Rising from the ashes

From the ashes we rise up anew.  The Phoenix – a mythological bird that dies in a show of flames and combustion but then through the ashes is reborn – has been a fitting metaphor for the 2016 election. The election is over and many of us are feeling big emotions. The challenge is to be able to honor these feelings, be with them, and then grow from them.

Drawing Parallels From The Firebird Suite

I’ve watched a lot of Fantasia 2000 as of late. It’s my kid’s favorite movie and I’m grateful that it is classical music. However, watch something over a hundred times and you can look past the original story line and draw metaphors and analogies to your own life. The Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky has been helping me frame this volatile election cycle.

If you’re a little rusty on your Fantasia 2000, here’s a quick refresher of the story:

In the dormancy of winter, a beautiful elk walked in to a cave and summoned Mother Nature to awaken spring. And she did. She created wildflowers, flowering trees, green meadows, until she encountered a volcano. The Phoenix awoke from her gentle touch. Images of death and suffering were visible in the billowing smoke. Magma oozed over the once vibrant spring landscape. Mother Nature was aghast. The Phoenix destroyed everything she loved.

The elk survived and surveyed the destruction. Stunned but with steady footsteps, he walked forward. Like before he called on Mother Nature. She was not as vibrant as she once was. Now smaller and weaker, she wanted to give up hope. The elk’s gaze summoned up the strength for her to lean on him.  She cried when the elk galloped to take her to a place she once loved. New growth shot up when the tears touched the scorched soil. Seeing the new growth, Mother Nature brought the rain and then the redwoods, meadows, and wildflowers.

And Now The Gif Version Of The Firebird Suite:

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Fantasia 2000 lava scene from The Firebird Suite

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The analogy, as I see it, is Mother Nature is the United States and we are the elk and this election was that Phoenix. The election is over but there are still glowing embers. It is difficult to see past the destruction and suffering.  The United States has some grieving and some healing to do. I believe that we will need to find the elk’s steadfastness within ourselves and give the US her strength to raise up.

Inaction And Passivity Can No Longer Be Tolerated

Also known as “Thanks, Obama!”

You see, there’s this narrative that I like to tell myself: I’m just too busy.  Additionally, I recognize in myself a passivity that comes from an attitude of somebody else will take care of it.  And, in my mind’s eye, that onus fell on President Obama. I think he’s done some great work and I’m glad that I put my trust in him. However, I made it too easy for myself  to believe that I didn’t need to take any action of my own.

So, yeah, Thanks Obama. giphy (13).gif

I did the token amount of what was required to perform my civic duty. I will gladly serve on a jury (and I have), I vote, and I’ll fill out an online petition here and there. However, that was the extent of my actions to help my community. Until now.

A Call To Action

Let’s rise up from the ashes and find our inner strength to do what is right. To be kindness and help others, our communities, and this earth. Let us make this country a home for love and acceptance for all persons.

We cannot watch idly and believe that others will take action on our behalf. Let us be our own advocates and each other’s allies.

26 Ways To Make A Difference

This was a rapid fire list to get us started. Please share your ideas on ways we can positively make a difference in our communities and each other’s lives.

  1. Smile at someone
  2. Offer a genuine compliment
  3. Participate in a drive (food, school, pet supplies)
  4. Write a thank you card or a letter
  5. Buy locally
  6. Play Sneaky Cards
  7. Do a favor and don’t expect anything in return
  8. Plant trees
  9. Plant wildflowers
  10. Be vegetarian for a day
  11. Practice water conservatism
  12. Start a garden
  13. Compost
  14. Recycle
  15. Bring your own grocery bags
  16. Go for a walk and pick up any litter you see
  17. Wear a safety pin or don’t – more importantly, be an ally
  18. Speak up if you see bullying, racism, sexism, or any form of discrimination
  19. Find volunteer opportunities in your hometown with VolunteerMatch.org
  20. Donate to any (or all of these) pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-earth and anti-bigotry organizations
  21. Visit Charity Navigator to find a local non-profit that needs your support
  22. Write to your Congressman or Congresswoman
  23. Vote
  24. Serve on a jury
  25. Find the good in people
  26. Bring out the good in people (show them how)

 

Thank you for reading this post. Thank you for giving some thought to trying out a couple of these suggestions out. I hope when you do any of these acts that you feel good, right down to your core. Thank you for being a part of a rippling positive force in your community.

It is through changing ourselves that we can begin to change the world. 

 

With love and kindness,

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Carousel Of Friends

According to my father, you can count your true friends on one hand.  There were a lot of things my folks said that are just now starting to resonate. Guess I should log this away for my future self that parenting isn’t synonymous with instant gratification. Here comes your validation, Dad: You were right. 

A Once Social Butterfly

Middle and high school, man oh man, was I rambunctious! And, not surprising, I had a gaggle of friends. Dad laid down this gem on me and I was flabbergasted. Did he not see the Best Friends Forever charm necklace I was wearing?

Hanging Out With Ma Buddies
Yeah. We were cool. Real cool.

And then came college and hanging out was the curriculum. While I didn’t admit it to myself, my wide net of close-knit friends were getting more intimate.

Care Bear Stare
Together we could do anything. Like cram for an exam or beer pong.

Then graduation came, I got hitched, and moved across country. And goramit (if you get that reference and think it’s awesome, you cool. We can hang.), it is so much harder to make friends as an adult especially when you’ve left all your social circles behind.

Jayne from Firefly
Meeting new people and trying to make friends as an adult does take some courage.

Friendships Are Hard

I’m adulting now and there are benefits like happy hours and going out for a dance class if I want to. Now wait a minute! Creating and maintaining friendships feels a lot like work. Remember the whole I’m an adult now, thing? Well, there are some drawbacks: chores (that apparently never go away), working for that paycheck, hanging with the hubbs (less adulting and more because I want to, hence why I married him).

John Cleese with a pig from Monty Python
Excuses, excuses and more lame excuses.

I don’t have the time to cultivate the friendships that came so easily before.

Ephinany time! (Sing like “Hammer Time”!) Perhaps the friendships that came together so effortlessly before also fell by the wayside just as easily because the bonds were superficial.  The hard work to make a friendship special also makes it more like that the relationship will last.

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And that’s why the next part stings.

Saying Goodbye And Thanks For All The Fish Memories

I’ve had some friendships that just abruptly stopped. Maybe I got dumped. Maybe things changed in their or our lives and we just weren’t compatible. “But what about all that time I invested?!”, my ego wants to shout.

Well, bringing it full circle, I guess those folks just won’t be counted off on my right hand. And that’s OK.

Slow time lapse of a flower blooming in black and white
Peace comes from within

And so now I offer up some reconciliation (to myself):

Dear former friend – we don’t talk anymore and I miss that. I miss the varied topics we’d discuss and how you challenged me as a person. I miss that this chapter in our lives is over but I’m OK with it now. I want to thank you for all the lovely memories and all the lessons you’ve imparted.  My wish for you is that you are healthy, happy and at peace. 

Sincerely,

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