Marching on…

My world has been – shall we say – worth noticing lately.

Not me, so much, as the things I’ve been learning. It’s had a lot to do with the notion of limiting beliefs. Or, rather, non-limiting beliefs.

I used to believe that I was camera-phobic. I wanted to hide photos with me in them. This week, I’ve spent big chunks of several days in partnership with a camera making demo videos for one of my art workshops.

And I don’t hate the videos! (A bit more practice would be okay, too.)

I went to an online demo for something called Podia. I have more to learn but it is, according to a wise friend of mine, going to help me get those videos delivered to people along with helpful things like materials lists and background info. I really, really want to share this journey so I’ve decided to believe I can.

And I’ve decided not to let my dreams be limited by so many of the things happening in the world around me. I’ve decided that the call of the late Congressman John Lewis to get into good trouble means me, too.

Good trouble, if you boil it down, means basically letting go of our own limiting beliefs and refusing to be belittled by the limiting beliefs of others.

I spent a while last night watching John Lewis… celebrating a hero. I’ve already noticed that good trouble can be a bit lonely, depending on where we’re used to hanging out, so I went, virtually, to hang out with a whole lot of folks who get it.

More and more of us, declining to be limited by our beliefs or our gender or our skin color or our age or our struggles.

I was 7 years old in 1965. In all honesty, there were two things I “knew” about Lyndon B. Johnson. He picked his beagles up by the ears and my parents were emphatically opposed to him.

I assumed, in the way of most children, that he must be a bad man. At the very least, he was more complex than I’d been led to believe. That he signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a huge act of laying down limiting beliefs.

Sadly, while it changed the law, it has clearly not changed the hearts of all Americans. Including many of those in power at this moment.

I’m not sure who the speaker was who said, “John Lewis chose to make the last public appearance of his life at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D. C.” during the TV memorial last night. I was too busy writing it down.

I do know that I’m grateful for that very emphatic statement just outside this White House.

I also know that the way forward is not simple. There was a political ad on TV last night that scared me. Sadly, the people I consider to be “the other guys” in our political journey have way too much money to pay for really powerful messages. Messages that all-too-effectively play on the fears of voters struggling with the very limitations those paying for the ads would continue to impose on them.

That’s one of the things “the other guys” have in common with many of the ones I think should know better. Playing on human fears and blaming those fears on “them” works way too well, often in the wrong direction.

Or, as my Qigong guru, Chunyi Lyn, would say, “That which we resist, persists.”

It’s time to change the conversation. Time to be actively for respect and equality. For an economy that works for all of us. For accessible healthcare and good schools. For the rule of law. For a color blind system of real justice. For humanity.

Here’s why it’s hard. I, who deeply believe all those things I just listed and who have more facility with language than many, spent over an hour trying to write the paragraph just above this one. Every choice of this word or that is filled with danger. The danger of offending. Of being judged. Of wanting to be understood. The danger of not being enough.

But I am enough. Enough to speak out. And so are you.

And just in case you’re reading these words in another nation, the same things are still important. The details and the news may be different, but the things which really matter, matter everywhere and for everyone.

Which, when you get right down to it, is really the point of good trouble.

So be it. Amen. Amen. Selah.

ps… I’m not much of an astronomer, but the image is called, North Star. It’s a bit of my first Legend painting.

I’m in!

A while back, I read a book called When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. I chose it mostly because Anne Lamott described it as, “Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder.”

I think it was the “wonder” that hooked me most. I am a fan of noticing and wondering.

And of Anne Lamott!

Anyway, the book had wandered home with a friend of mine, as books so often do.

Last Friday, it wandered back, along with Phoebe’s new eye medicine. As soon as I had it in my hands — It has a very sexy cover! — I knew exactly where it needed to go next. But first, I needed some page flipping.

And there it was. On page 100, Ms. Williams wrote:

Muriel Rukeyser asked the question “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

Just in case you’re where I was, recognizing the name but sketchy on the details, Wikipedia is happy for us to know that:

Muriel Rukeyser (December 15, 1913 – February 12, 1980) was an American poet and political activist, best known for her poems about equality, feminism, social justice, and Judaism. Kenneth Rexroth said that she was the greatest poet of her “exact generation.”

Wikipedia will gladly tell you more about Kenneth Rexroth, too, but it’s almost time to feed the dogs and I’m on a roll.

Never mind for a moment that being the greatest poet of one’s “exact generation” sounds like a really cool business card to have, I read on, already knowing where we were headed.

Reproductive choice.

Birth control. Surgical pregnancy prevention. Abortion. The Supreme Court.

(Well, that last is my addition.)

A little more than 100 pages later, the book nears its conclusion with these words:

The world is already split open, and it is in our destiny to heal it, each in our own way, each in our own time, with the gifts that are ours.

If telling the exact truth of our lives — women’s lives — or painting that same truth, or quilting it, or baking it into a loaf of bread, or using that truth to run for Congress helps heal the splits in the world, I’m in.

And I’ve made a bit of a beginning.

The books are here.

The artwork, here.

And, very soon, more opportunities to join with me in workshops with the power to help us live into our own sacred assignments and to help out with the world splitting thing.

ps… in many places in the US, it’s about to be voting time for run-offs, which just might help heal the world, too.

pps… one of my granddaughters finished a race yesterday which included a 400 meter swim, a 20 km bike ride, and a 5 km run, in 1 hour and 35 min! She and her younger sister are counting on you, too!

ppps… if you haven’t already subscribed to this blog, please do. It’s the best way to keep up with the new stuff!

Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach