By Deborah Padgett
“Peace begins within. …The glory of the human spirit lies in our ability to choose, to let go of despair, to turn our energies to creative uses. Peace begins with resolution of our inner wars.” — Promise of a New Day, Karen Casey & Martha Vanceburg, passage from Dec. 13.
How I have struggled between speaking out and remaining still! My world today seems a veritable Tower of Babel with everyone talking and no one listening, caring, contemplating or taking heart. I want to scream “words matter, reason matters, facts and data matter”! I cannot make sense of the images of cruelty or the excuses for perpetuating suffering that could be alleviated. I feel battered by the voices that defy reason; the blatant lies accepted as truth merely because they’ve been repeated over and over again. Many times I have experienced gaslighting and crazy-making, illogical diatribes through which it seems my voice can never be heard.
My first attempt at writing a column this month, was titled “I’m Speaking!” I was inspired by Vice President Elect Kamala Harris and her calm, dynamic, knowledgeable, persevering and compassionate words when she was interrupted during a debate. These words have been applauded by and taken up as a mantra by women everywhere, and for good reason. I spoke of the history and tirelessness of women showing up and speaking up, a tradition I enjoyed following in, and the forces that serve to silence them.
The more I contemplated speaking my convictions and/or my complicity in remaining silent, the more the cacophony of careless and thoughtless speech crowded my mind.
In recent times my troubled mind, my fears for my loved ones and the future, my grief at the massive loss of life, my fear of becoming sick myself or of losing my true life’s love have left me awake in the night. Last night I found rest in a Yoga Nidra practice led by Jennifer Piercy. Her close and soothing voice urged: “Set your deep resolve for this practice. Ask yourself: in your life right now, what is your deepest, most heartfelt desire? … Now, see and feel your life with the fulfillment of this desire. What would your life look, sound, smell and taste like if this deepest desire were a reality? State your desire like a mantra. Then give thanks and let it go…“ Over the years I‘ve engaged in this and other meditative practices I have settled on a mantra of “love what is” along with, what sometimes seems the conflicting notion to “be the change.”
I slept soundly and awakened to my morning ritual of listing those things I feel good about today. I reached for my daily passage in The Promise of a New Day. I found resolution for my conflict between speaking out and silent acceptance. I returned to the heartfelt desire I embraced in my sleeplessness. My desire, my choice, my pursuit, is to be the change I wish to see in the world. To speak out but listen, too. And as I act and speak for change, with all my heart, I will also love what is, for that is where freedom is found.
Deborah Padgett is a writer and visual artist living in the West 7th community. Please visit http://padgettstudios.com/