Perhaps I am going to sound a little like a conspiracy theorist here, but I think it holds pretty true, actually. Those who are in power, those trying to consolidate their economic and political power against the people, rely on our anxiety and fear, our disillusionment and angst, our impotent rage and our divisive talk, to paralyze us against positive and just action. I don’t think this means I have to entirely give up my outrage and worry, my despair and angst–they’re the feels I feel, and I won’t cut off my feelings. Still, I can surf them instead of getting sucked into their vortex–which is, I think, what the destroyers want of us.
I have practiced the writing of gratitude lists for about ten years now, on and off, sometimes religiously writing a list a day, sometimes settling into a weekly or bi-weekly pattern. As I have written before, this particular spiritual practice has helped to ground and deepen me, particularly in times of stress and rage and grief. In recent weeks, when the practice might have been extremely helpful, I have been very sparse in my gratitude-contemplations, and I think I have had trouble finding my way back to center. I think it correlates.
This morning, my friend Karen wrote that every day between now and Thanksgiving, she will write one simple gratitude as an act of resistance. That gives the Work of Gratitude a whole new layer of inner empowerment, doesn’t it? Gratitude as Resistance. What better way to resist the destroyers’ dependence on our paralysis?
In order to find my way back toward equilibrium, and to maintain the magical/prayerful intention of resistance, I will follow Karen’s wise example in the coming month and post One Gratitude as Resistance each day in the month leading up to Thanksgiving. Thank you, Karen, for leading me into a new space.
Guidance Counselors: Guidance Counselors are superheroes. I have no doubt that you save lives. As a teacher, I am comforted to know that you are there, a safety net, offering solace and help for students in their pain and troubles. At least twice this week, I have been able to rest in the knowledge that someone was taking care of a student who was in a crisis. And when I was helping a student perfect her college application essays, she kept telling me things that her guidance counselor had helped her to think about as she wrote. I’m glad you’re in my village, both my local school village, and in other schools.
May we walk in Beauty!
Here’s a little self-touting:
I’m actually not sure what it means. It’s not a publishing thing, and it doesn’t have prize money or certificates attached to it, but it’s satisfying. I try not to doubt my poetic voice, but when mostly what I have in response to sending poems for publication is a long list of rejections, I sometimes struggle to keep me sense of my poetic self intact. So it was a good morale boost for me to discover yesterday, sort of by accident, that I had won last year’s Poetic Asides November Poem-a-Day Challenge Chapbook contest. The little book is called Shapeshifting, and it contains thirteen poems that I wrote during last November’s challenge.