Lately I have been feeling a bit shaky. Brexit seems really weird to me although I understand the disaffection of folks with politics and media that cater to the elites both in style and substance. Same with the US election with a horrifying set of after effects almost too awful to internalize. And now I confess to deep disappointment with the shilly-shallying that seems to be going on in the Liberal caucus as they try to avoid the idea that votes should equal seats. I was pretty hurt when the Minister of Natural Resources said he would call in the troops and the RCMP to control protests around pipelines. I’m disappointed with our governments, appalled by too many corporate leaders and increasingly afraid for my kids and frankly for myself. I don’t know about you, but pushing rocks up hill can get tiring.
I turn to my girlfriends at times like this and so I called my dear friend Coro Strandberg.
It is not unusual at all for me to cheer up and gather my courage after I have spent a few minutes with her. But this time she really shored me up.
I shared her comments with Frances Littman who said it helped her. So I thought maybe I should pass it on.
This is a time to be asking ourselves are we making the most of our time and talents to support other leaders and to build new ones. Thoughtful people everywhere are asking: What is my job now that we face these realities? The changes that are needed are vast and systemic; the forces against them seem so dark and so vast and so strong. How can I be sure I am doing what I can to both resist and move progressive forces forward?
It is certainly true that system change is needed – but of course systems are made up of individual every day people doing their best. Coro and Frances and I, and I suspect most of you, are spending our time making the world safer for children, less lonely for our parents, supporting young people to emerge into leadership and making civil society stronger.
Coro pointed out that we are blessed. While many progressives around us now struggle to ask what they should do, we are already on track. Yes, the things we do tomorrow might shift as a result of our reflections, but in the meantime the things we do today are the building blocks of a new system, a new world. This new order is emerging although we might not see it for the dark. It is more easily created by adults who felt safe as children and so can be clear about their potential for contribution. If we respect and care for our elders they are more able to keep giving. It is easier for young women if they are well mentored to believe in themselves. If we support young men to be unafraid to keep them company and empowered to be more collaborative, we are all more creative as we dance and sing and cry and pray our way into the future. And as we support them, we build organizations and institutions that are better equipped to work together to take us where we need to go. “Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be”.
A wise friend once remarked that a day without Coro Strandberg is a day without sunshine. So pass it on. Make someone else’s load a little lighter by celebrating what they are doing right now to build a better world. And continue doing it yourself.
Patricia Lane is a lawyer, a mediator, a Director of several not for profits, a mum, a daughter and a mentor and organizer. She lives in Victoria.