We Saw It Coming. Now What?

Written by on July 1, 2022 in Conversations on the Healing Journey with 0 Comments

Close up of hairpin turn by Silas Baisch

We Saw It Coming

The writing has been on the wall for quite a while.

And yet, when Roe v. Wade was overturned, it hit so many of us like a brick, the shock of it as if it came out of the blue.

Maybe not because we didn’t see the signs, but because we couldn’t actually comprehend the warnings that our country would take such a drastic and sharp turn into the past.

Right now, it’s difficult not to succumb to despair.

Like so many of us, I want to cry and curse. I fall into periodic despair, because it is such a great loss. Not just for this moment, now, but for the activism of the past, the hard work and efforts that went into securing reproductive rights for women.

And what it portends is chilling, as another conservative Supreme Court decision on the tail of reversing Roe v. Wade, blunts the power of the Environmental Protection Agency to hold corporations accountable–a gift to profit over people, over the right to breathe, to drink clean water, to live on a sustainable planet.

When will this undoing, this unraveling end? Will it? Or is it an unstoppable momentum?

I could let these losses fill my heart and mind, let it draw itself over my eyes, and block everything out in my grief.

But then I might miss the light on the far horizon.

And wouldn’t that be a loss? To miss the approach of an unexpected dawn? To be among those calling it to rise?

Despair and exhaustion are not the only things to witness or feel. Right now, there’s also something amazing and beautiful to behold, to experience.

It’s the ground swell of people ready and determined to do something, their creative ideas, their conviction. It’s people looking at what their next step will be — politically, locally, artistically, wherever they are, with all the difference, the huge difference, that grassroots efforts can make.

It’s not that I don’t want to acknowledge the dire situation we’re in, or the digressive effects of this court’s partisan decisions. I do acknowledge them. They’re very real.

Just not the only real that’s out there. We need to remind ourselves that even if we feel powerless in this moment, we’re not, that even as we can’t wrap our heads around what seems to be a sudden reversal of direction, we can do something with our hearts…

We can keep them open.

Because nothing’s a given, and sometimes it takes a seismic event to jolt us out of bed. And that can happen with empowering effect as much as a debilitating one.

There’s no way of knowing which way the tide is turning–not for certain, not for all and done–but that it is turning.

And which direction that is has not been determined yet.

No matter how dire or real the threat may be there’s always reason to hope. Not necessarily because of observation or evidence, but because of necessity and deservability. If not ours, then our children and grandchildren, and this beautiful, one of a kind planet. They need and deserve our hope.

In this turning of the tide, we can not only recover what we lost, we can go beyond it. Believe it. As you grapple with the existence of this setback, believe also in the reality of hope, beautiful, radical hope. Because it’s no less real.

This reversal and the “movement of undoing” is a backlash against the progress America has made toward equity and justice these past several decades. Certainly not enough for those struggling under the inequity and injustices that still exist. But too fast, or that it’s even happening at all, for those who aren’t bothered by the oppression of people and environment and/or who profit from it.

Progress toward the ideals of this country have triggered this wave of backlash we’re witnessing.

But backlashes are not exclusive to one group. And I’m anticipating a beautiful one of our own.

They are loud. But we can be louder. Even when it might feel like every step forward we scurry, or are shoved, seven back, we need to remember this truth.

The most winding road, with all its twists and turns, still reaches its destination.

 

Don’t let this hairpin turn by the Supreme Court trick you into feeling defeated.

Full photo of hairpin turn in the mountains by Silas Baisch

Don’t just focus on the reversal in the road, though it may feel like we’re heading back from where we started. Not to diminish the seriousness of the situation or the great harm that will be inflicted, this turn is still only one part along a much longer passage through.

Let yourself see beyond the point where the road bends back on itself, and follow it to where it stretches out. Even if the journey takes longer than anticipated or desired or longed for, we are still making our way to the other side of this mountain.

We are not helpless. We cannot afford to be hopeless.

Not for the sake of the children or of future generations. Not for the sake of our planet and all living things, and everything that makes that life possible.

Our children are looking to us, and even more inspiring, the youth are looking to themselves. They are taking charge of their lives. They are standing up for themselves and their planet. They are speaking out, and they are brilliant.

I’m seeing activists, and people who don’t think of themselves as activists, asking “What can I do?” And not in a defeatist, shrugging shoulders kind of way, but in a declaring one’s ability to make a difference, to effect a change kind of way. And the beautiful willingness to do it.

I’m going to believe in that.

 

Now what?

Well, I’m not taking my things and going home.

I am going to take the time to acknowledge all the feelings that are roiling inside of me right now. I will sit with them and listen.

Then I will comfort the fear, quiet the panic, and give whatever doom and gloom arises within me something else to do. I’ll gather up the essence of this energy, swoop it lovingly into my arms, and give it to my mighty warrior self of conviction and badass hope.

I’m going to recharge my activism, in ways that are right for me where I am now in my life, and own my power as a creative. I will be fierce with it, and lovingly, artistically relentless in believing in us.

In us.

That’s where I want to put my attention right now. It’s where I want to put my energy and efforts.

Focus on what enables you to show up.

This is important. Give your fears, your worries a rest, a time out. Feed your self with what nourishes you. Focus on what enables you to show up.

Then show up.

Do something. VOTE! Encourage and assist another or several others to vote. Run for office if that’s your thing. These are important things to do, but by no means the only things.

There are many ways you can participate that are as varied as there are people. Find your way. See what’s already set up that you can join, create something new, work with others or by yourself.

Let yourself connect. You are not alone. It’s not all on you. There are many standing right beside you, close by regardless physical distance, extending their hands, shining their light.

Whatever it looks like, support the ideals for living in a just world by taking real and practical steps to that end… and maybe get yourself some good walking/running shoes, because even as the road will reach its destination, it’s a long one.

We can do it.

We are here, at this juncture of history, showing up together.

And that’s all I need to know to not give up on us.

Demian Yumei,
~Keeping the Dream

 

Photos from Unsplash: by Silas Baisch

References:

Totenberg, N. (2022, June 30). Supreme Court restricts the EPA’s authority to mandate carbon emissions reductions. NPR. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2022/06/30/1103595898/supreme-court-epa-climate-change

Justin D. Henderson, Ph. D. (2020, December 31). Radical hope: The path forward during troubling times. Medium. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from https://dr-justinhenderson.medium.com/radical-hope-655c3ba2cd92

About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .

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