It’s quite a time to be alive.
On the 28th, I celebrated a full quarter century alive on earth.
I spent it brunching, bowling, and marveling at the all the beautiful wishes that poured my way from so many incredible people, including all of you.
Your messages filled me with such gratitude. And not only that, but with a renewed sense of strength and purpose that at times this past week has been hard to find.
I haven’t slept much in the days that followed Trump’s inauguration. I feel this intense need to be "doing something" at all so hours, so I've found myself traveling to document the marches, writing about what I’ve witnessed, and producing and editing all types of content in response. I’ve been doing my best to stay as informed and versed as possible in the political and social developments as they unfold, because despite the apparent intellect (or lack there of) of the new Cheeto in Chief, I know that knowledge is power.
And I'm not gonna lie, it’s been kinda draining. My brain is spinning trying to comprehend the current state of affairs, my spirit's being tested by some of it, and my heart is too often aching thinking of those already so deeply affected.
But I know it’s the right thing to do. And really, it's the least I can do. What I'm capable of contributing might not be grand; my individual impact seems pretty minuscule and irrelevant when I put it in a macro lens, but it’s all I have. I’m using whatever skills and talents and connections and time and measures I have to do what I know to be right.
Because, well, that’s all I can do...
But just imagine, all of us did that?
Just imagine what would happen if each of us gave up 15 minutes of our lunch hour to put something good back in the world. What would happen if we all donated just 1% of our paycheque towards legal services for refugees or to an environmental protection organization?
Imagine we all gave out just one more smile a day. Or looked each other in the eye a little more...
Imagine we lived in world where there were less walls, less bans, and more love.
Pretty nice, huh?
Now imagine it’s really possible.
Because it is.
If you haven't taken a moment to try on an optimistic view of the world these past fews days, I invite you to do so now. Because trust me when I say I know how easy it is to drown in fear and be consumed by anger. But you and I both know our fear and our anger is only useful when we use it, rather than allow it to use us. And one way I've been able to find some balance and come away from my own sadness and frustration, is by celebrating my life, our victories, and by professing gratitude for the good that still exists all over the globe.
So, I challenge you, the next time you turn on the news, try taking a look at the thousands of people all over the world that for days on end have been marching in support of women, Muslims, immigrants, refugees and human rights everywhere. Check out the lawyers that have left their offices to station themselves on airport floors around America. Read about how the giant panda and the manatee are no longer on the endangered species list and that China has announced to finally put an end to it's ivory trade. Celebrate the fact the Colombian government and FARC finally signed a peace agreement, ending their war that was responsible for the loss of millions of lives, or that Canadians developed a vaccine for Ebola that has a 100% success rate! Rejoice in the fact that in so many ways, this new presidency has brought millions of people around the world together to fight against the suppression of minorities, the segregation of races & religions, and displayed just how deeply powerful we are when we stand together for what it RIGHT.
These wounds were not born on January 20th and they won't be healed in a day either. So we can't afford to burn out. Feed your minds and hearts with light so that on the dark days you can still see the truth that goodness can and will always find a way to prevail.
If we fight for it.
Yes, we have to fight. You don't have to be hero. Nobody is asking you to quit you job and fly to the front lines of demonstration to chain yourself to a pipeline - if you can and you're called to, by all means! - but we can all start by just doing what's right.
Something I listen to almost every day, to reminder myself of how I want to live and use my time in this world is a recording of Dr. Maya Angelou saying this:
"Just do right.
Right not may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul.
It brings you the kind of protection that body guards can't give you.
Try to be all you can be, to be the best human being you can be. Try to be that in your church, in your temple. Try to be that in your classroom.
Do it because it is right to do.
You see, people will know you. And they will add their prayers to your life; they'll wish you well.
I think if your name is mentioned and people say "Oh, hell...", I think you're doing something wrong!
But if your name is mentioned and people say, "Oh she's so sweet" or "He's so nice - god bless him!"... well, there you are!
So try to live you life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity.
Take up the battle. Take it up.
It's yours; this is your life. This is your world!
I'll be leaving it long before you under the ordinary set of circumstances.
You make your own choices.
You can decide life's isn't worth living, and that would be the worst thing you could do;
How do you know?!
Maybe so far...
but try it; just SEE.
So pick it up.
Pick up the battle.
And make it a better world.
Just where you are.
And it can be better...
And it must be better.
But it is up to us."
At this moment in time, it's so evident to me that it is up to us. And that's something I can be truly grateful for this year.
We have the power to do what's right. Just right where we are. And that was reason enough for me to celebrate another year here on earth.
So fuel up! Spend time with the people who'll lend you their light so that you can take up your battles when they come.
And from the mooshiest, gooshiest depths of my insides, thank you for your beautiful wishes; your light is never lost on me.
Here's to more life.