Summer 1961, Warwick, Rhode Island
“If you don’t expect anything of life, you will never be disappointed, honey.” Trying to comfort me after I was not asked to dance once more at a neighborhood party, my beloved dad repeated one of his few Guidelines for Living.
Through my tears, the silent and fierce thought came: “N-O! I don’t buy that and I don’t want to live that way, daddy.”
It was an electrifying moment for my 13 year old self. Not only was it a moment when the illusion of my infallible father shattered; it was also the first time in my life I was consciously aware of my own independent truth. In that moment I had a deep knowing that I would rather live expecting the best from life even if I were to risk being disappointed. I had a deep knowing that risking being hurt would bring more rewards than a life lived in fear. In that moment I chose to part ways with “the powers that be,” my dear super-rational, skeptical and well-meaning parents, and to live in an optimistic, trusting way.
Do you remember the first time you knew in your deepest soul that something the authority figures in your life were saying was ringing false? What did it feel like? When did you know you had to stand for something, even if these valued “powers that be” would worry about you or strongly disapprove of you or worse, punish you painfully?
What was that deep knowing, that belief, about?
What happened the first time you knew you had to stand for something?
Did your life change over the long run?
How do you discern the truth for yourself now?
What did you do with your awareness?
Be aware: If you have children, you are now their “the powers that be!”
Do you give your children the freedom to disagree and act on their own truth?
How do you handle their truth?
Speaking My Knowing
I Am One Who knows what I know.
I Am One Who’s spent a lifetime educating myself, testing my experience
Against what is the popular version of Truth,
Discerning my own wisdom.
I Am One Who trusts my own knowing
And marches to my own Drummer.
Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, like many in my generation, I would go on to actively challenge authority. In 1964, Jack Weinberg, a Free Speech Movement leader at the University of California, Berkeley said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
For the next decade, his words were prophetic: the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X; the violent assaults and murders of voter registrations workers and civil rights marchers; the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers that revealed the decades of governmental lies justifying United States involvement in the Vietnam War in which there were 58,220 U.S. military fatalities plus over a million Vietnamese military and civilians killed; the 1968 My Lai massacre; the 1970 National Guard shootings of students at Kent State University; the 1973 Watergate scandal and cover-up; followed by the 1974 Nixon’s resignation.
Bottomline, this era caused many of us Baby Boomers to deeply distrust The Powers That Be's capacity to tell the truth.
Fast forward to the last few years when we find ourselves living in a time where “truthiness,” alternative facts and fake news challenge our grip on reality. In response, some people are standing up to the powers that be and saying “Enough Is Enough.” Around the world, we are witnessing grassroots people rise up to challenge the status quo. We see the emergence of the #ME TOO and #TIME’S UP revelations and revolutions and the creative use of social media to protest institutional hypocrisy and deceit.
Standing On My Own Two Feet
I am One Who began with baby steps
To follow in the footsteps of the great sages from all ages.
I Am One Who is learning to stand on her own two feet,
Pausing to rest and tune into her inner guidance.
I Am One Who stands for Wisdom, Compassion, and Lovingkindness.
Heeding Socrates exhortation that "the unexamined life is not worth living," I have devoted much of the past 55+ years learning to distinguish my truth from whatever is currently being spouted by groupthink. I have learned the wisdom of challenging propaganda put forth by “The powers That Be” who find it inconvenient when their grip on power starts to slip.
I have a deep appreciation for the wisdom practices that reveal HOW best to express and act upon one's truth. Next month (when I am more fully recovered from some temporary health challenges), I hope to share about those practices, particularly the vital relationship between non-violence and truthfulness and the need to slow down and carefully reflect before acting on my truth.
For now, let yourself be lifted up by this inspiring 4.20 minute performance by Common, Andra Day Perform 'Stand Up For Something,' 'Rise Up' With Cardinal Shehan School Choir
Here are the Lyrics to Stand Up for Something
Here are the Lyrics-.Rise Up.docx
“Stand Up for Something” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. It is heard at the end of Marshall, an excellent movie about a chapter in the life of the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
It was also performed at the Oscars and honored 10 unsung heroes, including 8-year-old Bana Alabed, a Syrian refugee whose tweets describing her family’s personal nightmare as residents of Aleppo brought her international attention and inspired her to write a book, “Dear World,” which was released in Oct. 2017.
Alabed was joined for the performance by Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council); Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative); Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund); Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers of America); Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup); Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise); Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter); and Tarana Burke (Me Too).
Until next time, dear friends, keep tuning in to what you know that you know and keep on testing it against what the powers that be would have you believe! And then stand up for something that makes sense and is worth your precious life energy!
With gratitude for the freedom to think our own thoughts. Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on my blog!