A WORLD THAT WORKS—For Everybody
(A talk delivered at Ajijic Women’s March 2018)
By Susa Silvermarie
On January 21 last year, women of all ages and walks of life took to the streets, five million strong on all seven continents. Today marks a continuation of the work of changing the world—each of us one by one, and, each of us united—the work, yes, no less, of changing the world.
Like the world-wide Women’s March last January, the largest protest in U.S. history, we stand in solidarity with women all over the world. We declare that women’s rights are human rights, and we connect to all other progressive movements—for racial equality, for protection of the natural environment, for gay rights, immigration reform, for healthcare reform, to dismantle the war machine, and for multiple other progressive causes.
As women we bind the movements into one resilient strand. As women, we understand that focusing on a single identity can be a path to prejudice. We grow beyond identity politics, to become kindred spirits on parallel pathways- creating a world that works for everybody.
In whatever local or global avenue our heart guides us to contribute our personal effort; we are part of this broad movement toward a sustainable planet. As women and men who share a vision of healing for our Mother Earth and all earthlings, we are an international alliance of peacemakers.
We all know it’s been a tough past year for maintaining hope. Here’s a poem from the writer Ellen Bass to remind us how to carry on:
To Love Life
The thing is
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it,
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it…
Then, you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you.
I will love you again.
The Israeli poet Yehudá Amichaí has a poem I want to share about righteousness. From the politics going on in the US, we’re getting a close-up view of just what self-righteousness looks like— from the outside. Amichaí urges us to notice it and root it out from the inside of ourselves as well.
The Place Where We Are Right
From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow.
In the spring
the place where we are right
is hard and trampled/like a yard
But doubts and loves—
dig up the world
like a mole! like a plow!
And a whisper,
will be heard in the place
where the ruined house
When people feel certain they are the only ones who are morally justifiable— no progress gets made, the ground is “hard,” and no “whispers” of peace can emerge. But now we are in a great wave of transformation, a Turning Time of human evolution. Smack dab in the middle of the short-view, and the chaos that is currently unfolding, we are being called upon to contribute a longer view— what Amichaí calls “the doubts and loves,” the uncertainties, that dig up the world.
We can do this! Clarissa Pinkola Estes reminds us, Friends, don’t lose hope— We were made for these times. I will end with a poem of my own, called
One Thousand Years of Healing
From whence my hope, I cannot say,
except it grows in the cells of my skin;
in my envelope of mysteries, it hums.
In this sheath so akin to the surface of the earth,
hope whispers. Beneath
the wail and dissonance in the world,
hope’s song grows. Until I know
that with this turning
we put a broken age to rest.
We who are alive at such a cusp
now usher in
one thousand years of healing!
Winged ones and four-leggeds,
grasses and mountains and each tree,
all the swimming creatures,
even we, wary two-leggeds
hum, and call, and create
the Changing Song. We remake
all our relations. We convert
our minds to the earth. In this turning time
we finally learn to chime and blend,
attune our voices; sing the vision
of the Great Magic we move within.
the new habit, getting up glad
for a thousand years of healing.