Women growing older with grace and gusto

Sunday Collection – Marching

First up, I’ve had many responses here and elsewhere about working through Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way. So let’s do it! I need to work out the format and will plan to start in about four weeks, to free up the decks a little. More soon, but here follows today’s post.

So this was the week. The Presidential inauguration. Then yesterday, amazing scenes from around the world of marching, marching, marching. As Gloria Steinhem said in Washington “This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring of democracy like I’ve never seen in my very long life.” You can watch her speech here, it’s well worth it.

I’ve gathered together today a few related links from around the internet.

Women marching: not the first time.

We’re all familiar with pictures of the Suffragette marches in the UK and US in the early part of last century. But what about Pretoria, Iceland, Argentina and others, and what did they achieve? This Guardian article has the information.

Power, not force

I recently “met” Patricia Cherry online. She’s a life coach specialising in Ageing with Vitality, and she writes well here about the difference between power and force. Here’s a snippet: “Somehow for me, the power of the marches say it all. They are like a warm ray of sunshine bathing a cold landscape of fear and panic.”

The beginning of the end… of right-wing conservatism?

Someone on Facebook linked to this article by Peter Leyden. He talks about a transition to a new economy and a new civilization. He has some interesting thoughts on what is happening, not that it’s the beginning of a new conservatism, but that it’s the death throes of the old order. Here’s a quote:

Trump is a symptom of something much bigger and more fundamental going on in the world. So are the people behind Brexit in Great Britain. They are not driving the change, they are reacting to the change. They are not showing the way forward, they are making desperate attempts to cling to the past, a past that is gone forever.

Needing a Goddess

I’m so pleased Amy Palko is writing on her blog again. If you don’t know Amy, she describes herself wonderfully on Pinterest as “Digital Priestess : Goddess Guide : Soul Writer : Selkie”. (She’s not old enough to be a Crone but she has all the raw material.) Last Friday she did a Goddess guidance reading and here she describes the “Goddess we need right now”. She is Gyhldeptis – Goddess of Harmonic Agreement (who I’ve never heard of). And to be honest, when I read about harmonic agreement it sounded a little wishy washy, but not so! Here’s a sample of what Gyhldeptis may be saying to us:

Yes, I hear your pain, I see the chaos, I know the harm – potential and realised – that is present in this moment. And the way forward is going to be through unification, through communication, through collaboration. These threats to the wellbeing of all of us, but especially to the most vulnerable within these inherently patriarchal self-serving systems of global governance, economy, business, media, religion etc. are not about to go away if we turn our backs on them and pretend they don’t exist. You need to address the problem. You need to do that together. You need to co-ordinate action that will make a positive difference.

Great Souls

And finally, some words from Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I don’t know when she wrote them but they apply now more than ever, and I’m going to quote them in full, because we need them:

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 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 that 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 vessels 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.

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 dwelling 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?

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.

By Clarissa Pinkola Estes


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6 Responses to Sunday Collection – Marching

  1. LOVE your “Marching” post – Thanks so much Tess!! It’s so good to have a home front, so to speak, here at PILGRIM’S MOON too. And on TV great to see Gloria Steinem giving a speech today for the people, and thus reminding us that our constitution does not begin with “I the President” but rather with “We the People.”

    But also I was amazed by the size of the crowds, and I was surprised later that there were no arrests in New York, none. And lots of women’s solidarity all round the world was being televised also. I also loved when Elizabeth Warren took the opportunity to point out: “We believe in science. We know that climate change is real, we also believe that immigration builds a better country.”

  2. I join the fight when I can. I have recently become embroiled in a battle that is very close to home. I am now wrestling not only with some recently diagnosed and very serious health issues but, in order to get treatment, I’ve also got to wrestle a huge government agency.

    We are currently in the throes of another “revolution” that is going to be as serious and disruptive as the industrial revolution, socially, politically, and economically, and if we don’t get our collective acts together, we’re not going to be able to pull it off. As always, the poor and disenfranchised are going to be bearing the lion’s share of the suffering that these changes will encompass. (I read somewhere that the eight richest people in the world hold as much wealth between them as the entire rest of the world combined — that is, 50% of the world’s wealth is controlled by 8 (eight) people.)

  3. Oh, I’m covered in chill bumps! What amazing words that bring hope and challenge. Ta, Tess!

    The first page of my new calendar has this quotation:
    “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
    – Benjamin Franklin

    A book I read decades ago by Leon Uris (if memory serves) was about a few rich people controlling the world, starting wars, etc. Scary at the time. Scary now.

    Wishing you WELL, WOL.

    As for The Artist’s Way, I’ve never considered myself a writer of anything more than a letter, note, or – as a dearly departed man called his notes – “an encouraging word”. With a lifetime of other forms of creativity behind me, will I fit in here, as a writer? What say ye?


    • Great BF quote Barbara, thank you. Some of Marge Piercy’s futuristic work has the same themes about rich people. And multinational corporations running politics as a side show…
      Artist’s Way isn’t about writing, creativity of any kind. There’s a writing exercise which runs through it, but that’s to free up the creativity, not as an expression of it.

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