I don’t know about you but the news lately can feel … relentless. And as we stack our losses upon one another the weight of our grief can feel exhausting and immobilizing.
Yes, we saw it coming and yet it was no less devastating when Roe v. Wade was finally overturned by the US Supreme Court. We felt the shockwaves on this side of the border and I’m pretty sure they reverberated around the world.
We felt the loss of bodily autonomy, the loss of safety, the loss of access to much-needed healthcare, the loss of freedom of choice, and more. For some it brings up traumatic wounds we haven’t yet healed, for others, it fuels the fire of our rage or the deep anxiety of an uncertain future. And, of course, some are celebrating which maybe feels like salt on open wounds.
I’m not even sure what to say. I feel at a supreme loss for words, but I know I need to say something because secrecy and silence never help to move things forward.
I’ve read about how this is the ‘backslide’, that we’re being called to take up the fight as our ancestors did. And I’m 100% for that, but first I think we need to lay some groundwork. Do a bit of an assessment of where we are and how we’re feeling, and then look at how we’ll move forward…together.
First, it’s okay to feel heartbroken. Being heartbroken doesn’t mean YOU are broken.
Feeling such a flurry of emotions reminded me of the importance of grounding during these messed up times. The root chakra is all about our right to be here and take up space. This decision feels like a violation of that. So it might be helpful to really slow down, connect with and care for our root chakra. (ideas over here)
The myths of grief have been popping up everywhere too. “Be strong” and “give it time”, and our tendency to “grieve alone” all do us a disservice. Isolation is the last thing we need. And if we want to keep fighting for everyone’s basic human rights we need to find a way to honour all our emotions, feel them, and move through them. Because when we heal, we’re able to rise.
This fight will be a marathon, not a sprint, which means we need to find a way to do this work sustainably. It can feel overwhelming (ugh, how do you take on a whole friggin’ system?!) and when something feels big and beyond us, we can convince ourselves that our voice doesn’t matter or that our actions are insignificant. It may also trigger unhealed patterns of learned helplessness.
Your Presence Matters
Showing up matters. You don’t have to show up perfectly. You don’t have to have it all figured out or know the right things to say. It’s okay if you’re still educating yourself about the situation. Don’t wait until you have all the answers. Show up curious and willing to learn because your presence matters.
If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.~ African Proverb
Take Good Care of Yourself
Be gentle with yourself. If you can, make space for days (or moments) when you need to rest and grieve. Lean on your self-care practices. Stop doom-scrolling. And remember that hiding is not the same as knowing and honouring your limits.
Take Care of Each Other
We need to lean on one another more than ever right now. We need everyone working together to create change.
When Canada Geese fly south, they fly in the shape of a V. The bird at the front does most of the work, and the others ride on the slipstream it creates. When the bird at the front gets tired another takes the lead. And together they can travel up to 1500miles/ day in good weather.
We can take a similar approach to our social justice work. We can take turns leading in our families, friend circles, and communities. Understanding that when someone needs to take a step back or rest it doesn’t mean they don’t care or they are less motivated or passionate than you are – only that they need to rest and recharge.
As we did with the Me Too Movement we need to get loud. To normalize conversations around body autonomy, tell our stories of abortion and how the freedom of choice has shaped our lives so we can dispel the secrets, lies, and illusions that keep us silent and stuck in shame. There is no shameful reason to have an abortion. Read that again.
Men, where you at?
This is not a woman’s issue it’s a human issue. When I say we need everyone I mean everyone whether you were born with a uterus or not.
Your silence is hard to read and our default assumption is that you’re a threat because right now, everything feels like a threat.
Your voice and your presence matter too. It’s a signal to the people in your life who are devastated by this decision that you’re safe, you support us, and you care.
Educate yourself about the issue and all the ramifications for privacy laws, gay marriage, trans rights, and interracial marriage so you can show up in solidarity. Because this affects you too. Here are a couple of places to start, Darius Bashar and Justin Baldoni.
Men, you don’t have to have it all figured out either. You don’t need to know the perfect thing to say. It’s okay to learn as you go. Be open and willing to listen to the lived experience of people who are impacted by this decision. Practice being a compassionate presence – a heart with ears.
Start by supporting and holding space for the people in your life who have a uterus (women, trans, and non-binary folks). See them. Witness them. Validate them. Protect them. Stand up for them. Without trying to “fix it”, without dismissing their fears, and without getting offended by their anger.
We have a raging river of mixed-up emotions and we need you to be the riverbanks. The safe, divine masculine container where we can express our emotions. We need your steady presence because the only way we correct his backward slide is through unity, through coming together, and through relentlessly demanding our right to choose in this and all areas of our lives.
Actions We Can All Take
⓵ Name the emotions coming up for you. This will help you to complete the stress cycle so you don’t spiral.
② Get involved. Rallies and marches are already happening. Bansoff.org will help you find one near you.
⓷ Take action. Donate to a local Planned Parenthood, independent clinics, and abortion funds like @abortionfunds to support over 80 abortion funds across the USA. This helps ensure that the people who need them can access them. Also, elections have consequences. Text CHOICE to 855-812-VOTE
④ Stay connected with friends and family so you don’t feel isolated – even social media spaces can help us feel connected to others who feel the same way.
Together we’re stronger. We will not back down. We will never give up. WE are the answer. Action is the antidote.