I went to Ash Devine’s concert last night, “Songs of Love and Revolution.” It lived up to its name: there was lots of love and lots of revolution.
But for me the biggest highlight of the evening was a song that Ash obviously values a lot, too, because she features it on her web site. Here’s the song: I Chose You. Half-way through the song, she shifts from “I chose you” to “Life chose you”. This is where it gets really juicy for me.
Ash has obviously paid attention to where life has chosen her. She has surrendered herself to her music – the writing of it, the recording, the performing. She has pursued healing clown work internationally. Her clown colleague Charlotte said to me last night during the intermission that the radical part of that work is that you meet people on a deeper, more unvarnished way than people usually meet – and that you are doing it cross-culturally, with some undervalued and under-supported people.
Ellen Rubenstein Chelmis let life choose her to launch these rallies. It was not her natural skillset. Lots within her resisted the role. But she didn’t see anyone else coming forward to do it – no one did for the first week of the national roll-out. So at 10:30 p.m. on the second Monday she went into the MoveOn system and registered a 3 p.m. Tuesday rally. The next day was full of stressful activities to make the rally happen. She skipped breakfast. She got a headache from not having her daily coffee. She threw her shoulder out from carrying a big heavy table over to the rally site. But she did it. Forty-five people came. She knew that it wasn’t going to work for her to do this every week, but she let life choose her for the first week.
When I arrived at that Tuesday rally, I knew that I needed some greater political involvement to work against what I see as very destructive forces afoot in our country. So when I met Ellen and she very quickly told me that she was looking for somebody to take over organizing the rallies, I recognized this as a calling – life was choosing me. I actually do have some of the needed skill set. I worked for many years in organization development, specializing in team development and management coaching. Before that, I worked for 20 years as a clinical psychologist – helping people to develop and groups to function more effectively.
I also am a writer – who for the last many months have been lacking a project. The day after I agreed to organize the rallies, I had a shock of recognition around writing – this is it! I’ll write a blog about our rallies. And that previous day, our first day of rallies, I was handed the theme of the blog. When some friends objected to the title of the rallies – they didn’t like the “resist” in “Resist Trump” – I knew that we needed to integrate “Resistance, peace and love”, that maybe the whole movement needs to do that.
It’s not all a slam-dunk for me – and sometimes I just plain think I can’t do it. While I only work part-time and I don’t have family responsibilities pulling at me, time management is a chronic issue for me and I tend to feel that I don’t have enough time. I’m a natural networker, but I feel intimidated by the panoply of social and political change groups in this town – mostly led by people with greater activist credentials than myself. I’m not always good at asking for help and may burn myself out. And I share with maybe most activists an occasional despair about any of this making a difference. Yet, bottom-line I keep coming back to a powerful felt sense that I have been chosen to do this..
How about you? What is life choosing you to do?
- Did it choose you to go to the Women’s March here in Asheville or in Washington?
- Is it choosing you to go to the Tuesday rallies? To make signs for the rallies – a huge contribution? To promote these rallies to your friends? Tuesday rallies
- Is it choosing you to read this blog? To build community among us by writing comments? By writing guest posts?
- Is it choosing you to write letters or postcards to your legislators? To make calls to them?
When life chooses us to do something, there may be a shock of recognition – we know it’s right. There may be a sense of relief – we don’t need to keep looking. There may be a sense of overwhelm – “This is too much for me.” There may be a feeling that we don’t deserve it, that we’re not good enough for it.
Yet when we surrender to who we really are, to what life is calling us to do, life can get easier (even as we are moving mountains), more satisfying, happier. I intend to frequently listen to Ash’s song (link above) and to talk with my friends about how we each are being called. Some of that conversation can happen right in these pages. See if you are called to write something.