“Love Deeply, Tip Big”
February 1 is Imbolc, a time for us to sweep out whatever in our homes and lives is completed or no longer useful and open our bellies, hearts, minds, and souls to new callings, new currents, new commitments. Given what is going on in our communities, nation, and world, how can we leap into the ever-lightening days with hope and energy for change?
A progressive flow of critical legislation to protect voting rights, strengthen our democracy, confront climate change, reduce income inequality, provide affordable and accessible health care, and increase access to the internet has slammed into a logjam in the US Senate. This logjam, created by fifty lockstep Republicans and two recalcitrant Democrats, is blocking desperately-needed changes in the name of honoring an obsolete procedural rule, the filibuster. Never mind that these same Senators cheerfully disregard the filibuster whenever they want to.
The COVID epidemic rages on, forcing us back into semi-isolation despite huge advances in prevention and treatment. Case numbers are beginning to drop here and elsewhere, but health care facilities are stretched to the max and workers are burned out and sick.
And each of us navigates challenges of our own in our bodies, families, and communities. I spent the last week grieving old patterns that persist in my life after decades of trying to face and change them. Once the torrent of tears flowed out, I was able to step back and see the ways that I, my family, and the situations had changed. We are not back where we were.
That is true of our national and global challenges as well. Collectively, people have so much love, courage, and creativity. We all falter from time to time, but if we can join together and persist, change is still possible. More than that: it’s mandatory.
Recently, at dusk, I sat on a bench at Seward Park dedicated to the memory of a beloved life-long activist and member of our lesbian community. The inscription on the plaque in front of the bench reads:
Love Deeply, Tip Big
Chris Beahler, 2014
Inspiration to Many
Sunset’s glow washed the raised brass letters with gold. Across the water to the southeast, snow-capped Tahoma (Mt. Rainier) shone purple and pink. A raft of coots cuddled close on the lake’s calm surface. After I posted the photos above on Facebook, my friend John Bancroft wrote:
“Coots have an amazing and largely successful strategy for not being eaten by the massive eagles soaring over Seward Park. When an eagle appears, the coots get into as compressed a raft as possible. The eagles for some reason can’t grab a single coot out of the mob, so after circling over to try unsuccessfully to isolate a single coot, they give up and fly away. In Unity there is strength!”
We can root ourselves deep into what nourishes us in these difficult times and draw that food into every cell of our bodies. We can heed Chris Beahler’s sage advice and follow the example of the coots: stick close together, fight back, act from love, share resources, be generous to one another.
The fight for voting rights has been going on for centuries. It’s not over. The same is true for environmental protection, economic justice, and other issues many of us care about. Our democracy has been weakened but not destroyed. Yet.
Each of us has a part to play. Imbolc is not a time for cynicism or apathy. It’s not a time to give in to despair. I encourage you to grieve, if that’s what’s on your heart. Then grab your broom and sweep. It’s time to find your path and walk it with love.