I WAS MADE FOR TIMES LIKE THESE
By Nancy Aronie
From the minute The Women's March on Washington was announced I made my car reservation and called my cousins in DC and asked if we could come stay. But even as I was making my arrangements I wasn’t sure how I felt about going. I kept vacillating. Should I go, should I not go. One day I was sure and the next I was ready to cancel.
So many petitions, so many angry Facebook posts, so many articles about the horror of what we are about to experience. I have done my share of protesting. I marched for pro-choice in Washington . Imarched for no nukes in NYC. When the kids were young we went every Saturday to Electric Boat to protest the Trident three.
I’ve done my bit.
Then more passionate emails from women friends taking their adult daughters, going on buses, trains, planes, in groups, with their moms, with their little girls, with their husbands, with their partners.
I have to go. This is history in the making. I have to stand in solidarity with my sisters.
Then my friend Elise comes over. I tell her I am obsessing over my decision to go to the march. Elise does something called muscle testing. Chiropractors use this technique. Applied kinesiology is conducted by having the person resist using the target muscle while the practitioner applies a force. A smooth response is referred to as a "strong muscle" and a "weak response" becomes the answer no. This is not a raw test of strength, but rather a subjective evaluation of various stresses and imbalances in the body.
I ask Elise if she will help me hear my body's response. She asks me two questions; "If you go to Washington will this serve the greater good?" My arm falls in a no so fast we both almost laugh. Then she asks, "If Nancy goes to the march will this serve her own personal growth?" Again my arm sails down with out any resistance. I’m not going, I say with relief.
My friend Sharon who marches for everything, an activists' activist, is taking a one o'clock in the morning bus from Connecticut down to DC marching and then turning around and coming back home. She asks me if I am going. I write her back and tell her about my experience with Elise and this is the email she returns:
Muscle testing? Really???? That’s pretty lame. I’m sorry but I just don’t buy that. Women's rights are human rights and they concern us all and (don’t kid yourself) effect us all. We never thought Hitler would do the things he did. We cannot afford to ignore the signs of a narcissistic lunatic . It’s too scary.
Now I’m guilt ridden and and I’m thinking of my entire family who died in the camps, how many said this too will pass, this is not such a big deal and lets give him a chance. So now I’m determined that I must make my voice heard. I write a group email to my closest friends. Are you going and why or why not.
Linda answers first :
I’ve been marching philosophically for years and I’m not good in crowds although if I could march over Kelly Anne Conway’s smug crazy grin I would. She included the poster of Trump gesturing with the bold words: “Keep your small hands off my rights”.
I’m back feeling strong about not going.
Then I get a text from my friend Louise . She says she just cancelled her flights because she’s worried about taking her granddaughters into what might be dangerous.
I cancel my cousins guest room but keep my car reservation in case we decide to go to the one in Boston.
Then I get my friend Kimberly’s response. She’s one of the most level headed wise women I know. She says,
Nancy my beloved! I am standing still next weekend and sinking into my soul and signing with the pen and ink of self assertive womanhood my own emancipation proclamation. I am fearing no man. Mine eyes have seen the glory and I am here to bring it to the world. I am not going to Washington. Because I am the light of the world, the center of the universe and the place from which all change radiates forth.
How about you?
After I crack up laughing at her last sentence I am so blown away by her brilliance I ask her if I decide to write something can I use her words. She says of course but you know I am riffing off my main man, Martin.
I don’t care who she’s riffing off. This one has gotten me to my core.
Then the piece d resistance arrives in my inbox just on time.
My friend Marthasends me a long, very long piece by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who run with the Wolves), a woman I saw in person about 20 years ago and knew instantly I had found another Great Teacher.
Here’s what she wrote:
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes
My friends: Do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world right now... Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement...
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind... Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
We have been in training for a dark time such as this, since the day we assented to come to Earth. For many decades, worldwide, souls just like us have been felled and left for dead in so many ways over and over brought down by naivete, by lack of love, by being ambushed and assaulted by various cultural and personal shocks in the extreme. We have a history of being gutted, and yet remember this especially - we have also, of necessity, perfected the knack of resurrection. Over and over again we have been the living proof that that which has been exiled, lost, or foundered can be restored to life again.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency too to fall into being weakened by perseverating on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails. We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?...
Understand the paradox: If you study the physics of a waterspout, you will see that the outer vortex whirls far more quickly than the inner one. To calm the storm means to quiet the outer layer, to cause it to swirl much less, to more evenly match the velocity of the inner core - 'til whatever has been lifted into such a vicious funnel falls back to Earth, lays down, is peaceable again. One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or desperation thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl.
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
After reading this I know that I have been in training and preparing and working and that I too have been made for these times, that I don’t need to go anywhere or do anything, that keeping my heart open in Hell is my job now. I know from my gut that I have pledged to listen to a voice greater and Clarissa has just reminded me. I will work to be part of making that critical mass that tips toward the enduring good and I will remember who I came from and why I came to this beautiful needful Mother Earth.
My struggling soul will catch the light from those souls that are fully lit.