Sh*t To Help You Show Up March 26, 2021
When You Are Disoriented, Slow Down.
Happy Friday, my lovelies. I don’t know about you, but for me lately, life has been weirdly disorienting. The onset of spring always feels a wee bit thrilling after the long slog of an Upstate winter, but the slog of winter combined with the epic slog of pandemic quarantine is amping my spring excitement up exponentially. I find myself wanting to run blissfully in the sunshine in public. To be clear, I have not been a person who runs, much less in public, in decades.
I want to hug strangers and kiss tiny, emerging flowers. I am dying— dying, I tell you— to rip off my mask and smile hugely at everyone I see on the street. Do you see this?!?, I want to scream. We’re still here! We survived! LIFE IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!
And yet, at the same time, the United States is still a dumpster fire. There were seven, SEVEN, mass shootings in the United States between March 16th— when eight people, including six AAPI women, were murdered in Georgia— and March 22nd, when 10 people were massacred at a grocery store in Boulder, CO.
Across the country, Republican politicians are working at a breakneck pace to enact legislation to limit voting rights. The first bill was signed in Georgia yesterday, and a black female state legislator was dragged away in handcuffs and charged with two felonies simply for knocking on the door of the governor’s office while he was signing to insist he sign in public. All the state laws to restrict voting could be pre-empted by federal legislation, the For the People Act, but it is unclear if Democrats in the Senate will have the political fortitude to eliminate the filibuster so that the bill can pass.
Eliminating the filibuster might also mean finally getting some common-sense gun regulations up in here. So much of our future is teetering on this one legislative rule.
The vacillation between elation and dread makes my head spin. I suspect I am not the only one feeling deeply disoriented. How about you? Feeling spinny?
A teacher of mine, Carolyn Elliott, who I’ve mentioned here before, refers to this quarantine time as an underworld journey. Like Persephone, who was just walking along, picking flowers and minding her own business when Hades came along and sucked her down to Hell, we all got sucked into this pandemic completely against our will. We have been underneath the surface of life for a long, long time, and as much as we might prefer to return with gusto to our unadulterated pre-pandemic lives, life as we know it is different now. We are different now.
Navigating the disorientation of both the unchosen fall into darkness and the path to return to the light is a distinctly feminine journey. It is a receptive experience; it is being done unto, and then having to submit to transformation by integrating darkness. The Hero’s Journey— striking out on a quest because you are called, slaying monsters so that you can emerge as a triumphant warrior— does not serve us here. What we need is the intense shadow work of the Heroine’s Journey, which makes of us wisdom-holders and healers.
I encourage you if you are feeling overwhelmed and confused by the intensity of this moment to slow down, even as you feel the rushing desire to return. The kind of integration and reorientation to a new reality that we are in the midst of requires space and time. It is also a tremendous opportunity if we can allow ourselves to submit to it. We can do things differently now. I would argue that we, for the sake of our own lives and the world, must do things differently now.
One of the things I believe we must do differently now is to think more intentionally about what we believe and how to live our daily lives in accordance with those beliefs, even as the world seems to accelerate faster and faster around us. How do we make decisions, take actions to affect the world around us, that have integrity? How do we build real, human, imperfect lives that we can be deeply proud of? These questions are at the heart of this entire project for me. They are the heart of my life.
Some of you responded to my newsletter on Monday expressing appreciation for getting to walk with me through my decision process around whether or not I will stay on this platform when I move to paid subscriptions. If you’d like to dive a little deeper into how to approach ethical decision-making, you should check out the work of Dr. Susan Liautaud. She is a Stanford professor of ethics and mother of five children (five!). She was recently interviewed for the Armchair Expert podcast, which is how I first encountered her.
Don’t shy away because “ethics” seems boring or righteous. Raising five children and wrestling professionally with integrity has made Dr. Liautaud humble, compassionate, and insistent on complexity. She sounds remarkably like me in many respects, so clearly you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to get where she’s coming from.
If you want to go further with her, you should check out her recent book, The Power of Ethics: How To Make Good Choices In A Complicated World. I might even start a book club-type discussion around it, so stay tuned for that!
Monday is my next Let Your Life Speak Interview! Last time I interviewed artist/painter Amanda Moore. This time I’m interviewing ceramic artist Gina Inzinna. You don’t want to miss it, so keep your eyes on your inbox.
Y’all! I am now officially over TWO HUNDRED SUBSCRIBERS! Thank you to each and every one of you for being a part of that milestone. Please help this project keep growing. If you enjoyed this piece, like it (click the heart!), share, and comment! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you want to support my work at Let Your Life Speak and you haven’t yet subscribed, you can do that below. Thank you, thank you, thank you!