Events during the Trump years brought me to edges of despair and depths of depression that were near crippling. But I had my coaching program, my writing cohort and my new practice of chanting with my mala beads. I was just finding some peace when Covid hit.
Events of the past 2+ years pushed me to a place of fear that was, well, deeply frightening. I bought a Tao mediation book and then an entire collection of Rumi poetry. I learned Reiki and explored deep breath work and eventually felt my spiritual ship coming into safe harbor. And then . . .
Events of the past month – war, destruction, human brutality – felt like a visceral assault and pushed me, once again, to the edge of despair. No amount of chanting or breathing seemed to work. And now . . .
Events of the past week blew past my despair. Now, I’m just plain enraged. There’s no place for Zen in my psyche at the moment.
I was seventeen at the time of Roe vs. Wade. I couldn’t vote but I marched and campaigned and when the life-changing ruling came down, my politically naïve youth thought my right to choose was hard won and done. We celebrated to the 1971 anthem by Helen Reddy, “I am Woman” having answered her call to action to stand up and let the world hear us roar. I held a deep belief that things were changing for women. But we didn’t really listen to her last prescient verse, warning that we had . . .
“. . . a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand.”
I’m roaring now, not just for me, but for all women, including my daughters-in-law and future granddaughters who may not have freedoms that I took for granted.
Desperate Times = Desperate Text Messages
I needed an outlet, so I blew up my future daughter-in-law’s text message inbox. (Is it an inbox? I didn’t know how to phrase that…) In any case, I knew she’d understand so I offered a few remedies:
Idea #1: Let’s start a petition to pass a law requiring all males to have a reversable vasectomy at the age of thirteen. It would have a provision that allows the procedure to be reversed only when their legal wife or partner allows it. I think that’s a great start to addressing unwanted pregnancies. It’s safer and healthier for women who wouldn’t have to bear the burden of contraceptive side effects. And, it lets men know what it feels like to have someone else in charge of your body. I’m serious here…
Idea #2: If that doesn’t work, we can take a lesson from Lysistrata, the Greek play by Aristophanes, where women withhold sexual privileges from their men until they end the Peloponnesian War. See? Even in 411 B.C. women were seen as the smarter of the sexes. If only we could get all the women in America to do the same thing until some sort of sanity returns to our political system. And there’d be a lot less unwanted pregnancies.
Idea #3: California could secede from the union and ask Canada to adopt us as their next province. We could invite Oregon and Washington to join us so we could then build a wall along our eastern border. I think Trudeau and Newsom would have the perfect bromance – bonding over cool socks and hair product. And adding California’s GDP would vault Canada into the 4th largest economic powerhouse in the world. (I actually took the time to research this and do the math.) Did I mention I’m serious here?
To her credit, she “loved” each of my ideas and then told me she’s available for a glass of wine any time.
While drinking heavily was one possible way to finding my Zen, I thought I’d try online shopping first.
I found Reiki-infused candles for each of my chakras. They looked like a rainbow which brightened my spirits. The instructions said to focus on one chakra at a time but I was desperate, so I lit them all at once. The combined scents were so overwhelming, I thought I’d faint. Then I thought, At least I don’t have Covid if I can smell these candles. I’ve been airing out the house for days.
A more practical idea was to find my application for Canadian citizenship (started right after Trump won in 2016) and actually submit it. Notably, their application fee has gone down since then! Perhaps they are feeling sorry for us so they lowered the price of application.
While I’m waiting for their response, I decided to do the usual things; increase my donations, write my representatives, find the nearest rally to attend and straighten my yard signs declaring Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Fight for Things You Care About. That still didn’t seem like enough until my son suggested we go to a Giants game for Mother’s Day.
What better place to find my Zen than a baseball game? I hadn’t been to a game since 2019, so returning to the park was like returning home. I spent a glorious afternoon sitting in the sun, looking out on the bay, surrounded by a crowd celebrating women.
Players wore pink socks and used pink bats to honor breast cancer survivors. Messages of love & gratitude appeared on the Jumbotron all afternoon. Best of all, there were so many young girls twirling down the walkway in a beautiful assortment of black and orange tutus, pink baseball caps, and tinsel pompoms while carrying their mitts in hopes of catching a foul ball. Those young girls, so comfortable with their wardrobe choices, deserve to continue to live in a world that accepts them as they are, protects them in every way and allows them the freedom to choose how they live their lives.
I may not know the exact path to restoring my Zen, but today was a good first step.