BY JUDITH WALCUTT
January 11, 2017
I’ll be brief. I am incredibly busy. On the one hand, I have a lot to do in my new role as active activist actively engaging in any activity that helps build the resistance and resilience for what lies ahead. On the other hand, I have to take the tree down and put our shop-worn holiday spirits back in the box out of which they burst, with their ho-ho-ho’s and their ha-ha-hollies in tow.
Like any sensible woman would, I am going to multi-task-catch-up on the holiday letter I was too busy to write, put away the ornaments that are hanging on our now dried-up remnant of a wispy, wild tree, and do my best to save the world to the extent that I am able. So, like I said, I’ll be brief and go about my way.
The kids came home for my husband David’s 80th birthday, which was a magical moment all of its own. None of us—not him, not me, not they, not anyone we know or don’t know—can believe that he is 80. He may not look it (whatever that looks like these days), or act it, because whatever “it” is, he just keeps doing it and reminding all of us that it can be done! We had a cabaret for him at the Ott & Murphy Wine Tasting Room, and pretty much the whole town turned out. He read a piece of his newly finished George Tirebiter murder mystery, “The Flying Saucer Murder Case,” and left us wanting more. Friends read from his various works and books of the last fifty years, and the crowded room wrote him a poem together, one line of which, though not penned by me, sums it up for me with the moniker “Gallant poet of Love.”
I couldn’t agree more. So, whoever wrote that: Thank you for saying it short and sweet.
Christmas itself was the usual colorful blur — how fortunate we were, I thought more than once, to be here, on Honeymoon Bay, together, close, and warm, with enough, more than enough, for everyone. The boys had brought their sweet girls with them, and the whole house rang with laughter born of happiness which is the “sacred happiness that is sorrow-less” — the happiness which has not to do with what is outside, but everything to do with what is inside, as an ancient Buddhist prayer for all sentient beings frames it. I share a version taught us by Dza Kilung Rinpoche with you here, in hopes it will give you heart too:
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness —
May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow —
May all never be separated from the sacred happiness
which is sorrow-less, and live in abundant equanimity,
without too much attachment or too much aversion,
and live believing in the equality of all that lives.
Taking solace in this sort of heart-held happiness strengthens me, brings me back to a center which holds, even when all else is chaos. That’s part of my job now — holding a center together within myself, so that I can put the figurative oxygen mask on the metaphorical passenger next to me, or perform spiritual CPR, if needed, in a crisis.
To that end, David and I went to San Francisco right after New Year’s, to meet with the consortium of lawyers, the Center for Progressive Reform, who are deeply engaged on a volunteer basis to save the water, the land, the air, the sea, and the people who depend on those resources for their living. Come to think of it, who doesn’t depend on those resources for, well … everything?
We were heartened by hearing and seeing for ourselves the elevated thinking and dedicated quality of heroism at work among these individuals. They are working relentlessly even now to make the case, by applying the legitimate laws of our land, for preservation of the crucial ingredients necessary for human life to continue in this country—and on this planet. I will be helping them in any way I can, but most particularly by bringing their message to a wider, broader public. Red, Blue, Purple, Green — Come on people! Can we talk?
So what are you doing and what can you do? According to the members of this brain trust, the Think-and-Do Tank of CPR, the most effective thing you could do, as citizens, is 1) show up in person to be counted and 2) call your representatives, relentlessly, and let them know what you think. Calling is better than writing or emailing. It used to be we said “Become the revolution you want to see,” but now, right now, become the resistance you need to be. Arise, phoenix-like, and be seen, be counted, be heard.
OK, I’m almost done, but one last thing along these lines. Here is some found wisdom, captured on my sojourn. I thought it was so true and it succinctly summarizes what I have been hurriedly scribbling here, that I am passing it on to you, too. Think it; feel it; do it. Yes, we still can.
Judith Walcutt is a writer, rebooted activist, and public media producer living on Whidbey Island with her husband, gallant poet of love, and creative collaborator of over 30 years, David Ossman.
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