At some point in our dinner conversation I noticed Kate, of Richard and Kate, had a piece of paper folded into a card standing next to her placemat, on it a cross-legged Donald Trump sitting in the kind of orange toga usually reserved for Buddhist monks. I bristled a bit at the juxtaposition, but Kate was inspiring with her gentle words reminding us that we can choose to despise someone (which is, they say, like taking poison and expecting the other person to die) or we can send energy of a new and improved version (of our 45th President--45 for short) into the Universe, careening toward and building like-energy. This is Law of Attraction stuff--getting exactly what we envision. If we envision and fear war, the law states, we get war. If we envision and seek peace, we get peace.
It's the perfect example of "for" work that appeals to those of us who are are longing to do something to quell our terror of our newly seated zombie government, but do so in a positive way. "For" work is attending a peace march instead of a protest. It's working for food policy instead of against Monsanto. It is building an emergency shelter bus to send to Standing Rock. We are often too tired to work "against" anything after a long week. Kate was urging us to consider a whole new way, holding positive energy for what we'd like to have happen. She meditates this positive energy 30 minutes a day. I was inspired by her invention and wondered how I could contribute something "for" that fit for me.
I couldn't help but think of our Peruvian Shaman saying with a smirk two years earlier:
Pachamama (Mother Earth) will be fine. It will be us who will disappear, because of of our destructive ways. But we cannot be arrogant enough to believe we can save her. Our most valuable contribution is to create environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual fulfillment each day in our own lives, starting with creating a reciprocal relationship with Pachamama--mutually beneficial, taking only what we need, and never taking more than we give.
To avoid this work ourselves creates a double standard and hypocrisy for our do-gooding.
After Kate and Richard left my mind wandered--looking for ways to work for my values in daily actions. Take environmental sustainability--we compost and recycle, minimize purchasing new/excessive packaging, shop companies that support our values, are committed to native plants, don't use or dump hazardous material, the accepted practices. But there are plenty of volunteer hours I could spend in my own backyard.
I thought of the annoying invasive water plant crawling through my flower beds from up the hill, creeping down toward the creek behind our home. It is a pretty, and nasty little bugger that left unabated will overtake the stream (used by the neighborhood wildlife, including a beaver family), and create a hotbed mosquito nursery, which in organized city governments causes a call for chemicals that will wind up in the river a stone's throw from here. I can complain about my city government's knee-jerk application of Round-up (which has not been proven to eradicate this plant), or I can lead an effort on my street to get rid of the need to spray chemicals by digging out the spring sprouts as they appear. As luck would have it this plant needs to be removed by the tablespoonful, and disposed of without replanting--a tedious complication I find somehow satisfying.
I could also do some work close to home on social justice. I have tenuous relationships with members of my family. If I cannot initiate/support peace in my own relationships how can I expect other fallible human beings to fix such things across the globe? Resolution boosts my sleep and mental health and allows me to bring my best to my work and those around me. I make less mistakes, cause less accidents due to my pre-occupation with my own dysfunction. I am more productive when I am peaceful. I sleep better when I am peaceful. I can spread the wealth of cooperation and tolerance when I am peaceful. Because I teach, I have a unique opportunity to model integrity, authenticity, empathy and regard for human dignity. This is the world I want, not a divisive and cruel one.
While I was stuck, trying to figure out what to do next, I had time to consider that just maybe I was meant to save the only one I could save--my own mind, heart, body and spirit so I can be available to reach out a hand to others who need it. Others, who often did not enjoy the same privilege as did I.
By working "for" I conserve my energy for "against" stuff, for the marching, chanting and sign carrying I might need to do when the time is right--March 8th for A Day Without Women and April 29th for the People's Climate March. I hope to see you there.