Tag Archives: Storytelling

Upside Down and Inside Out

As I attempt to walk on my own again, my country seeks security somewhere, anywhere. Neither of us is sure of how far to go, much less where.

Yet, it is not our uncertainty that is the problem. We are right where we need to be, “unfolding a new myth” (Rumi).

“Life always bursts the boundaries of formulas” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in Flight to Arras, a novel about the French Resistance in World War II. We know the outcome of that resistance but its success was far from assured.

Yet defeat—death–was preferable to life lived within a formula. Life turns on a dime— it is impermanent–change turns us upside down, inside out. And if we are Aleppo, we are all but obliterated.

“Defeat may prove to have been the only path to resurrection, despite its ugliness.” That is the history of the human spirit, its rising from a story stuck in repeat. We don’t remember our history so we keep writing the same story.

But what if we strayed from that story? What if we accepted that life turns on a dime–always has, always will. We would walk where uncertainty leads. Would that not be the unfolding of a new myth?

Life always bursts the boundaries of formulas.

Defeat may prove to have been the only path to resurrection,

despite its ugliness. I take it for granted that to create a tree

I condemn a seed to rot. If the first act of resistance comes

too late it is doomed to defeat. But it is, nevertheless,

the awakening of resistance.

Life may grow from it as from a seed.

(Flight to Arras, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry )

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Necessity of Beauty

Find a way to make beauty necessary;

find a way to make necessity beautiful.

Anne Michaels

These days my life lens is a bit cloudy, its focus in and out. It is the political situation in this country, not the election–that’s over–it’s where we go from here.

I don’t know any escape. Zen teaches me that to escape is Shenpa or “biting the hook,” seeking comfort in food, drink, or anything that keeps me from meeting the issue. Anything that keeps me from walking through the door of equanimity, practicing life with an evenness of mind.

Increasingly, I am active in thoughtful and nonviolent resistance. Civil disobedience. There is more than one congressional office that knows my name. They are sick of me, and I am sick of them.

But as Bob Dylan told us, “a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.” And it has already begun.storm-clouds-081913

Just before Christmas, I joined the Nasty Women Book Project, a group of women committed to effecting change through story, maybe the most powerful resource humans have. Story has been our way since the beginning of humanity.   

The NWP stories are rich, raw, and varied, sometimes dark, but each is a powerful response to an event that changed America, the election of 2016. It was always a historic vote, no matter the outcome, but the outcome was the unexpected.

The election is the catalyst for the NWP but its stories are so much more. It is in reflection that stories emerge, and these are no exception.

This group of women has come together to donate their art and their skill as editors, publicists, marketers, and publishers to support Planned Parenthood. Volume 1 will be available in March and the second volume is already in the works.

Planned Parenthood receives 100% of the book proceeds. 100%. At the NWP, everybody donates time and skills. Everybody.

Chris Kelly’s article in The Huffington Post, “Paul Ryan is Underestimating Nasty Women,” explains the how and why of the NWP.

Our website, the Nasty Women Book Project, features some of the stories that will appear in Volume 1. I’m honored that my essay, “Confessions of a Closet Activist,” is among them.

For me, the NWP is activism at its best, a small group of citizens coming together to make necessity beautiful.   100_1781-2

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.