I Can’t Shut Up


You are invited to listen to this magical hymn, heaven on earth, love incarnate.

The Prez was in town yesterday. Obama had numerous stops in SF, and Fern and I met up with a few friends to greet him.

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In her own words: For the first time ever, I showed Fern a photo of the Athabasca tar sands. She was silent for a moment and then declared the above sentiment.

While this is not the first protest that Fern has been to (see here and here), this was her first one since entering the conscious wakefulness that is four years old.

While the crowd was small when we arrived, our numbers quickly grew until we were 200.

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Long time readers know about my ongoing involvement to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline (and if you don’t understand the tar sands issue, those two links will help you out). We are still waiting for President Obama to say yay or nay, even while our courts give the green light.

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At this point, given how we shit where we eat, humans need to prove our right to be on this planet.

As the amount of carbon in the atmosphere surpasses 350 parts per million (we are currently at 400 and climbing), I find my own reticence in speaking out to be decreasing.

At one time I kept my mouth shut, about environmental issues, the rights of non-human species or earth grief for fear of social ostracization. Growing up in the 80’s in a Reagan-conservative rah rah rural town taught me quickly that not only would I be ignored if I spoke out, I would be dismissed as ridiculous. Like a scarlet letter, once you are pinned as a bleeding heart by others, every word spoken ever-after is tinged with stigma. You, your thoughts, feelings and perceptions, become inconsequential in your community.

Even at 41 years old, I still get a little knot of fear in my belly every time I do something as “radical” as post unpopular content on FB. And when no-one “likes” my post, in the past I have tucked my tail between my legs and gone underground for a month or two. It might just be Facebook, but for a severe introvert, social media is like those dreams where you show up at school naked.

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Keystone XL pipeline protest at Obama fundraiser in San Francisco
Hey look! My hands are famous! Someone else’s photo from the protest.

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In the past year however, as the parts per million have gone over the tipping point, so have the words gone spilling out of my mouth. Beyond the safe space of this blog, beyond the puddle of Facebook, into my conversations, my actions, my work.

Five years ago, I had a dream where my spirit allies, in animal form, towered over me as I sat in the pasture of my childhood home. I peered up at their height, multiple stories high. I shouted to where their ears touched the sky Why are you so big?!?

Smiling bemusedly, they turned their gaze down to me. They replied…

Why are you so small?

This Thanksgiving week, along with my tender gratitude for my family, for motherhood, for health, safety and abundance, I give thanks for the friends, mentors and colleagues who believe in me. This includes you dear readers, and the friends I have made online, those of you who have witnessed my emergence from shakey sorrow to empowered voice. It is for my family who has supported me in this (long-ass protracted) journey to getting licensed as an MFT, it is for the institute where I work, it is for the small band of like-hearted folk who understand when I tell them why I can’t sleep at night.

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Cheers went up from our crowd at the barricades when “the pipeline” made an appearance.


Two fellas with a baby carriage snuck in a boom box and a small flash mob danced to Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. Awesome video because I had to hold the camera above my head. Anyway, it’s a nice snippet of the spirit of the day.

I have no delusions as to my popularity. All I have to do is write multiple pieces on “serious” subjects to watch my blog stats dwindle. I know I can never please my critics…both externally and internally. And yet, I can’t shut up. Instead of asking the questions of a little girl (why aren’t I lovable?), I instead ask the questions of a professional. How do I get bigger? What is the best way to deliver my voice? Where are the people I can help the most, and how can I reach them? What is the best way to inspire others to feel empowered?

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Anonymous was there too.

I have never had difficulty when in the position of a teacher or facilitator, but the difference is now in combining the personal…especially the meek, tender, wounded bits…with The Big Me. I’m taking off my mask and I’m ready to rock out.

How about you? How is your own voice when it comes to matters close to your heart? And this week in America we are celebrating Thanksgiving…what are your plans for the week? What are you thankful for, down in that cozy heart of yours?

xo

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9 thoughts on “I Can’t Shut Up

  1. DO NOT EVER DARE TO SHUT UP. I feel like because of my life circumstances that I can’t speak out about the things I believe in as loud as I’d like to, but at the same time, I feel like I can’t live in the fear of you know, not getting what I need to make my life here happen (sorry for the euphemisms) and I am forever grateful whenever you voice these concerns because boy did I feel alone before you came along. You are such a big voice. Thank you.

  2. And people who want to wish this stuff away can go suck it. I swear to goodness. You do not have to apologize for giving a shit about you know, our shared future, they should have to apologize for being cowards.

  3. I love the serious subjects. You are keeping it real sister. Your posts are a balance of revelry and sometimes boardering despair– relatable human expereinces. Thank you and keep them coming! They are inspiring.

  4. Dude… I don’t know where to begin. Your integrity and level of commitment to these absolutely critical issues is totally inspiring. It’s also comforting and a kick in the bum at the same time knowing that there are people like you who care about stuff that matters. Don’t ever stop. I really admire your voice, so please, keep using it. The more you keep it real, the less other people will give themselves permission to sit around in denial.

  5. LOVE this, love your voice, love your passion, even love your despair because it is so real and so focused and so knowledgeable. you are such an amazing example to your daughter. i wish you didn’t have to be so fragile, for your own sake, but maybe in the long run it somehow helps you raise your head a little higher, fly your flag a little higher, and truly speak what you know needs to be spoken. I admire you so much!

  6. I fully agree with every comment above! Can’t say it better : o )

    Also, thank you so much for the cricket hymn that’s opening your post. I literally had goosebumps the whole half hour I was listening to it. And tears in my eyes.

    This is what happens when I listen to the “plain” cricket sounds, to the wind in the trees, to the chickadees’ soft conversations, or to the robin’s wistful song. I weep with gratitude, and with something mysterious, deep and undefined, which makes me feel very small (indeed) in this beautiful, vast universe, and yet it fills me up.

    Your voice does this, too.

  7. I heard the cricket song sometime earlier this week and was so moved by it. Such magic!

    I am impressed to see a tar sands protest across the border – I’m from B.C., and the pipelines are such a potent issue for us right now. I watched Rob Stewart’s “Revolution” this past weekend and was shocked to learn that Canada has won the “Fossil of the Year” award five times due to the tar sands…horrendous. Thank you for your voice!

    Megan

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