“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Most of us are about as eager to change as we are to be born and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.”
– James Baldwin
“Just DO it,” says my dear friend Susan. Twenty years my friend and absolutely my role model for confidence and honesty. “Easy as one, two, three,” she insists. “ Talk to the realtor you are hiring to represent YOU. 1) Name your price. 2) Set your closing date. 3) Take charge.”
I’m not big on taking charge. I come from simplicity. My mother comes from Irish Protestant poverty. My father comes from Dutch Reformed rigidity. Money matters.
Of course money matters to all of us. However, some of us have a more difficult time than others thinking in terms of buying and selling houses.
For me, I am reticent to admit, it takes considerable amount of pulling up my boot straps and listening to those who think more bravely than I do, never mind pure guts to ask for the price I want. And then to trust that I am not being (god forbid!) greedy, rude, or selfish.
I am in the midst of exceeding change as I prepare to move home and business out of Canada where I have been held safely and happily for almost 30 years, back to the United States, the country of my birth. Leaving Toronto, having intentionally and mindfully created a rich, full, satisfying personal and professional life is very hard to do. I feel sad. I grieve for the ending of a phase of my life that not only gave me great joy, but I was able to share with my adult children and grandchildren.
I leave what has been so good for me as well as my family, and return to my roots uncertain about what I will now be facing. In many ways the U. S, has become unrecognizable to me. Where has the home of my birth gone? As Trump steps into the highest position in the country and begins to wheeled a cruel, unkind, and unjust power, I find myself frustrated and filled with a great deal of uncertainty. Most of all I am appalled and scared by how much support and encouragement – and how little censor—he is receiving from his own party.
I am working on two levels of complexity here, maybe more as I go deeper into my soul. I find that stressful. Financially I need to be safe as I sell my Toronto home and build a home for myself in Michigan. But in the world of January, 2017, I lovingly acknowledge that I am leaving a country where I feel proud and can hold my head high. I leave to live in a country where at this point in time I am feeling shame and tension, if not fear. I must muster all the courage I have to march into the United States holding steady with my values of justice, diversity and kindness. The reason for my move is that as I age I also want to be closer to my family.
As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, as vulnerable, needy people get trampled on and ignored and turned away, as we allow dignity and compassion to fade into the distance and violence and bullying becomes almost the norm, and as we feel desperate and disenfranchised, we absolutely find that we are loosing our grip on what is sacred, holy, just, and fair. We become numb out of disbelief that this is really happening to us.
James Baldwin says most of us go through life in shock. I call it numb or unconscious. I will no longer walk through life in a fog. I will face the truth of what I want for my personal life: a goodly amount of money for my home in Toronto and a closing date that is close to when my new home in Michigan will be ready for me to move into. At the same time, at a whole more difficult level of awareness, I will take with me the values, the dreams and the expectations I have come to cherish while living in Canada, and return to home in the U.S. with the intention of finding a way to make a difference and to hold steady with those values and beliefs.
Facing change takes lady balls.
I feel amazing relief throughout my body when I melt into the knowing of what I just said. I am not lying to myself about what the U.S. has to offer. I don’t know what, if anything I can change. I lead with my value in justice, diversity and kindness. I am far more likely to get that when I am able to put into words what I fear I may be facing as I make this move. I feel freer when I am able to put words to what my body knows I want.
I also fervently hope a newer, fresher, kinder and more joyful world will emerge out of the chaos and upheaval Trump and his associates are creating. A world that embraces all children, whatever their country of origin might be. A world where all can thrive, where beauty is embraced and differences accepted. I feel intuitively a small light of hope hovering in the back ground, a quiet hum of expectancy. There is reason to hope that with the support of millions of others throughout the world, change for the good can happen. Witness the masses that have rallied together over the last several days all over the world, beginning in Australia the day following Trump’s inauguration and including the March in Washington D. C. Sixty thousand people marched in Toronto and rallied around Nathan Philips Square in support of diversity.
There will always be unknowns and uncertainty. As I let Susan’s confident voice continue to whisper in my ear (just DO it!), I know I can move into the future with grace and dignity.
Out of the dark belly of the whale great possibilities might very well be tossed up onto the shore. A new opportunity for growth and change, I believe, just quivers with the delight of all possibilities that can bring us to a lush, thriving, sacred world again.
Which is how it all began. And which is how it absolutely should be.