Winter solstice always carries the symbolism of light overtaking the darkness. That image seems particularly comforting right now as we have entered a truly dark period in which people full of hate and mean intentions have captured the castle. After weeks of mucking around in the darkness, I am ready to embrace the light. I’ve written a plan for myself, which I’m sharing in the hopes it is helpful to others.
Step 1. Get rooted in my own strength. Find the place inside myself of tenacity and resilience and then nourish it. It’s hard to feel tenacious and resilient if I’m exhausted. I will be intentional about self care: get enough sleep, drink enough water, eat well, exercise, have fun, play with my dog, and meditate. This will fortify me. I will create a safe zone and limit media intake, striving to know and understand what is going on without diving into the 24 hour news feed tsunami. I can’t help others until I put on my own oxygen mask. I will remember that self care is not optional.
Step 2 Connect with allies and friends – and do it often. This expands my safe zone. As an introvert it is easy to just come home after work and hang out with my sweet dog, but connecting with allies (in person, by phone, or on line) will keep me strong and more hopeful. If feeling overwhelmed I will reach out and get support. This will help me remember that there are many people of good will in this country and on this planet. There are actually more of us.
Step 3 Speak Truth. Call things what they are, and don’t cave. (This will be easier if I observe #1 and #2 above.) The world I want to live in is one of human kindness, dignity, generosity, and respect, where we see our commonality as humans and work to create a better world for everyone. I’m holding that vision – which I realize may not happen in my lifetime – but I’m holding in anyway. Hate is hate – bigotry is bigotry – lies are lies. Allowing others to suggest they don’t matter is a distortion of reality and a cruelty to every victim of those aggressions. I will, with kindness, challenge that thinking.
Step 4 Take a stand. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. I will pick, with intention, the things that feel most important or urgent and commit myself to working on that cause. My actions and energies count more if I align myself with effective organizations that are working to counteract the damage. I will contribute what I can in time, energy, and/or money. I will remember that small actions lead to change. Drops of water wear away the stone and light drives away the dark.