Love Fully, Fight Peacefully for Change
Another unsettling week here; dancing between optimistically working hard, and procrastinating; wondering if anything I do really has much point. As usual, my personal life conflated with national and world news to create a soup of, anger, disgust, contentment and luckily laughter.
I spent a lot of time this week wondering about moving on from hard times. A small opening in a personal relationship has me thinking about the importance of staying in the moment, while still allowing for hope. My mother who made the beginning of my week a storm of aggravation, ended up being a hilarious day brightener yesterday, sending me a birthday
card with a little cash envelope that said A BENJI FOR YOU. All caps because it’s easier to print; not for shouting purposes :). But at 89, with no car, isolation, Maria somehow got the pretty "for a dear daughter" Hallmark to me; addressed correctly, (both mine and hers), stamped, a loving message hand written, and wonderfully quirky Benji envelope inserted, with proclaimed bill in it. Nicely done, Maria. And between the crooks comments of last week and the Benji, I can’t help but wonder if Maria has a secret life as a low level gangster, or a dream to be in Guys and Dolls: Extremely Senior. I found it hopeful; a reminder that life and people are complex and that at any given moment all we can do is give of ourselves and do our best.
A living example of this way of life was John Lewis. A civil rights icon who went on to work in
congress, fighting for change within the system. Lewis died this past week on July 17. The tributes, summaries of his life, and best of lists of quotes have been both poignant, and illuminating. A Lewis Tweet from 2018, seemed prescient, until I realized it was my own ignorance that gave me that feeling. Illuminating indeed.
A quote about forgiveness* soothed my heart heart as I grapple with my own life. A tribute page from the brilliant Maria Popova, sent me down a rabbit hole of wonderful
writings that were quite honestly a balm to my slightly battered psyche. The beautiful essay written by Obama, made me long for different times, and wonder how we got into this mess. Clearly, I have spent a lot of time reading and contemplating; procrastinating is an unnecessarily harsh word. This morning I woke up feeling a little more clear; a tiny bit of clarity, a little light to lessen the gloom.
We all have to work to be our best selves. We have to forgive others and most importantly forgive ourselves. This isn’t some wimpy, docile ideal. It might be the hardest thing we ever do. This is the courage to move on, work hard, and be a voice for good in this world not bogged down by personal baggage. Letting go of grievances gives us wings to fly towards new and hard won opportunities. It isn’t forgetting, it’s a learned lesson of letting go of what isn’t feeding your own personal light.
It’s this light that we need. Whatever you are doing, do it fully; with joy and intent. Whether manning a cash register, wielding a stethoscope, crunching numbers, or caregiving, remain in this moment. Don’t let the bitterness of past slights or worry for tomorrow ruin this now.
Love fully, fight peacefully for change and let your light shine through.
With this thought in mind, I will share this short piece with you. I created this trio for three of my company members Annie, Grace and Talia. It was a within the confines of Spotlight Vermont, and a small end of a tough year video memory idea the studio had to create a small positive within a sad time. I choreographed this as my own private tribute to Black Lives Matter, but didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to bog the dancing down with politics. I tend to do this, little private gestures that make me feel better, but don’t do much for others. I also have the quietly powerful “who do you think you are voice”, that often stops me from stepping out of my very comfortable comfort zone. After all the reading of these past few days, I am feeling brave enough in this moment to put myself out there a little bit. So here is my small tribute, done in a very short amount of time, danced by three lovely young women. It is not a grand political statement, just an expression of what I wish for this world, the beauty of connection, all of us just people, yet all uniquely ourselves.
I wonder what this next week will bring, as the world around us gets more and more complex and frightening. Within this the regular trials and joys of family life, and work, will inform our days. There doesn’t seem to be that much that we can control. I personally feel in control of almost nothing, which feels like all seven levels of hell rolled into one.
So I will fight to stay present in this moment. I will see the incredible beauty around me, and take comfort knowing that we are all connected. In fact, our connectedness might be our superpower. When we finally stop the fruitless us vs them categorizing of all people, we will be able to combine all our strengths and talents to make our world a far better place. We will shine bright. May it be soon.