Though it’s been less than forty eight hours since Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, it feels somehow like a lifetime. Like many of you, I have spent the weekend grieving, worrying , incessantly reading, fretting; frankly, it was a wallow of huge proportions. Nothing is resolved, nothing has changed, the insidious natures of worry and anxiety are their ability to rob us of time, while producing almost nothing.
Almost nothing but not quite. In an effort to counteract my deeply depressed and hopeless mood, I did a few things. I stopped reading the news, it was time to spare myself of “egregious nitwittery” (in quotes because to my everlasting regret, I read that phrase in a comment section, and did not create it myself.) I have numbers to call in order to flood Mitch McConnell’s office with opposition. I posted a petition on my personal (and shiny new) FB page to prevent a new justice from being appointed. I am including the wonderful New Yorker article about RBG, it is conclusive and wonderful, and all anyone needs to read. I can ease up on the vigilance.
In the spirit of no news, I put my phone away and watched a movie with Don. We actually watched a DVD, on a large DVD player in front of a fire. Old school. Wonderful, with no chance of interruption or even an advertisement or coming attraction. Don and I, laughing, enjoying the moment, and finally warm. Finally warm, because I refuse to put on the heat in September. I don’t know what point I am trying to make, but I am making it. My ability to stubbornly choose discomfort as a point of pride and virtue is untouched by all my yogic/ Buddhist venturings. Isn’t it sadly ironic that when we are feeling the most down, we will deny ourselves of the simplest of comforts.
Finally, a long practice; a great comfort, after much procrastination. Good music instead of silence to pump up my mood. My mind was finally quieting down. As I breathed into poses I thought about The Book of Joy. I have been rereading/skimming it this week; life was feeling heavy, and this book is the antidote to misery. The friendship between Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama is a balm for a tired soul. The book is a recap of their musings on happiness, suffering , friendship, and joy; it is a treasure. At one point Rev. Tutu speaks of being ennobled by suffering, rather than embittered. Life goals... I found myself wondering what would RBG have accomplished if she had let herself become bitter.
The legacy of RBG is a historical beacon. In the face of deep discrimination, cancer and a society not ready for her ferocious intelligence she carried on. She was human and had her missteps; but her vision for women and equality never wavered. How she did this: sheer hard work and a will to succeed that not many of us can fathom. The image of this woman small in stature her huge in determination moves me. We may not have her will; I know I don’t ,but I/we can all work harder to speak out against injustice and inequality.
We can all use the talents we have for good in anyway we can. Sometimes I look at my life and it feels pointless. Dance, yoga, gardening, reading.... what good does any of that do. I guess the answer is I am not really sure, but it’s what I have , who I am. I hope the garden brings as much joy to others as it does to me. I hope that my students learn more than technique from me; persistence, love of the journey, and yes failure , are the great lessons of dance. I will keep trying, doing and hope for the best.
I will take the words from the Notorious RBG
and Archbishop Tutu, and try not to become bitter,(ennobled may be beyond me at this juncture), and use whatever talents I have to make this world a better place. This is where I am going to put my attention; my intention without tension, a little more joy and laughter as a small slap in the face to a world that is literally on fire. I don’t mean I will be oblivious; I will be as over-informed as ever.
But I will not let the egregious nitwittery win the day. Join me my cadre of enormously talented friends, use your gifts as we fight the good fight.
Rest In Peace and Power, RBG, and the dreamer in me hopes Martin guided you home.
(Images from several sources including Getty Images & News Articles)