prior to the festival,” I think about how I’ll always have the production of Into the Woods in my back pocket, the audience just won’t be able to see my cast of imaginary actors.

Anyway, to put it in a nutshell, Into the Woods sets a bunch of familiar fairy tale characters in one town, all in pursuit of their personal dream.  The Witch is one of the story’s common threads.  She has a rough past–a history of cursing the baker’s family into sterility (after being robbed by them), and oh yes, trapping her daughter in a tower.  But as the play progresses, we hear each character’s side of the story and watch them either grow into empathetic people, fall into a life of crime, or a combination of both. And as an audience, you start to question: who is justified in their quest?

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An Acting Lesson for Troubling Times

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When I was twelve, I played Anne Frank in a local theatre production up in the mountains of North Jersey.  It was in one of those performance spaces that makes you miss the community theatre scene–a sturdy, 19th-century chapel in the center of town, with original wooden pews, a lady bug infestation, and the smell of books and old coffee.

The timing of this show was a major comfort for me and my family, it was just over two years since we had moved from Plainfield, a town that had become so dangerous that we purposely “disappeared” with as little a trace as possible.  These were the days before the internet, and so all you needed to do was select being “unlisted” in the White Pages, and bam, you were off the grid.  Studying Anne brought such solace to me in a time when I felt that I had also up and left my friends without a mailing address.  The door simply closed on that old life.  Unlike Anne though, I started a new one.  I was welcomed by a chance to play in the woods, to ride my bike until the sun went down, to meet new friends, and through that, work with new theatre companies.

I had a pretty lucky theatre ‘career’ as a kid, I probably worked more then than I have as an adult so far.  But up until that point, I hadn’t dealt with a role with such a massive line-load as Anne.  I also spend 99% of the show on stage, only stepping behind a flat to change during the second act; and of course, I did not come in the final scene, when Otto Frank returns without his family.

But my primary focus was on my lines, of the logistics of staying on stage that long, of the ins and outs of imitating and embodying a historical figure I had already looked up to for years.  You can learn a lot about someone’s energy and enthusiasm for life through their writing voice, and perhaps this is why we’re all so drawn to this girl.  I studied the way she viewed the crumbling world around her, how she always maintained empathy and a belief in others’ goodness, even when she got angry and frustrated and panicked.  I connected with the fact that she had terrifying nightmares that woke her up mid-scream (at least this is how its depicted in the show).  I grew up with nightmares, and still either sleep walk or wake up gasping for breath from time to time.  But most of all, I remember obsessively retraining myself on how to hold my pen–sometimes the two front fingers connected to the pencil, my thumb on the other side, and sometimes the pencil between the fore and middle finger, something that took a good deal of practice.  I still catch myself doing these from time to time.

Like this.

Like this.

And so I learned to sit like her, to speak in a rhythm I believed she would have used, and to sink into the small world of the annex; as in real life, I played with the ladybugs and stared out the church window at a similar chestnut tree she describes in her diary.  In the end, as with all roles, I am still me, and so we slowly became one, walking and talking in tandem.  In the early days of living in a new town, she was a friend.

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The Positivity Paradox

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After the election, I did myself a bit of a disservice by unfollowing or un-friending Facebook friends with opposing views.  I knew the dangers of doing this, and I agreed with the idea that “sterilizing” your news feed is perpetuating some of the issues that we currently face.  But on November 9th, I was out of patience and the strength to pass by these posts without feeling the need to contradict my friends’ and family members’ false information or often-hurtful views.   Time has passed, and as we all hoped, the focus has shifted toward action opposed to shock alone. Because of this, I’ve gone back through my “unfollow” list and stepped a bit outside my protective bubble.

And not to my surprise, there does seem to be a separate group emerging, both from people I am close with and people I haven’t spoke to since high school.  Some seem to feel a tragedy did occur on November 8th, but that we must act as if the tragedy has passed and accept the world as it is.  This comes in many forms, many of which sprung from last week’s inspiring march.

It comes in the form of questioning intentions: But do they really care?  These people will just sit back and stop caring after they snag their great Facebook photo.

It comes in the form of their diminishing impact:  This won’t do anything, he’s not going to listen to you.

And most disturbingly to me, it comes in the form of blindness:  I don’t understand what everyone is so upset about, why can’t we all just give this him chance?  —This paired with an unwillingness to hear the answer.

These reactions all come from a place of self-protection.  We naturally protect ourselves from the idea that something is wrong, that we might not be doing quite enough, that we are weak.  No matter the intentions, everyone at that march (and those who wished to go to the march), admitted that something was wrong and something must be done.  Wherever they are on their journey toward active citizenship, this was a literal step away from complacency.  And those who try to put it down, are in a different predicament:

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Do Not Let Me Entertain You

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This is in response to today’s Daily Post, entitled “Invitation.”

If you go to the theatre, turn on a movie, stand in front of a work of art, switch on the radio–do not let me entertain you.  If you do, you are being tricked, you are missing the point, you are closing off a part of you due to fear, misunderstanding, the anxiety of truly looking at yourself.  Each piece of art–from the loud, frivolous musical to the subtle, abstract painting–evokes something in you that wasn’t there before, it creates.  It creates joy, nostalgia, anger, confusion, wonder, and perhaps even inspiration to change.  And whether the art pleases or angers you, it makes no difference.  What matters is that you went from feeling nothing–from moving along in a neutral day, from following the rhythm of the world, to distracting yourself by your own inner world—to stopping, to looking at the mirror that art provides for one moment, and challenging yourself to listen, to look.

With all the confusing anger around Meryl Streep’s speech and Hamilton providing a “safe space” and other misrepresentations of my field, I see the opportunity not to quiet these incorrect views of art, but to challenge them.  If these people, the ones who believe that art and artists are literally only meant to delight them, to make them feel more comfortable in their already comfortable states, well then I say, great!  I dare to you come to something truly challenging and try to leave simply, “entertained.”  I dare you to listen to an artist’s “unwelcome” opinion and walk around with it for one day before responding.

I keep reading,  “We go to see theatre for an escape, do your job.” But I ask you, if you only see art as an escape, what are you escaping?  Even asking yourself that question means that art has proved your thesis as incorrect.

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You Are My Starfish–A Camino Story

Photo via Unsplash

Photo via Unsplash

Despite the past several days throwing us some curve balls (I fell down the steps this morning–no broken bones but some pretty impressive cuts and bruises), I woke up feeling generally okay. Sure, the heat in our apartment still doesn’t work because our boiler almost blew us up last week. And sure, every day, the news reminds us that the country is crumbling.  And yet, as I tried to express in last week’s post, good things are still happening.  Maybe that’s why I can handle wiping out on my back steps, spitting toothpaste all over the room and nearly breaking my elbow.  I can take that.  Because on the bright side, I still don’t have to live through another November 8th, 2016.

After that terrible week, I felt paralyzed.  I felt that no matter what I did, nothing could fight this national disaster.  But as the days passed, and our clouds of fear slowly parted, many of us started finding very small, very subtle ways of trying to improve the days of those around us.  A coworker approached me about a Secret Santa for local low-income seniors, another friend arranged us to volunteer at a homeless shelter.  While I was there, I bumped into another friend, totally unrelated to the first arrangement, who had come just to volunteer with her husband.  Because she knew she had to do something.  Because of these, and some other random opportunities for acts of kindness, this was one of the most fulfilling holiday seasons I’ve ever experienced.

The country has seen this too.  A record-breaking donation season, a huge increase of women running for local offices, people stepping up to defend strangers, just to name a few.

But I’m not here to pat myself on the back.  I’m actually here to talk about a Camino story (surprise!).

The Camino of Animals

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Ben and I were chatting about this phenomenon last night–people’s call to action after the election.  It’s easy to feel that small acts are too insubstantial when the headlines tell you that no matter what you do, an unstoppable sentiment of hate and intolerance has been reawakened in our country.  It’s hard to feel that leaving a larger tip on someone’s bill, or going out of your way to say something friendly to a stranger really matters at all.  Why donate one place, when there are so many groups that need our attention?

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Tell Your Story. I Will Listen.

I started writing publicly about seven years ago.  And occasionally, there are dry spells that keep me from blogging.  I’m too busy, too distracted, or sometimes simply uninspired.  I whine and procrastinate, and come back to blogging eventually, toting apologies and resolutions.  However, this hiatus, the dry spell that was sparked by the election, has been more painful than anything I’ve experienced so far.  It wasn’t my determination or creativity that was questioned, but rather, my purpose–this blog’s purpose.

Up until yesterday afternoon, I honestly felt that creating anything new or trying to reach out to an audience was pointless.  I began this blog discussing how to stay creatively healthy in a field that often offers little to no financial stability.  It has evolved into a place to discuss Buddhism, personal stories, and even my experience with health problems.  And yet on the morning of November 9th, all I could think was, “Who cares?”  Why focus on building ourselves as empathetic, motivated beings, when the country is filled with such anger and chosen ignorance?

And then my house almost blew up…

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It’s Been 10 Days

Just a heads up that this is not going to be a normal post.  I honestly just need to rant, and writing privately for myself is not doing it for me right now.  I have woken up every day since the 8th angry and deeply, deeply worried.  Even hearing people managing to go on with their days sends me into a personal fury, and I am still at a loss of how to move on without rage.

I’ve heard the whole, “This is how the other side felt when Obama won.”  Well, here’s the thing about that.  My fear is based in the idea that people (including myself) will lose their rights.  Fear of Obama was based in racism.  Even if people were unaware of this deep-seated bias, all their vocalized fears can be traced back to the fact that a portion of the country does not trust a non-white man to make intelligent and caring decisions.

I’m currently struggling with the difference between intent and impact.  I have always been a blind believer that intent is by far the most important thing, and that we must find a way to have ultimate compassion for those who act with the intention of genuinely doing good for themselves and those around them.  But the past ten days have truly made me realize that choosing not to recognize our impact hurts others, and for this, I am losing patience.  As someone who has studied Buddhism inside my bubble of suburban peace, I am lost on how to build the discipline to have empathy for those who could threaten the lives of literally millions of people around the world.

As usual though, my Buddhist studies are helping me work through the pile of garbage that has been the past two weeks.  First off, let’s talk about:

Ignorance and fixation on strength.  One of our largest challenges as human beings is seeing the world without lenses and biases.  It has become our nature in the Western world to believe there are only two sides of things, right and wrong, good and evil, democratic and republican.  We often ignore balance and, strangely enough, see the idea of balance as weak.  And heaven forbid if anyone calls us weak!  It’s like we’re a country of Biffs from Back to the Future, waiting for someone to call us yellow so we can unleash our wrath of Facebook vitriol to prove them wrong and show the world how strong we are.

We’ve only just passed Mental Health Awareness week, and already we are judging ways that people are choosing to cope with this legitimately frightening occurrence.  As someone who has spent large amounts of energy and many years managing my anxiety, I recognize projection.  When someone online calls another person weak or whiny, it’s because they are not at peace with their own confidence and mental wellness.

Anyway, lenses.  I have them, you have them, the Dalai Lama has them.  If we didn’t, we’d all be perfect, enlightened beings and wouldn’t need to be on earth anymore.  These lenses fog up and misdirect ideas and information around us.  The issue has become so extreme that false news stories are actually shifting the results of world-altering decisions.  Our job in the coming months is to remove these lenses, and to challenge others to remove theirs.  We should not give others our lenses, but instead, actively seek out the truth–actively seek out what we would still see if we were wearing neither side’s biases.

Obsession with Winning.  We have been taught, through our myths and fairy tales, through our religions, through our schools, through our superhero movies, that good wins and evil loses.  The whole week, all I’ve seen is “You’ve lost, get over it.” It comes from this mindset that the world through their biased lens has prevailed, and that peace and certainty will be restored to their unstable lives.  “Before” was bad, and “now” is good.  They chose their hero, ignored any words against his qualifications to be a hero, and fought for his victory.  Now that they believe they have “won,” they are confused by those around them looking outside of winning and losing.  They think we’re upset about losing a race, they think we wanted the trophy.  No, we don’t want the trophy, we want everyone to have the freedom to safely live their damn lives.  We want everyone to feel supported by our country’s system and to feel equal to someone they pass in the street.  Because, guess what?  We are equal, we just aren’t treated as so.  It’s not about winning, it’s simply about living and having the option to work and thrive.

Levels of Awareness.  When you’re driving in your car and someone cuts you off, what’s your first response?  I flail my arms and usually scream something like, “What is wrong with you?”  I see others do it all over town.  I am, quite literally, seeing the world in my small bubble of awareness.  I am protected there.  I then get to work and talk to my coworkers, talk to my husband online, and occasionally hear from my family and college friends through email or on the phone.  This is my medium bubble of awareness, and I want to protect this bubble.  Both Bubble One and Bubble Two feels within my control.  For some people, this is where their world ends.  They only have these two sections, and seeing outside of this world feels daunting and confusing.

Then there’s Bubble Three: everyone else, both in time and space.  People from America both now and 100 years ago, people from Australia, from Pakistan, etc. You get the idea:  not you and not your personal circle.  This circle most likely will not come to you, you have to go there yourself.  For me, I read constantly, if I’m busy, there are audiobooks.  I listen to podcasts, I read blogs, I read articles across political lines, across country lines.  I don’t get locked into one job for too many years at a time.  I work in theatre–a job that constantly pushes you outside both small levels of awareness.  I study religions other than the one I was raised on.  And hey!  I am not wealthy.  I am also not an Ivy-League educated person.  I do have extreme, extreme privilege, however, and I recognize that.  I am also still incredibly ignorant to so many things.  But, these are my weapons against staying safe inside my small levels of protected awareness.

When the bubble breaks.  I always felt a little different from my childhood friends because I was forced to see the outside world when I was very young.  It was obvious to me the moment my house was broke into that my small level of awareness was not all that existed.  Illness can also be something that breaks this myth.  On the other side of the spectrum, really amazing surprises like winning the lottery or getting hired for an incredible job can break this bubble as well.  They are all reminders that you are part of a larger world.  But without an occurrence like this, or without the push to seek out the environment outside yourself, what happens to someone?

It’s sadly clear that many people choose to only protect and defend their space, oppose to reaching out and learning about the greater world.  They build walls, they buy guns, they erect a fortress of fearful beliefs.  They keep themselves locked in a tower. Now suddenly, all these tower dwellers have felt that they’ve won, that their tower will be protected.  No one is going to force them to look outside their bubble anymore.  Hooray!  What these people don’t realize, is that by hiding, they are perpetuating the idea that those without the privilege of a protective bubble will be stripped of their rights as citizens.

But tower dwellers are not just rustbelt Republicans.  When I get really low, my bubble shrinks.  I often literally feel like the space around me is getting smaller.  I lose motivation to read, to reach out, to find new career opportunities.  I want to hide inside my personal space and protect myself from anything that will challenge me to come out of it.  I develop what, psychologically, is known as learned helplessness.  I begin to accept that I will always be in my small bubble, and nothing will bring me out of it.

This is what I see when someone tells me they are unwilling to see outside their own views.  I see the pattern of learned helplessness–the acceptance that what they know is all they can ever know.  Their small bubble is protective and perfect and strong, and the large bubble of the world only wants to threaten that, to destroy it.

But this week, I am watching their fear, and using it to become more aware of my own.  I am not helpless, and neither are you.  This past week has allowed me to feel justified in my anger, in my fight.  I got over my fear of writing to representatives and electors, I got over my fear of defending my choices online.  I got over the fear of reaching out to friends with opposing views and trying to gently start a difficult conversation.  And I am so uncomfortable. I feel terrible.  And you know what?  Good.  It’s really good I feel terrible.  If I didn’t, I would still be going on long walks and thinking lofty thoughts about my plans for next summer.  I would still be assuming that Obama’s beautiful presidency had actually calmed the racist fears of many Americans too afraid to see their weaknesses.

I’d rather feel terrible now than later find out I had spent my life living in ignorance.

What He Tried to Take From Us

The original title of this post was, “What he took from us.”  I decided against this.

I woke up this morning with a better hold on my thoughts and on my body.  As I learned on the Camino, a body is capable of more than we give it credit for, especially when the day requires us to get up and simply put one foot in front of the other.  As the Zen quote teaches us, “Chop wood, carry water.”  Or, both before and after enlightenment, we must continue to work, to improve, to continue on.  But the mind, without rest and nourishment, with the stressors that send our bodies into uncontrollable shaking and tension, requires greater care, patience and kindness.  And so I waited to put my words out there in there in the world until my mind could rest.

When I “woke up” yesterday (I use that lightly because I’m not sure I technically ever fell asleep on Tuesday night), I sat in my dark living room with my husband Ben and watched the sunrise.  I needed to see that it would indeed do so, after such a dark night of pain for myself, the ones I love, the country, and the world.  I believed that something had been taken from us–not just the belief that love could overcome hate, not just the belief that our rights would be protected by a caring leader, but over a year of feeling degraded and spit upon by a fearful, small, and ignorant man that awakened a world of hatred in a sea of vulnerable people.

But. By the end of a remarkable day, if you can call a day filled with so much pain remarkable, I realized that he had taken nothing from us, that he has already failed in breaking us apart.  Ben and I, for the first time in our six-and-a-half year relationship went to church tougher.  There was an interfaith service in Montclair that brought together Muslims, Jews, Agnostics, and a wide range of Christians, to both grieve and show one another that we will not be broken, that we will be brought together.  This to me, is true religion.  It is the recognition of our interconnectivity, it is the the turning away of no one.  As we stood with our candles raised, like wands to the sky, and as we sung and chanted a Jewish song, I saw that there was light to be found.  And now, with my mind rested and my spirit slowly on the path of restoration, I am drawn to my words.

The most powerful article I read yesterday was entitled, “This is Why We Grieve Today,” by Jon Pavlovitz.  The site is oddly down right now, and I hope I may share it with you soon.  After a morning of heated bickering online, it became clear to me that many Trump supporters, even those I am close with, were not clear about why we grieved, why we felt the heavy weight of despair and fear for the future of our planet.  This bigoted, physiologically unstable man is trying to demolish a world of love and hope that we have fought so desperately to build.  And we have made beautiful, beautiful progress.  Yesterday, we did not grieve losing an election, losing a contest, we grieved the belief that love could triumph over hate in our political system.  We grieved for the safety and the rights of our LGBTQ community, for our non-white and non-Christian friends, for ourselves as women.  Yesterday, after years of being harassed on the street by dangerous men that I did not feel safe enough to yell back at, I was told that this hatred was supported, was reinforced, was strengthened.  I was told that my niece and nephews, both of which are half African-American, lived in an even less-safe world.  I was told that our beautiful, stunning, delicate planet was not worth the loss of financial gain, that the effort and research into renewable energy sources and safer, cleaner sources of energy-related jobs, were simply not worth the research and care, because the bottom line would not profit those in the top 1% of our financial elite.  I was told that a truly lost and angry man could dupe and mislead nearly half the country into believing he would fight for them, that he was their advocate.  He not only tried to steal the hope from the hearts of those that fought against him, but he made a fool of the people in my life that supported him.  This is what he tried to take from us.

But he has, and will continue to, fail–as will the organizations that fight against love.  For we will not stop standing together in community centers, in churches, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods, to speak up for one another, to watch out for one another, and to slowly find a way to realize that we all want to feel safe and loved.  We must begin talking to one another slowly and patiently, and we must begin listening.

In the past 48 hours, I have learned two major things:

  1. That nearly half the country believes that something had been taken from them during the past eight years, that they were somehow losing the respect and support from a country they believed was slipping away from their grasp.  They believed they were not loved, that they were forgotten.  And because of this, many turned to the fear in their hearts and pinned their blame on either a minority group or a social movement, and ignored the character of the man who took advantage of their fear and sorrow.  If you are reading this, I want you to know you are not forgotten and you are loved.  This leader will, sadly, most likely not fight for you, and I am so sorry for the days ahead that will make this clear.  But as one country, a country that was built on the ideals that all of us can act from a place of love for all beings and beliefs, we will rise above our system and protect one another.
  2. I also realized that I have been living in a bubble of safety.  This feeling, that my right as a women, as a citizen, and a human being, could be taken from me by two men that act from places of greed and greed alone, washed over me at 2am yesterday morning.  But this is how many minorities feel every day.  Every morning walking down the street, watching the news, and even observing the predominantly white society in our entertainment world, they feel they are not cared for, that they are in constant danger of losing their basic freedoms.  I will never thank the current President-elect for anything, but I will be grateful to the movement that followed for opening my eyes to this ignorance.  And as someone who will be relatively untouched by his terrifying policies, I will stand for all of you with as much energy as I can.  I cannot stay silent anymore.

For both sides reading, please take a moment to consider that we are all acting from a place of fear.  And in respect to your minds, this is to be recognized, it is to be acknowledged with care.   Once we acknowledge this fear, however, we must question ourselves: How is this fear causing us to act and respond?  Are we staying silent in discomfort?  Are we narrowing our vision to only focus (and vote) for one particular issue?  Or are we allowing ourselves to grow and open our minds to all types of love?  Please put your defensive swords down, and pick up your metaphorical sources of light.  When you hear or read words that spark rage in you, take two deep breaths, and continue with patience and recognition of this fear that is poisoning all of us.  Now is the time to speak up for one another, to act, to volunteer, to donate, to protect.  We can still shock our broken political system, and prove them all wrong.  We can listen to each other, respect new ways of life we may not understand, and above all, recognize which choices and actions are supported by love, and not greed or prejudice.  It is okay to be wrong.  It is okay to change.  It is okay to reach out to someone you fear with patience and truth.

We must defend our beautiful planet, we must defend our rights to believe in different versions of God, the Universe, and our interconnectivity, and we must defend our brilliant differences in sexuality, gender, race, and background.  We all have beautiful stories to tell, and if we are willing to listen and to speak up, to discover our own personal strengths and contributions, then we can all overcome this together.

I believe in you.  Nothing has been taken from us, because we have not lost one another.  And to quote Anne Frank:

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

I will not let go of this, and I will keep fighting for all of you in any way I can.