Small Steps Together
We had a ‘huddle’ here at the Temple last night. This is one of the actions coming out of the Women’s March that encourages small local groups to gather to envision a future together and to commit to specific action steps.
This gathering was simply one of the thousands of locally organized groups across the country that are doing just this. Rather than instructions from some centralized authority, these groups are the democratic response to what many of us see as the breakdown of our democratic processes.
Many of us are waking up from a long slumber to realize that our society is not what we thought it was and that we are needed to participate in ways we have conveniently avoided.
My two take-aways from our huddle: 1) clarify what it is you want rather than just focus on what you don’t want and 2) take action that energizes you.
This first point is one of the central perspectives of the coaching work I do with leaders and others. Clarifying where we are going creates an energy that supports our actions right now. We don’t have to know exactly what it is that we want. But we do have to name something that is important enough for us to be willing to be uncomfortable for. What is it you want to stand for? How do you want the country to look in four years?
The vision that arose for me came out of my discouragement on election night to see how consistent the gap is between the central and rural parts of our country and the urban and costal parts. We live in a country that is blue on the coasts and in small dots of urban areas and red everywhere else. So my vision is that in four years, the patterns is not so strong – that there is more of a dialogue between these two perspectives – that us urban intellectual types have a deeper understanding of what life is like outside of our bubble and that the rural heartland types are included in the conversation and feel that they are part of a country that is diverse and evolving.
My second inspiration from the huddle was remembering the importance of choosing our actions based not on what we think we ‘should’ do, but on using our skills and talents in a way that energizes us. This sounds like a privileged perspective, choosing what we do and don’t do, but it is also true. All of us, no matter what our circumstances have to chose what to pay attention to and what to do.
When we try to do everything, we exhaust ourselves in our necessary failure. Many people these days are saying this is a marathon, not a sprint. Our current situation that will be resolved or even dramatically changed by one march or one action. To counteract the forces of Trump’s disregard for the constitution and his calls to isolationism and blame, we need to be engaged for the foreseeable future. Since very few of the Republicans in Congress seem ready to hold Trump accountable to the laws and common civilities of our democracy, we must step forward.
So I have committed to keep writing, to call my more conservative sister and to organizing two workshop/discussions here at the Temple. What is your vision for our country? And what small steps are you willing to take to move in that direction?